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How many murderers does it take to solve a few Family Matters

Family Matters

A British Library Crime Classic

by Anthony Rolls

Poisoned Pen Press

Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date 02 May 2017


Family Matters is a delicious black comedy. It is a pleasure to see it back in print. Despite being originally released in 1933, the novel is in no way out of date.

Robert Arthur Kewdingham is a horrible man. He is a lazy, rude, self-absorbed, pompous, and quarrelsome hypochondriac. He is such a fool that you don’t know whether to hate him or laugh at him. You do however feel for his wife Bertha who is made to suffer on a daily basis. It is no surprise when she begins to contemplate murder...but she isn’t the only one. No less than three people have it in for Robert, including his cousin John who has feelings for Bertha and his doctor. You would think then that his death is a given...maybe it is but it is far from straightforward.

Family Matters is ingeniously plotted and wittily written. The science included may be a sham but it is convincingly portrayed. The characters are quite unique and Anthony Rolls knows just how to add a believably dark twist. It isn’t often that you cheer on the murderers, but this novel will have you on their side. In all it is an excellent comedic mystery with just the right ending.

5 / 5

I received a copy of Family Matters from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



Robert Arthur Kewdingham is an eccentric failure of a man. In middle age he retreats into a private world, hunting for Roman artifacts and devoting himself to bizarre mystical beliefs. Robert’s wife, Bertha, feels that there are few things more dreadful than a husband who will persist in making a fool of himself in public. Their marriage consists of horrible quarrels, futile arguments, incessant bickering. Scarcely any friends will visit the Kewdinghams in their peaceful hometown Shufflecester. Everything is wrong – and with the entrance of John Harrigall, a bohemian bachelor from London who catches Bertha’s eye, they take a turn for the worse. Soon deep passions and resentments shatter the calm facade of the Kewdinghams’ lives. This richly characterised and elegantly written crime novel from 1933 is a true forgotten classic.

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