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A charming mystery returns to print
June 8, 2016
Murder in the Museum A British Library Crime Classic
by John Rowland Poisoned Pen Press Mystery & Thrillers Pub Date: May 3, 2016
The British Library Crime Classics have a distinct charm that sets them apart from modern offerings. The time in which they were first published gives them a unique cultural flavor. While Murder in the Museum is not the only mystery written by John Rowland, the man perceived himself foremost as a journalist. Thus it is no surprise that a past newspaper story holds a very important clue.
Henry Fairhurst is a mild mannered man, easily dominated by his spinster sister. He takes pleasure in the time he spends at the British Museum Reading Room, imagining he like Holmes can detect much from the appearance and demeanor of the other visitors. His fantasies of being involved in a mystery inquiry become reality when he discovers the death of Professor Julius Arnell. The packet of sugared almonds in the professor's pocket and the manner of his death immediately suggest arsenic poisoning to Inspector Shelley. It is only after Fairhurst mentions a similar death in the Reading Room six months before that Shelley begins to suspect a wider conspiracy.
Murder in the Museum pairs Inspector Shelley with the mild but ever interested Henry Fairhurst. Through coincidence and more than a little luck, Fairhurst is able to provide valuable clues and suggestions to the inspector, eventually leading him to the ruthless killer.
Murder in the Museum is a charming light mystery. It is cleverly plotted, but at all times the reader is secure in the knowledge that the killer will be found and that there will be a satisfactory resolution. There is very little violence and the clean nature of these books make them appropriate for all ages.
The mysteries of the British Library Crime Classics are a pleasure to read, and it is a delight to see them put back into print for a new generation of mystery lovers to enjoy.
I received a copy of Murder in the Museum from the publisher and netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
The 18th book in Poisoned Pen Press's highly praised British Library Crime Classic series.
When Professor Julius Arnell breathes his last in the hushed atmosphere of the British Museum Reading Room, it looks like death from natural causes. Who, after all, would have cause to murder a retired academic whose life was devoted to Elizabethan literature? Inspector Shelley’s suspicions are aroused when he finds a packet of poisoned sugared almonds in the dead man’s pocket; and a motive becomes clearer when he discovers Arnell’s connection to a Texan oil millionaire. Soon another man plunges hundreds of feet into a reservoir on a Yorkshire moor. What can be the connection between two deaths so different, and so widely separated? The mild-mannered museum visitor Henry Fairhurst adds his detective talents to Inspector Shelley’s own, and together they set about solving one of the most baffling cases Shelley has ever encountered.