20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 18 November 2002
Set in an English village, and complete with the stock cast of suspects, the only surprise is that Hercule Poirot, rather then Miss Marple, arrives to solve this mystery.
In a world where dogs and gardening provide the main topics of conversation, the cast of characters is representative of the local gentry: the solicitor; the doctor; the farmer, the whimsical lady spiritualist - only the Rector is missing. The maids have adenoids, the barmaid is brassy, and the local constabulary show a proper respect for "their betters".
But the old order is breaking down in the aftermath of war. The gentry are feeling the pinch and their former benefactor has died, leaving a wealthy widow. She takes up residence among them, with her darkly mysterious brother. But is she his widow? Was she his wife? And is he really her brother? Suspicion naturally falls on the pair of outsiders - he is not a gentleman and she is certainly no lady, even her name is "bogus".
Foul play is committed with hardly any blood and no nasty gory details. And Hercule Poirot arrives, in a cloud of Gallic mist, to tell us "who done it", despite the red herrings that the author strews across his path.
Hugh Fraser's excellent reading evokes a politically incorrect world which has long vanished, if it ever existed. It is thoroughly archaic and utterly enjoyable.