Once again, it’s been a while since I did a #MurderousMondays post, but I have been reading a few mysteries lately, so I think I will have some of these in the coming weeks as well. #MurderousMondays is a feature started by Mackey at Macsbooks, to share her latest murder read. A historical mystery, a contemporary, paranormal, or cosy–there are so many kinds of murder mysteries, and if you’re reading any, you can share them with this feature too! Today of course, I’m reviewing a historical mystery!
This is the fourth in the Angela Marchmont mystery series, set in 1920s England, which I’ve been quite enjoying reading. In this one Angela goes down to Kent, to visit friends at Romney Marsh. But on the way there, when her driver William lands them in a ditch because of very thick fog, they end up stumbling upon the disfigured body of a young woman, and so begins another mystery. (Once again Angela doesn’t really wish to be involved, but ends up investigating all the same.) There is no clue to who the mystery woman might be (no handbag or other identifiers are found, nor has anyone been reported missing) or what she might have been doing there. However, it seems that there is more to the murder than meets the eye, since Scotland Yard is called in and with it Inspector Jameson, Angela’s old acquaintance. The mystery takes us into the jazz clubs of London, particularly a club run by Mrs Chang and her son, that thrives on not being all above board, and the country side, with a stately home, as well as an odd mix of guests and an eccentric artist, at the Harrisons’ where Angela is staying. Among the guests is Freddy Pilkington-Soames, a somewhat indolent young man, whose mother has got him a job as a reporter, but who Angela finds is much more perspicacious than it first seems. He too joins in the investigations (The author has a separate mystery series featuring this character). Alongside, Freddy’s mother is intent on getting Angela to give her an interview about her ‘adventurous’ life, while her hostess, Margurite Harrison, an artist, is preparing to have an exhibition of her own and her protégé’s works in the village. At the stately home, Blakeney Park, are Lady Alice, and her son Gil, soon to be married to Lucy Syms who doesn’t quite get along with her mother-in-law to be. Between the murder investigations and local happenings, there is plenty going on in this one.
Like the earlier books in the series, I found this to be a quick and enjoyable read. The book is certainly ‘inspired’ by Agatha Christie, specifically A Body in the Library, in many of its aspects like the way in which the body was found (condition I mean—it isn’t found in a library), also who the victim turned out to be and such, though the mystery itself was different from that one. Some of the other characters too, reminded me of those from another Agatha Christie book. Freddy Pilkington-Soames I thought was a fun character to be introduced to—He very much reminded me of Freddie Threepwood from the Blandings books, but of course a version of Freddie with brains. In fact, his set, if one could call it that, and the antics they get up to were very much like characters out of Wodehouse. It would be fun to see what Freddy Pilkington-Soames gets up to in his own series. The puzzle, while not too complex or full of twists (there are some surprises of course) was enjoyable as well. Though (as in an another book in this series) I did manage to more or less guess whodunit, this was still a very pleasant read. Three and a half stars!
p.s.: I had featured this book in a Shelf Control post earlier (find that here)