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Search tags: classic-British-mystery
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review 2018-08-28 14:25
Death Spins the Wheel - George Bellairs

An elderly French lady,after spending some pleasant time in the Isle of Man's brand new casino ,is found shot on the beach. Inspector Littlejohn ,while helping the Archdeacon assembling a conservatory,is asked by the local force to give a helping hand. It is clear that part of the solution is to be found in France,to be precise, in Evian. And everybody knows that old sins have long shadows..think Résistance ,betrayal,passion...
The storyline is undoubtedly good,but what makes Bellairs such a wonderful, relaxing read is the rather benign atmosphere,great characters and a sniff of a bygone era.

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review 2018-08-18 18:00
Weekend at Thrackley - Alan Melville

Six people,five of them lucky proprietors of some fabulous jewellery, and one out of job,out of luck outsider are invited for a weekend at a remote and rather gloomy country house by a mysterious, wealthy collector of jewels and precious stones. They are an Ill-assorted lot waited on by a very lugubrious butler. And then things start to happen,of course...one of the servants is not who he seems to be,a guest disappears,there is a very interesting and well appointed cellar...This is not so much a" who done it" but more of a "how is it going to end".

But notwithstanding  the great setting(an isolated country house always works for me) it did not impress me all that much. It feels like a not so successful imprint of P.G.Wodehouse. One expects to hear tally-ho any moment. No,not entirely my cup of tea...

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review 2018-07-24 08:42
Murder in Keswick - William Todd

Holmes needs some rest,at least Watson thinks so. So they(Watson )decide to spend some time in Keswick, a village in the beautiful Lake District. On their arrival at the station they are confronted with some agitated travellers. Apparently a beheaded body has been found along the road. The body seems to belong to Mr. Darcy,a well respected local gentleman. Holmes and Watson visit the local constable who is more than delighted to have the masterly mystery solver by his side. For once ,the local village constable is not depicted as a slow thinking idiot who can not take an initiative. And so they solve this crime with Holmes his usual panache.

There have been quite a lot of Holmes stories published of late,but to be fair not all of them recreate the right feeling...but this one does,the setting (Holmes in the countryside)is believable,Holmes and Watson their attitude is what it is,the characters and their behaviour is consistent with the original stories,the lenght(178 pages)is just right and the crime and its solution is reminiscent of A.C. Doyle.

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review 2015-03-28 20:38
Vertigo 42-I love traditional British mysteries
Vertigo 42: A Richard Jury Mystery - Martha Grimes

This is the first Martha Grimes novel I've read and it's number 23 in the Richard Jury series.  I almost never read a series out of order but I had, of course, heard of this series so when this came up on NetGalley, I requested it.  I'm so glad I did.  I loved this book.  Since I haven't read the others, I have no idea how it compares but I will find out because I immediately went to my shelves to see what else I had by Martha Grimes.  Happily, it turns out that I have three more from this series so I'm very excited to get started.

This is the traditional British mystery that I have loved since 5th grade.  If it hadn't been for the modern technology, I could have thought I was reading Ngaio Marsh or Dorothy Sayers.  The story begins with Jury being approached by a friend of a friend to re-investigate his wife's murder, which happened 18 years ago.  She fell down the stairs of their terrace and since she was known to have vertigo, an accidental fall seemed reasonable.  Her husband hasn't ever believed it.  Other dead bodies begin to turn up, killed far more recently, but they sure seem connected to the 18 year old death.  Jury begins to tie it all together in the best traditions of the British Inspector. 

There are a good many characters who I assume are regulars in the series.  Only Melrose Plant plays a significant role but the others add color and community.  There is at least one plot point that seems to have been missed by the editor because it seems to be a clear contradiction from one page to the next and the wrap-up is a bit fuzzy to me and those are why it lost a one-half star but the excitement of finding such a fantastic writer of traditional British mysteries overcame every other feeling.  Why have I waited so late to start this series? 

I actually won the hardback from Goodreads and got the eArc from Netgalley both in exchange for an honest review. 

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review 2013-11-05 02:30
One of the best of classic British mysteries
Shroud for a Nightingale - P.D. James

I just returned from our book discussion group at our local public library where the book under discussion was Shroud for a Nightingale by P.D. James. Granted, this is a general reading group so not everyone there is a hard-core mystery fanatic like me but I was surprised to find that I was the only one that liked the book and the writing style of P.D. James. 


Shroud for a Nightingale is set in a nursing school attached to a hospital outside of London somewhere.  The school itself is housed in an old Victorian mansion on the grounds of the hospital which is acknowledged from the beginning to be a very poor building for the school.  But for us as readers, it adds wonderful atmosphere.  And when it comes to books, I'm all about the atmosphere.


During a teaching demonstration of how to insert a feeding tube, a student nurse is somehow fed poison instead of the milk she is supposed to be given and dies on the table.  She is not a student that anyone will miss.  When another student dies two weeks later, Inspector Dalgleish of Scotland Yard is called in. 


The course of this investigation uncovers many, many secrets that the inhabitants of Nightingale House did not want coming to light but which of them was someone willing to kill for?  This story has suspects, red herrings and motives galore.  How Dalgleish sorts them out to find the killer is a top-notch detective story. 


One of the themes of the book is how much people like power and what they will do to get and hold on to it.  It's a fascinating study in how even small amounts of power over others can go to a person's head. 


Compared to Agatha Christie, a P.D. James novel is a much denser, heavier read.  Her books remind me of the turkey at a Thanksgiving dinner while Christie would be the pumpkin pie with whipped cream.  I can pick up Christie and enjoy her books anytime at all.  I have to decide to read a P.D. James.  But her books, and this one in particular, are worth the time and effort.

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