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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Cackling Witch with the yellow claw like hands!"
This is the first Gladys Mitchell book I have read. After reading books from different authors of that era, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, Margery Allingham & one or two others, I thought I would give this one a try & although it was not quite what I expected as after having watched the Mrs Bradley Mysteries on TV where she is played by Diana Rigg as a younger...
Published on 20 May 2009 by Nuuk Ice Mummy

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury...
There may well be a good mystery somewhere in The Saltmarsh Murders, but the combination of maniacal, talon-fingered, cackle-happy, permatanned, laxative psychologist/detective Mrs. Bradley and introverted, naive-to-the-point-of-concussed springer spaniel Noel Wells (not so much an unreliable narrator as an unbearable one) managed to wear my patience, tolerance and...
Published 3 months ago by Jim Noy


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Cackling Witch with the yellow claw like hands!", 20 May 2009
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This review is from: The Saltmarsh Murders (Paperback)
This is the first Gladys Mitchell book I have read. After reading books from different authors of that era, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, Margery Allingham & one or two others, I thought I would give this one a try & although it was not quite what I expected as after having watched the Mrs Bradley Mysteries on TV where she is played by Diana Rigg as a younger version, in the book Mrs Bradley is being depicted as more of "Miss Marple's" age but is made out to be a 'Cackling Witch with yellow claw like hands'. The story itself is told through the eyes of the Curate Noel Wells, & there are plenty of twists & turns to the plot that keeps the reader interested.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Village life - good and bad, 20 Nov. 2010
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Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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This is the second Gladys Mitchell I've read and I'm warming to Mrs Bradley. Eccentric she may be but no one pulls the wool over her eyes. She is staying with a friend of hers in the small village of Saltmarsh when a girl is murdered shortly after she has given birth to an illegitimate child. The book is narrated by Noel Wells a curate who lives with the vicar and his family and who provides Mrs Bradley with the background information about the suspects.

There are numerous suspects as well as numerous eccentric characters such as Mrs Gatty who may see more of the action than many believe. There are secret passages as well which complicate matters. Naturally there is a village fete towards the end of the book as well as Mrs Bradley explaining her reasoning to an assembled cast of suspects and innocents.

This is a traditional mystery lifted out of the ordinary by the characters, dialogue and style of writing. Modern readers may find the attitudes to race and class a little strange but we need to remember the book reflects the time in which it was written when attitudes were different. I would recommend this author to anyone who is tired of the graphic violence in many of today's crime novels.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weird but good, 2 Sept. 2010
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This review is from: The Saltmarsh Murders (Paperback)
Gladys Mitchell's heroine Mrs Bradley is one of the weirdest amateur detectives that I have ever encountered. She has a macabre sense of humour and equals Miss Marple for her jaundiced view of humanity. Although these early novels are written in an era which contemporary with Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers and Margery Allingham these books share little with their 'cosy' backgrounds. If you like a murder mystery with a twist read on! Even better try and get the audio books with Mary Wimbush (the sadly now deceased Julia Pargeter in the Archers) as Mrs Bradley or listen to the stories on BBC Radio 7 as they should be repeated on the station before the end of 2010. I've never heard anyone cackle on radio like she does in these stories!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detective story overload, 16 April 2011
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downkiddie "downkiddie" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Saltmarsh Murders (Paperback)
In this enjoyable Mrs Bradley mystery Gladys Mitchell throws every possible plot device at the reader. There are secret tunnels, smugglers, illicit affairs, illegitimate babies and a good few murders, naturally, all set in a village rather like Miss Marple's St Mary Mead. It has a manor house, vicarage, new development, and also a seaside setting and a quarry for extra excitement.

The story is told by curate Noel Wells, which perhaps gives it a dryness the story doesn't deserve but we are treated to some case notes from Mrs Bradley at the end to help clear things up, this being a Mrs Bradley story at its most convoluted.

Some of the characters are a joy to read, particularly Mrs Gatty, though parts of the story (particularly regarding the black character) are eyebrow-raising to say the very least. Nevertheless, I'd much rather read the story in its original form, rather than have it edited to make it politically correct (as has happened with a few Agatha Christies) so well done Random House for leaving it alone.

As good an introduction as any to Gladys Mitchell, a wonderful and slightly crazy romp.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GREAT IS THE TEASING & THE EVENTUAL SURPRISE, 11 Mar. 2012
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Mr. D. L. Rees "LEE DAVID" (DORSET) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Saltmarsh Murders (Paperback)
A 1932 novel. Curate Noel Wells disarmingly narrates, not always understanding the significance of what he tells. Small wonder he is perplexed, Saltmarsh a village with more than its fair share of eccentrics - one or two of them descended from unfortunates raped by an escaped lunatic. Residents include a volatile squire, a vicar's wife believing the place virtually Sodom and Gommorah, and weird Mrs. Gatty who regards villagers as various animals.

Throw into the mix a murder or two and one of the most extraordinary detectives literature has ever produced. The result intrigues - to put it mildly.

Twice widowed psycho-analyst Mrs. Bradley is elderly and shrivelled, her features reptilian, her hands yellow talons. She is prone to much cackling. Noel can be excused for not knowing what to make of her, but becomes her Watson as she sorts out what is what.

Yes, aspects are unacceptable in current politically correct times - and, hopefully, also caused misgivings then. Be prepared to make certain allowances and settle to enjoy a murder mystery full of mischievous undercurrents. Entertaining fare with a solution that may take many off guard - immensely satisfyingly.

Fun.
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1.0 out of 5 stars A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury..., 13 Feb. 2015
This review is from: The Saltmarsh Murders (Paperback)
There may well be a good mystery somewhere in The Saltmarsh Murders, but the combination of maniacal, talon-fingered, cackle-happy, permatanned, laxative psychologist/detective Mrs. Bradley and introverted, naive-to-the-point-of-concussed springer spaniel Noel Wells (not so much an unreliable narrator as an unbearable one) managed to wear my patience, tolerance and interest down to a nub and then throw half of it away and bury what remained under the sort of dislocated disinterest that would gladly stand and watch stampeding cattle thunder towards it.

I hated, hated, hated every single page of this – the crimes are entirely random both in their commission and the way in which they’re linked at the end, with Mrs. Bradley’s psychology credentials seemingly a device to circumvent such frowned-upon tropes as character consistency and logical application of evidence. The “detective’s notes” at the end sounds like a lovely idea, but they fail to really explain why Mrs. Bradley links these crimes in this way, and as such feel like an afterthought supposed to convince the inattentive (and who reads the type of book this promises to be without paying attention? And why would you write a novel of detection that rewarded inattention in the first place? Gaaaaaah!).

Wishing to preserve the integrity of the word 'literally' I shall instead claim that Mitchell has Wells using the phrase “of course” on virtually every single page (it could well be every page; I lack the spleen to go back and check), which started out as an irritation and became a kind of sickness. Too much screeching and poking on behalf of our heroine, too, makes her rather hard to warm to and or care about. Yes, one could claim that Mitchell was bucking the trend of the likeable or humorously disdain-worthy detective, but where’s the sense in making the main character f the book the most unpleasant person in it (and she has some pretty stiff competition, it must be said)? Not buying it, sorry; possibly my loss, but I’m fine with that.

Philip Larkin, we’re told, called Gladys Mitchell "the great Gladys". One can only deduce that they must have been friends or that Larkin himself had no standards; it’s nice to know at the very least that I’ll be able to ignore any of his recommendations in future (not, to be fair, that he recommends much to me these days...). This will appeal to some people, but I have no idea who they are. If you like a good puzzle, avoid it. If you like a well-constructed plot, avoid it. If you like sympathetic characters, avoid it. If you want to experience a tangible atmosphere of paranoia or fear, avoid it. If you want a well-motivated criminal, avoid it. If you want a decent fair-play plot, avoid it. If any of the above are anathema to you, dive right in: this is the book you’ve been looking for. And may god have mercy on your soul.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars who killed the maid?, 21 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: The Saltmarsh Murders (Paperback)
1932 crime fiction featuring psychologist Mrs. Bradley who is asked to discover who murdered the housemaid and kidnapped her illegitamate baby! The village all think it is the vicar!
A tedious long winded story, nothing like the TV series. It has not travelled well.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mrs Bradley Novels (Kindle), 13 May 2012
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Mr. Jeremy G. Dutton (West Midlands England) - See all my reviews
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A very good read especialy if on holiday however somewhat dissapointing after seing Dianna Rigg's interpretation in the classic TV series with Niel Dudgeon.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Thought I'd found a good alternative to Agatha Christie but to be honest Mitchell's ..., 10 Mar. 2015
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Thought I'd found a good alternative to Agatha Christie but to be honest Mitchell's books just dont cut it....plot seems to peter out
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 23 Jan. 2015
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Excellent
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The Saltmarsh Murders
The Saltmarsh Murders by Gladys Mitchell (Paperback - 2 April 2009)
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