Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Gladys Mitchell's The Mystery of a Butcher's Shop

Well, I had higher hopes.

The Passing Tramp recently wrote about a different Gladys Mitchell novel and I thought from the description that she would be my sort of thing: an absurdist story, funny, and with a suitably eccentric detective. This week I'm feeling the need for a good comic mystery. I thought I'd begin at the beginning, but this was the earliest one my library had. It's the second in the series.

Mrs. Bradley, the psychologist detective, is eccentric in a take charge kind of way. She has just taken Stone House in Wandles Parva when Rupert Sethleigh, the owner of the Manor House has just supposedly run off to America. At around the same time most of a body, but not the skull, is discovered in the local butcher shop: it takes the local inhabitants an astonishing large of number of pages to convince themselves what we of course know from the start: that the body is that of Sethleigh.

There are a number of people who confuse the thread of events on the night of the murder and the next day for reasons of their own; a number of the complications felt excessive and insufficiently amusing. The dialog also felt a bit stilted, with the accents, both the toffs and the plebs, a bit too much each in their own way, and not really convincing.

Oh, well. It's possible I'll read another, but if so, I will try the one The Passing Tramp recommended in particular as a good start.

There's that missing head right there on the cover. Boiled down to the bone and planted in weeds as it first appears.

Golden Age. Skull. My Reader's Block Mystery Scavenger Hunt.

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