Posts Tagged ‘Clara Benson’

A Case of Blackmail in Belgravia (A Freddy Pilkington-Soames Adventure Book 1)

Freddy Pilkington-Soames is probably a character you either love or hate.  I love him.  He’s Bert Wooster with more brains and no Jeeves to help him.  Ticky Maltravers appears to be very popular until someone decides to poison him at a dinner party.

Freddy – a newspaper reporter when he isn’t being a man about town – has a close encounter with the corpse which he’d much rather forget.  Unfortunately his mother keeps tampering with the evidence and looks like being arrested for the crime so Freddy feels duty bound to try and extricate her.

I enjoyed this entertaining ‘Golden Age’ mystery and it is a fitting successor to this author’s Angela Marchmont series.  Freddy himself will already be familiar to readers of that series – now he has a series of his own.  If you enjoy crime stories set in, or written during the 1920s and 1930s then this book is worth a try – it is the first one in the series.


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Angela's Christmas Adventure: An Angela Marchmont Short Story

Angela Marchmont series in the 1920s but actually a modern author.  However that hasn’t spoiled my enjoyment of the series and I was glad to see this short story.  Angela is off to spend Christmas with a friend but first she has to see Barbara off to her friends but then her elderly neighbour loses a valuable ring and Angela feels she must help find it for her.

This is a cleverly constructed story and while I did work out what had happened to the ring I didn’t work out who did it.  This is an entertaining short story which won’t take long to read but it did remind me of what I enjoyed about the Angela Marchmont series and it will appeal to anyone who enjoyed the novels in that series.

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The Scandal at 23 Mount Street (An Angela Marchmont Mystery Book 9)

Angela Marchmont finds herself on the wrong side of the law in this exciting story in which someone she definitely doesn’t want to see reappears in her life and threatens her security. Unfortunately the one person who could save her is unlikely to want to do so and she has no means of contacting him.  It is a race against time in which Angela’s friends looks certain to lose and the book keeps you on the edge of your seat until almost the end.

This is the penultimate volume in the Angela Marchmont series and I will be sorry when I don’t have a new one to look forward to.  This book, like the rest of the series, was written in the 1920s so it has a genuine period feel to it of the best Golden Age of British crime writing.  The books were not published until long after the author’s death as she wrote for her own enjoyment.

The book, like the rest of the series, is well written and the trial scenes are extremely well done.  If you like conventional crime novels then this series may be just what you’re looking for.  They don’t need to be read in order of publication except that this one should be read after the rest otherwise all the hints in the other books aren’t at all mysterious.

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The Trouble at Wakeley Court (An Angela Marchmont Mystery Book 8)

This is the eighth book in the Angela Marchmont series of mysteries.  They were written in the 1920s but have only recently seen the light of day because the late author’s family decided to publish them.  Angela is a bit of a mysterious characters in that she appears to have done a lot and seen a lot of the world.  She is well off financially and has a car and a chauffer but the reader knows very little more about her other than she is highly intelligent.

In this latest story she is trying to sort out the vexed issue of her Goddaughter, Barbara’s education.  Barbara is very much a rebel and is always falling foul of the rules at Wakeley Court and is currently on the point of being expelled in spite of her good academic record.  At the same school is a Princess of a central European country and her life is in danger.  One of Angela’s friends is high up in the intelligence services and asks her to keep her eyes open when she spends a weekend at the school.

This is an entertaining story which might seem a little far fetched to some modern readers though I found it enjoyable.  It is well written, the characters are well drawn and while the ploy may seem a little fantastic it is still well constructed.

If you like 1920s mysteries then give this entertaining series a try.  They can be read in any order.


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The Problem at Two Tithes (An Angela Marchmont Mystery Book 7)

Angela Marchmont is paying a delayed visit to her brother and sister in law.  Sir Humphrey Cardew is as unlike his sister as it is possible to be and several people during the course of this story remark upon the fact.  Angela feels her temper is going to be sorely tried during her visit though things start to look up when a local farmer is found shot dead in the woods.

Inspector Alec Jameson is staying in the neighbourhood and agrees to help the local police.  He is an old friend of Angela’s as well and he finds it helpful to discuss the case with her.  As tensions between the villagers quickly become clear and old feuds are revealed there are plenty of suspects but few who were in the right place at the right time.  Jameson finds his impartiality compromised by personal feelings and he returns to London.

Angela has her own suspicions about who committed the crime but can’t at first see how it could have been done.  The whole investigation is hampered by two newspaper reporters who will use fair means or foul to get a story.  This is a well written and very entertaining novel with some lively dialogue, plenty of humour and some well drawn characters. If you enjoy Agatha Christie and other Golden Age writers then you will probably enjoy this entertaining series.  The books can be read in any order.

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The Imbroglio at the Villa Pozzi (An Angela Marchmont Mystery Book 6)

Angela Marchmont is on holiday in Italy and has plans to go on to Venice when she receives a telegram from a friend who is married to the vicar of an English church elsewhere in Italy asking her if she can help with a problem.  Reluctantly Angela changes her plans and goes to see Mary.  Her husband, Jonathan believes a local spiritualist is enticing his congregation away from him and wants Angela to investigate.

Angela is a little reluctant to get involved but decides it can’t do any harm to book a consultation with Mrs Quinn and her daughter and perhaps to invent a dead husband for the occasion.   In the meantime Angela finds herself being introduced to many of the English community and being invited to social occasions.  She is staying in a very pleasant hotel and really quite enjoying herself.  Then she bumps into someone (literally) who she knows under another name.  Could it be that she retains a soft spot for an engaging villain?

Humour, excellent characters and interesting plots are the main ingredients of this episode in the Angela Marchmont series.  This is a genuine Golden Age mystery – written in the nineteen twenties and only now being published by the author’s family.  The book is well written, as are all of the books so far in this series.  If you enjoy authors such as Agatha Christie then you will probably enjoy this book and this series.

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The Incident at Fives Castle (An Angela Marchmont Mystery Book 5)

If you like nineteen twenties mysteries then you will probably enjoy this one.  It was actually written during that era but is only now seeing the light of day.  Modern readers may find it difficult to understand the worry about spies but at the time this was a huge concern.  Angela Marchmont – that enigmatic and well off widow – is invited to Fives Castle to celebrate New Year 1928.  Thanks to a chapter of incidents which seems to follow her around she manages to make an unfortunate impression on her hostess, Lady Strathmerrick, who is convinced she is a man eater and after all her male guests.

But there is serious business afoot at the castle where an ill assorted group of guests is snowed in for several days.  The American Ambassador and the Foreign Secretary are expecting to meet a nuclear scientist who is going to hand over details of his research before the ‘other side’ can get their hands on it but they suspect at least one traitor in their midst.  When the Professor they are expecting to meet is found dead during a game of sardines Angela herself comes under suspicion.

I really enjoyed this book.  It is well written with plenty of humour and marvellous characters and plot.  It has an authentic period feel to it as might be expected from a book written in the era in which it is set.  While the plot may seem dated to some modern readers I feel it stands the test of time very well and brings to life the country house weekend and the way government business was transacted on an informal basis then – and probably still is now to a certain extent.

If you like conventional crime novels set in country houses where circumstances conspire to keep the suspects in close proximity to each other for a short period then you may well enjoy this latest of Clara Benson’s novels to be released.

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