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The Riddle of Sphinx Island: An Antonia Darcy and Major Payne Mystery Paperback – 1 Aug 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The Mystery Press (1 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752492446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752492445
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 12.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,581,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"The story was entertaining with a cast of eccentric characters, reminding me of the 1985 movie "Clue"." --She is Too Fond of Books

About the Author

R. T. Raichev is the author of seven Antonia Darcy mysteries, including 'The Hunt for Sonya Dufrette' and 'Murder at the Villa Byzantine'.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I had to stop reading this book about a quarter of the way through because it is without doubt one of the worst i have ever picked up. Poor writing, dismal plot, unbelievable characters and no story of interest.
My advice would be to give it a miss
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Lesley on 28 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback
This is the eighth novel in the Antonia Darcy/Major Hugh Payne series written by R. T. Raichev. I proudly display them all on a shelf in my office because once I found this author I knew I would never part with any of his novels. When this book arrived in the mail I firmly dictated that I could not begin reading it until I had finished the current book I was reading. Well, that dictate lasted for several hours. I was only going to look at the chapter titles, really. Raichev uses the most wonderful chapter titles which are almost always titles of books or songs but which tie in with what is going to take place in that chapter. I find that fascinating. Well, before I knew it I was reading away and came upon the line I used as the title for this review. "Notions of madness aren't what they used to be" was such a clear statement of what Sybil de Coverley was dealing with regarding her eccentric brother that I knew then I was in for a wonderful reading experience.

This story has everything you would want to read in a modern day mystery patterned after books published during the Golden Age of the mystery novel. The island, the rather gloomy house, the mighty storm, the eccentric character, the Ugly American, the titled British lady, several people who aren't who they say they are, and the married couple who have been invited to solve a murder. But why does the hostess even think a murder might take place? Really, could this all just be an entertainment put on for Hugh and Antonia as a gift, a wedding anniversary present? And just when you think you know what is going to happen.........it doesn't. After reading all of R. T. Raichev's books in this series I know his style is to lull the unwary reader into following false trails of information. The infamous Red Herring.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good lightweight fun easy reading like all his other books that I have read. I shall continue to buy them
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Suzette A. Hill on 23 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
R.T. Raichev's latest novel is well named. The plot poses a tantalising riddle whose solution, while slyly hinted at in the course of the narrative, is only revealed at the very end - à la Agatha Christie. And as with Christie the reader is kept in a continuous state of heightened suspense and provocation: taunted, enticed, and craftily deceived. We are led through a tortuous maze of motive and possibility which both frustrates and delights. However, it is not simply mystery per se that makes this tale so enlivening: it is also the vividly drawn characters and the cross-currents and tensions informing their warped relationships. As with his other novels, Raichev creates a subtle blend of the decorous and decadent, the seemly and the vicious. Malice abounds - but then so does genteel civility. And it is this mix of the decent and the indecent which gives the narrative its edgy tension. Humour too - and even touches of farce and grand guignol - adds to the novel's appeal and gives it buoyancy and charm. And yet always beneath the levity lies an unsettling aura of madness and menace whose very subtlety makes it so potent. Intelligent, witty and at times ironically outlandish, The Riddle of Sphinx Island is classic crime for the connoisseur.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
"Notions of madness aren't what they used to be." 2 Nov. 2013
By J. Lesley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is the eighth novel in the Antonia Darcy/Major Hugh Payne series written by R. T. Raichev. I proudly display them all on a shelf in my office because once I found this author I knew I would never part with any of his novels. When this book arrived in the mail I firmly dictated that I could not begin reading it until I had finished the current book I was reading. Well, that dictate lasted for only several hours. I was just going to look at the chapter titles, really. Raichev uses the most wonderful chapter titles which are almost always titles of books or songs but which tie in with what is going to take place in that chapter. I find that fascinating. Well, before I knew it I was reading away and came upon the line I used as the title for this review. "Notions of madness aren't what they used to be" was such a clear statement of what Sybil de Coverley was dealing with regarding her eccentric brother that I knew then I was in for a wonderful reading experience.

This story has everything you would want to read in a modern day mystery patterned after books published during the Golden Age of the mystery novel. The island, the rather gloomy house, the mighty storm, the eccentric character, the Ugly American, the titled British lady, several people who aren't who they say they are, and the married couple who have been invited to solve a murder. But why does the hostess even think a murder might take place? Really, could this all just be an entertainment put on for Hugh and Antonia as a gift, a wedding anniversary present? And just when you think you know what is going to happen.........it doesn't. After reading all of R. T. Raichev's books in this series I know his style is to lull the unwary reader into following false trails of information. The infamous Red Herring. Even being forewarned didn't keep me from being snookered in. While I was busy concentrating on not being fooled, I got fooled. I just love it when an author gives me all the clues and then waits to see if I will pick them up and solve the problem they have set out. I came close, but close doesn't really count in solving murders.

I absolutely enjoyed every page of this novel. The atmosphere is superbly written. Every sentence pertaining to a mystery novelist writing a novel discussing mystery novel writers was such fun to read. You can't help but speculate about whether this author is talking about himself as well as the characters in his books. The setting and characters and plotting have so many aspects of the mystery cliché that I couldn't help but wonder every time if they would be given some fresh twist which would take them from the familiar (and dare I say hackneyed) into a modern, interesting dimension which piques my interest yet again. I was not disappointed. I highly recommend any of the novels written by this author. My very most tip-top favorite is still Murder at the Villa Byzantine: An Antonia Darcy and Major Payne Investigation, but this one came really close to knocking that one off the pinnacle plinth. Not just a salute to Agatha Christie (And Then There Were None) but a smart salute to the talented authors of the 1930's and 1940's. Thank goodness for the marvelous writing talent of R. T. Raichev!

A copy of this book was provided to me for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
And Then There Were None... 26 Feb. 2014
By joan sprunk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Another book in the series of Antonia Darcy an Major Payne as the detectives. Very clever. This book grabbed me with intrigue right from the beginning. The book had everything to keep me interested; a remote island, cut off from the outside world on a very dark and stormy night and what else could happen on a dark, scary, stormy night in a Raichev book except for murder? Well, of course, a murder that would have all sorts of twists and turns as to who did it. And, as always, I did not figure out the real murderer. I very much enjoyed this book.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
wonderful new novel in delightful series 29 Oct. 2013
By Marian F. Parker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The latest novel in Raichev's series featuring Antonia and the Major is another delightful, insightful mystery. His clever use of references to famous mystery novels adds a hint of mystery itself. His characters are quite believable and his dialog is, too. Antonia and the Major sparkled, as always. Being in their company, with a good mystery to be solved, would make for a great weekend at a house party, as it did in this novel.
Disapointing 9 Feb. 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I came to this after hearing a positive podcast review about it and thinking it might be a jolly pastiche of And Then There Were None. It attempts to be but doesn't hit the mark at all. The main detectives have no character, I don't even recall reading a physical description of them so they just do not form off the page. Antonia Darcy and Major Payne are bland and featureless, there is just nothing about them that grab you.

I think you possibly need to read the other books first as the main detectives might have been described better in them, but as a first introduction they do not engage a new reader and did not make me want to read about them again. The other characters also are confined to the page and act and speak like they are supposed to be Golden age characters but in modern day, which just does not pay off at all. I felt like I was reading about English characters written by an American who had never been to the UK and still thought we walked around in capes and top hats hailing hansom cabs. I would add there are plenty of excellent American writers who write English detective Novels that are superb and UK writers who write horrible American novels. So I was surprised to find that RT Raichev lives in London.

Plot wise it is all a bit dull, and for regular mystery readers you will probably guess most of the puzzles. It feels like a wasted opportunity sadly, R.T.Raichev can obviously write and there are some fun lines but the plot is just not really very good. It is rather expensive too and seeing as you can probably get about 3 John Dickson Carr's for the price you would be better off with those :(
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great! 10 May 2014
By hamza - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I love all of Raichev's books. They have made my life so much more thrilling and exciting. I have already read this book twice, I enjoyed it enormously You should read it if you haven't already.
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