Monday, April 28, 2014

Mount TBR #5

I read this book for the Mount TBR reading challenge 2014.

Murder at the Pageant -Victor L. Whitechurch, 1920

In the late 1980s, Dover Publications reprinted many classics from the golden age of British mysteries. In this one, during a pageant commemorating Queen Anne’s visit to the country estate Frimley Manor; in 1705, murder and a theft of a pearl necklace happen in tandem. The Pageant description in the opening chapter 1 attracts us with the description of clothes and the sedan chair, which later plays a part in the crimes.

The clues are presented clearly, the subplot doesn’t muddy details up. Helping the local police of Superintendent Kinch is Capt. Roger Bristow, by no means the gifted amateur beloved in whodunits but of the Secret Service. Neither has much personality but the edgy pride the copper and his sergeant feel against the spy-catcher is well-done.

Whitechurch was a curate, vicar and canon is real life and came to writing rather later in life. His writing is more careful than graceful, with long sentences salted with a remarkable number of commas. People talk like people in a novel. Still, this mystery is worth reading for its tight plotting and for the sake of variety. I mean, we need to read some new old-fashioned puzzlers from between the wars.

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