Coffin, Scarcely Used (A Flaxborough Mystery Book 1)
by Colin Watson
Humor , Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date 22 Feb 2018
Coffin Slightly Used is an enjoyable British police procedural, light on tension but pleasantly paced and delightfully witty. There is a great deal of humor but it is subtle rather than laugh out loud. It is a great mystery to enjoy while drinking a pot of tea on a lazy afternoon.
Harold Carobleat, respected councilor and do-gooder is dead. Little is thought of this until his neighbor dies in what appears to be a bizarre accident. Detective Inspector Purbright doesn’t get many murders, but he’s fairly certain Marcus Gwill would not have committed suicide by electrocution. Both men had the same associates and regularly socialized with each other. Detective Inspector Purbright is certain he is being lied to, but isn’t sure why. As determined as he is affable, Purbright doesn’t give up, unraveling the complex mystery strand by strand....
Lament for a Maker is a novel that will not appeal to a wide audience. The first half is written in the local Scottish dialect. This gives flavor and helps build the setting, but it also is hard going for readers. As in the other novels that I’ve read by Michael Innes, Lament for a Maker takes its sweet time to reach the heart of the plot. I fear that many readers will be driven away by the difficult to read passages or worse - by boredom. Once you reach the heart of the mystery, things quickly liven up and become far more twisted and interesting. It’s obvious that Michael Innes revels in his cleverness, but his attempts at making things more real tend to be more offputting than immersive.
Inspector Appleby doesn’t enter until readers enter the latter half of the book. Unlike the majority of British Police Procedurals, the Inspector...
Hamlet, Revenge! An Inspector Appleby Mystery
by Michael Innes
General Fiction (Adult) , Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date 17 Jul 2017
Literate and well researched, Hamlet, Revenge is both entertaining and intellectually stimulating. The large cast of characters is well developed, as is necessary for a character driven mystery. It isn’t your average manor house mystery by any means.
At the vast Seamnum Court, an amateur performance of Hamlet with a cast of scholars, politicians, aristocrats, bohemians and one singular actor is being staged. Anyone who is anyone plans to attend. But a glittering performance is marred, first by odd threats quoting Shakespeare, then by the murder of the Duke of Horton. Inspector Appleby is tasked with the investigation, not only because the Duke was so esteemed but also because in his care was a document which foreign spies would desperately like to get their hands on. Was the murder for personal reasons, or was he killed for...
The Dead Shall be Raised and The Murder of a Quack A British Library Crime Classic by George Bellairs
Poisoned Pen Press
Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date 03 Oct 2017
George Bellairs is often forgotten, but his career as a mystery writer was long and moderately successful. Like his lead, Detective Inspector Littlejohn, Bellairs was a man content with his craft with a skill founded on observation of human nature. Detective Inspector Littlejohn does not have the Herculean intellect of Poirot or the deductive capacity of Holmes. Rather, he is moderately intelligent, but amiable and persistent - qualities that serve him well in his investigations. Bellairs has quite a way with words. His descriptions of the various characters and their foibles are charming and often humorous. The characters are often colorful, but are entirely believable.
The Dead Shall Be Raised and The Murder of a Quack are included in this edition by Poisoned Pen Press. The Dead Shall Be R...
Malice in Wonderland
A Nigel Strangeways Mystery by Nicholas Blake
General Fiction (Adult) , Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date 14 Jul 2017
Malice in Wonderland is an odd but enjoyable mystery that has the flavor of classic mysteries from the 40s. Wonderland is a holiday camp, an all inclusive resort where budget minded travelers can relax in comfort and enjoy group games and activities. The novel initially focuses on the experiences of Paul, an observational scientist who is a bit of a prig, and the Thistlethwaite family particularly Mr Thistlethwaite (who much resembles the walrus in Alice in Wonderland) and his daughter Sally. A prankster calling himself the Mad Hatter is at work in Wonderland, creating disturbances via irritating and sometimes dangerous practical jokes. The longer they continue, the more they disturb Wonderland’s holiday atmosphere and endanger the business’s continued existence. In order to avoid a scandal, the head of Wonderland calls in...
I always enjoy classic mysteries, especially ones that are unusual. The Mystery of the Three Orchids has the feel of a 1940s film complete with gangsters, a femme fatale and an eccentric but brilliant detective.
Everything begins when Cristiana O'Brian discovers a body in her bed, strangled, an orchid placed nearby. Downstairs, her new fashion collection is being unveiled, the event attended by the wealthy and influential of Milan. Is it more than a coincidence that Cristiana's ex husband and his sister have arrived in Milan? Inspector DI Vicenzi is known for his brilliance and reliance on psychology, but O'Brian's fashion house poses a unique puzzle. So many secrets but which ones are related to the murders?
The Mystery of the Three Orchids is ingeniously conceived. Though the killer's motive was simple, the plot and execution were complex, easily conceal...
The quaint, remote British village where crime rears its ugly head has long been a setting loved by writers of classic mystery. Somehow cities with their abundance of people promote a sense of safety. While the village, with its remote environs and its sparse population makes suspense and danger easy to create.
Serpents in Eden is an anthology that every lover of classic British mystery should possess. Several authors are well known favorites, while others are relatively unknown to modern readers. The majority of the stories included in Serpents in Eden will new to the reader, making it a delicious repast for any lover of classic mystery.
My personal favorites include The Naturalist at Law, Direct Evidence, and Inquest, the last of which involves a murder that looks like a standard murder for profit, but where there is a surprising twist. The former two both...
Mystery & Thrillers; A British Library Crime Classic
Pub Date: February 2, 2016
As a lover of classic mysteries, I’ve been extremely impressed by Poisoned Pen Press’s recent releases of volumes from the British Library Crime Collection. It is always a pleasure to discover gems that have long been out of print.
Murder at the Manor is a fantastic anthology which will thrill anyone who enjoys classic British mysteries. While some of the authors are well known, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, many will be new to readers. The stories are imaginative and differ greatly, but what all have in common is the rural, country house setting.
The country house setting has long been a staple amongst mystery authors. Its isolation makes communication difficult, and the setting means a limited number of suspects. At the same time, it references a bygone era of wealthy and aristocratic landowners who indulge in la...
Introducing Detective Inspector Herbert Reardon in a new mystery series, set in the Downtown Abbey period.
November, 1928. Family and friends have gathered at the Shropshire country home of Penrose Llewellyn to celebrate the retired wealthy businessman’s 60th birthday. But the morning after what should have been a convivial supper party, their host is found dead in his bed – and the circumstances look decidedly suspicious.
As he questions the victim’s nearest and dearest, DI Reardon discovers there are several longstanding secrets lurking amongst the Llewellyn clan – and he is convinced that not everyone is telling him the truth, or at least not the whole truth. Those who stand to inherit most from Pen Llewellyn’s will – if it can be found – are under the strongest suspicion, and among them hides a ruthless killer.
With the growth in popularity of Downtown Abbey, it is no surprise to see the resurgence of...