This is a book which mixes many well-known characters and settings into even more fictional ones. Imagine Miss Marple invited to stay with a friend, then gets involved with Poirot to investigate some strange events who be sheer coincidence is in the vicinity. Along comes Tommy and Tuppence because they are connected to the government in some way and are protecting something. Then up pops Bertie Wooster and the inimitable Jeeves; as there always has to be a butler.
If you are a fan of all these, then you are on to a winner with James Anderson’s book. Add the grand English Country House, a war brewing on the continent, a few undesirable foreigners with ulterior motives and even an American! Welcome into the world of the Burfords and the first of three of James Anderson’s novels.
The book appears to take a long time in getting anywhere, but there is a reason for this and it builds up the setting, the characters and the point when a murder seems to have happened to such an extent you have to keep turning the pages to find out exactly when, who and eventually how and why. Then comes the investigation and here we are introduced to Wilkins the local Inspector who quite frankly would rather be anywhere than solving a crime. He perseveres and there are many red herrings and paths to go down, as Wilkins tries to piece together exactly what happened on that fateful night. The denouement fits as you would expect – everyone gathered in the room in the house, and one by one they are all revealed to be guilty of something with something to hide until finally we get to the guilty party. You can positively see all the brain cells (or should that be little grey cells) aligning together to discover the truth.
I have revealed very little about the plot as to do so would take up a considerable amount of space – there is much to the plot! I would also hate to inadvertently give the game away to any potential readers.
James Anderson has written a lovely book which really captures what you would expect from a good old-fashioned murder mystery set between the wars. It is in fact quite humorous in parts and I found this a refreshing change and made the book much more enjoyable. If anything perhaps Anderson has made it humorous to take the “mickey” out of people like me who love reading such stories. So what if that was his intention, I can laugh at myself when it comes to my taste in books! A thoroughly enjoyable read and recommend for sitting back and just enjoying some escapism.
Review posted on Amazon.
I picked this book because of the cover and the title, as well as finding out it was a murder mystery one of my loves and something I am getting more and more into. It is like an Agatha Christie and also Josephine Tey. Nicola Upson’s novels are also set in the 1930s and uses Tey as a character. The Jeeves and Wooster part is the humour and the reasoning all mixed into one. This really was a good book and the characters were so all different that brought together in a country house made them all react and behave differently. I was surprised to read that there were only three of the ‘Burford Family’ books as the author is no longer with us. Interestingly enough these were written in the 1970s although that is irrelevant as they are set in years previous. I am going to seek out the other 2 books because the covers appeal and I want to immerse myself in that world again knowing what I will get and wondering what else could happen to the Burford family.