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review 2019-03-22 14:54
The Five Red Herrings / Dorothy L. Sayers
The Five Red Herrings - Dorothy L. Sayers

The body was on the pointed rocks alongside the stream. The artist might have fallen from the cliff where he was painting, but there are too many suspicious elements - particularly the medical evidence that proves he'd been dead nearly half a day, though eyewitnesses had seen him alive a scant hour earlier. And then there are the six prime suspects - all of them artists, all of whom wished him dead. Five are red herrings, but one has created a masterpiece of murder that baffles everyone, including Lord Peter Wimsey.

 

Give this volume about 3.5 stars, I think. For me, it has been the least enjoyable installment of Lord Peter Wimsey. And still, it had its great moments. Dorothy Sayers is the only author that I have read who had produced Scots dialog on the page that hasn’t annoyed me to death! I found it was effective and even a bit humorous from time to time.

Where this book fell down for me was the intricacy of the clues. I know that Sayers prided herself on not “cheating,” giving the reader all the clues that they needed to solve the mystery right along with Wimsey (see Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Soul by Barbara Reynolds). However, I would have needed to make myself a detailed flow chart if I was going to solve this mystery! So I just drifted with the flow of her writing and enjoyed other details along the way.

The last few pages, including the re-enactment of the crime, were absolutely the best part of the book. I don’t usually laugh out loud when I’m reading, but I know for a fact that I produced several outbursts as I enjoyed this production! Well worth enduring all the train time tables!

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text 2019-03-21 17:05
Reading progress update: I've read 308 out of 354 pages.
The Five Red Herrings - Dorothy L. Sayers

The inspector brightened.  This was his moment.  He felt convinced that he, and no other person, had the right sow by the ear, and was, indeed, extremely grateful to Dalziel, Sir Maxwell, and Duncan for having produced such inferior animals and refrained from spoiling his market.

 

***

 

With these words, the Inspector handed over a neatly written manuscript which he produced from his breast-pocket, and learned back with the shy smile of a poet attending a public reading of his own works.

 

 

I'm a farm-girl from a hog farm--I love the agricultural reference!

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text 2019-03-18 17:03
Reading progress update: I've read 27 out of 354 pages.
The Five Red Herrings - Dorothy L. Sayers

 

"Och, weel," said the Sergeant, "if ye find him, ye'll let us know."

 

"I will," said Wimsey, "though it will be rather unpleasant, because ten to one he'll be some bloke I know and like much better than Campbell.  Still, it doesn't do to Murder People, however offensive they may be.  I'll do my best to bring him in captive to my bow and spear--if he doesn't slay me first."

 

 

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review 2018-10-01 21:49
The Franchise Affair / Josephine Tey
The Franchise Affair - Josephine Tey

Robert Blair was about to knock off from a slow day at his law firm when the phone rang. It was Marion Sharpe on the line, a local woman of quiet disposition who lived with her mother at their decrepit country house, The Franchise. It appeared that she was in some serious trouble: Miss Sharpe and her mother were accused of brutally kidnapping a demure young woman named Betty Kane. Miss Kane's claims seemed highly unlikely, even to Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, until she described her prison -- the attic room with its cracked window, the kitchen, and the old trunks -- which sounded remarkably like The Franchise. Yet Marion Sharpe claimed the Kane girl had never been there, let alone been held captive for an entire month! Not believing Betty Kane's story, Solicitor Blair takes up the case and, in a dazzling feat of amateur detective work, solves the unbelievable mystery that stumped even Inspector Grant.

 

I read this book to fill the Country House Mystery square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.

This was my first Josephine Tey, but it will certainly not be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed this twisty little mystery. Although it is nominally part of the Alan Grant series, Grant appears in the novel as a secondary character. His thunder is stolen by a bachelor lawyer, Robert Blair.

I thought Tey did a masterful job of describing Blair—a man of a certain age who has never married, never left his small town, and never left the care of his aunt with whom he shares a home. When he receives a plaintive phone call from Marion Sharpe, asking him to come to her country home, The Franchise, he initially wishes that he’d left the office five minutes earlier and had missed the call. He is shaken out of his overly comfortable routine—into a portion of the law that he is less familiar with and dealing with people and events that he is not familiar with.

It is marvelous to watch Blair rise to the occasion, to become more aware of his community, his surroundings, and himself. His kindness to Marion & her mother was above & beyond the call of duty and I ended up liking him very much.

The twists & turns were well written, the motivations of those involved revealed, and the mystery eventually solved. Now I just want to know how Blair’s visit to Saskatchewan to his sister turned out!

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text 2018-09-12 19:39
Reading progress update: I've read 170 out of 300 pages.
The Franchise Affair - Josephine Tey

 

I'm quite enamoured with Robert Blair.  I love how plain decent the guy is.

 

 

 

 

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