Despite being listed as ‘Mrs Bradley 2’ this is actually the first Mrs Bradley mystery. As I am pretty obsessive about reading series in order, this seems a pretty silly mistake for the publisher to have made. The Mystery of a Butcher’s Shop is the second book in a series which spanned 66 novels featuring Mrs Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley – psychoanalyst and amateur sleuth. Although a lady in her fifties when we first meet her, the author has great fun in poking fun at her looks and dress sense and she often described as ‘reptilian’ and with a cackling and unpleasant laugh. However, although there is no Miss Marple fluffiness masking a sharp mind, it is clear that she is a very astute lady indeed.
Having indeed saved the son and heir of Chayning Court. Garde Bing, from some trouble at University, she has been invited for a house party. Guests include Garde’s father Mr Alastair Bing, his sister Eleanor, Garde’s fiancée Dorothy, his friend Bertie Philipson, who has also hoped to marry Dorothy, the naturalist Carstairs and explorer Everard Mountjoy. No sooner has Dorothy arrived for dinner, when her future father in law is exasperated that Everard Mountjoy has not arrived down for dinner. When the matter is investigated, Mountjoy is found dead in the bath – but instead of a man, a woman’s body is found.
Carstairs insists it is murder and he teams up with Mrs Bradley to discover who killed the now, Miss Mountjoy. However, it seems that the murders will not stop at one and it is up to Mrs Bradley to try to outwit the killer. Written in 1929, this is a good example of a Golden Age mystery – with a house party, lots of twists and turns and, despite the often flippant humour, a real sense of danger among the guests. I love mysteries from this era and I am glad that I have discovered this author. However, I will first check a web page dedicated to the author to make sure I am reading the books in the order they were meant to be read in.