Tag: benson

Mystery review: ‘The Imbroglio at the Villa Pozzi’ by Clara Benson

Mystery review: ‘The Imbroglio at the Villa Pozzi’ by Clara Benson

Good grief, that was the most amazing fun. The sixth Angela Marchmont amateur detective series, set in the twenties, sees Angela holidaying in Italy, tangling with spiritualists and meeting an old acquaintance, a certain jewel thief by the name of Edgar Valencourt, last seen charming Angela in The Treasure at Poldarrow Point, book 3 of the series. I always hoped he’d turn up again, but his reappearance was even better than I could have imagined. The mystery this time is nothing terribly convoluted, but I enjoyed trying to puzzle it out, getting it wrong and watching Angela resolve everything with an airy wave of her hand. But the murder takes a back seat to the characters, and their personal lives. The mysterious Duchessa, for example, who pops up from time to time. The fidgety English clergyman and his long-suffering wife. The almost-convincing medium and the daughter who ‘sees’ things. Even […]

Posted December 18, 2015 by PaulineMRoss in Review / 0 Comments

Mystery review: ‘The Incident at Fives Castle’ by Clara Benson

Mystery review: ‘The Incident at Fives Castle’ by Clara Benson

The fifth twenties murder mystery in the Angela Marchmont series, this time set in a Scottish castle at Hogmanay, where a murder takes place while the occupants are cut off by snow. And wouldn’t you know it, but Angela is the one to discover the body (again). This one was great fun. Spies, a missing scientist, hidden documents, secret meetings and lots of rushing about in the snow. And a whole ocean full of red herrings. I didn’t guess this one at all, but it didn’t matter, it was great fun watching the story unfold, Angela beetle about being helpful and Freddy get his nose (or his ear!) into everything. Since the American Ambassador was one of those present, we also learned a little bit more about Angela’s past, which, far from being illuminating, actually makes her even more mysterious. I’d love to know more about the not-spoken-of Mr Marchmont. […]

Posted December 1, 2015 by PaulineMRoss in Review / 0 Comments

Mystery review: ‘The Riddle at Gipsy’s Mile’ by Clara Benson

Mystery review: ‘The Riddle at Gipsy’s Mile’ by Clara Benson

This is the fourth book in the Angela Marchmont series of Christie-esque murder mysteries, and after the seaside romps of the last outing, this one is back to the classic structure: a country house, a body and an array of possible suspects. Angela Marchmont herself is a pretty low-key amateur detective, who sometimes seems to uncover information or deduce things more by chance than skill. She’s not a flamboyant Poirot type, but she also doesn’t seem as astute as Miss Marple. What she does have, however, is a great deal of curiosity, and a willingness to go out to start rooting round for evidence herself, although she thinks of it as helping the police. If she herself is a little bland, she is surrounded by an array of much more colourful characters. I like her American chauffeur, William, and also Freddy, the aristocratic newspaper man. I hope we’ll see more […]

Posted November 16, 2015 by PaulineMRoss in Review / 0 Comments

Mystery review: ‘The Treasure at Poldarrow Point’ by Clara Benson

Mystery review: ‘The Treasure at Poldarrow Point’ by Clara Benson

This is the third in the Angela Marchmont series of cozies, and, seriously, I had a whale of a time with this book. It’s got smuggling, a secret room, mysterious tunnels, a missing diamond necklace and anonymous letters, not to mention a number of characters behaving in suspiciously odd ways. The plot is completely preposterous, of course, but the most amazing fun, and a great leap forward from the first two books in the series. The character of Angela herself is really beginning to shine, now. She’s turning into a wonderful heroine, intelligent and self-confident, with a relaxed approach to her investigations. Angela’s god-daughter, Barbara, is a magnificent side-kick. She’s twelve years old, and has that gung-ho let’s-have-a-go attitude that reminded me strongly of the Famous Five. While Angela is sedately looking stuff up in the library, Barbara is crawling through tunnels, picking locks, hiding in cupboards and creeping round […]

Posted September 9, 2015 by PaulineMRoss in Review / 0 Comments

Mystery review: ‘The Mystery of Underwood House’ by Clara Benson

Mystery review: ‘The Mystery of Underwood House’ by Clara Benson

I enjoyed the first book in the Angela Marchmont series of country-house cozies set in the twenties, but to my mind this one worked a lot better. I didn’t guess the identity of the murderer, for one thing (although that particular character was definitely on my list), and this one felt much more satisfyingly complex. It also features Angela Marchmont, the lady detective herself, as the point of view character, which I think works much better than having her as a side character (as in the first book). Following her success in the previous murder, Angela is called upon by her friend Louisa to investigate her husband’s family. After his father’s death, a rather peculiar will left money to the four children only for their lifetimes, after which it reverts to the family solicitor. Now three of the four have died in mysterious circumstances. Is it murder? And if so, […]

Posted August 21, 2015 by PaulineMRoss in Review / 0 Comments

Mystery Review: ‘The Murder At Sissingham Hall’ by Clara Benson

Mystery Review: ‘The Murder At Sissingham Hall’ by Clara Benson

I love a good country house murder mystery, something that Agatha Christie specialised in but which is hard to find nowadays. This is a very good substitute, which captures the social nuances and language perfectly, and if the identity of the murderer isn’t the hardest thing in the world to work out, well, at least I can bask in my own cleverness. I’m usually a sucker for the red herrings, so it’s nice to guess right for once. The story starts with Charles Knox returning from several years in South Africa, where he’s conveniently made his fortune by gold mining. He’s met by his old friend Bobs and Bobs’s sister Sylvia, now all grown up and a possible love interest. But Charles was once engaged to Rosamund, now married to Sir Neville Strickland, and when he’s invited to their country house and there’s a murder, things get a bit murky. […]

Posted July 27, 2015 by PaulineMRoss in Review / 0 Comments