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4.3 out of 5 stars
The Wyndham Case (Imogen Quy Mystery 1)
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2011
Meet Imogen Quy, College Nurse at St. Agatha's, who finds herself drawn into investigations into the strange death of a student in a locked library. Classic Agatha Christie you might think, although there's more of a nod here to Dorothy Sayers and - with its university background - just a touch of Morse,(a Cambridge backdrop substituting for Oxford's dreaming spires). This is a reasonably diverting mystery, with neatly drawn though not particularly memorable characters and - of course - a picturesque setting. I'm not sure that the ending will take readers totally by surprise; without giving anything away, it is in part quite well signalled early in the book, although I won't pretend I'd worked out all the angles. There is the occasional jarring moment; for example Ms. Quy pays an impulse visit to a completely strange hairdressing salon and just happens to be dealt with by a stylist who is the victim's girlfriend. Mr Dickens might get away with far-fetched co-incidence, lesser writers do not! And being really picky, I would have thought a qualified nurse would not refer to the "St. John's Ambulance Brigade" but would use the correct title "St.John Ambulance Brigade". However, these are minor carps, and if you are looking for a reasonably literate but not over-demanding entertainment to wile away a winter's evening this may well fit the bill.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 22 September 2001
A traditional Cambridge college, the usual mix of class-conscious-rich and humble-working-class students, a college nurse. And an old and very outdated library of "scientific" books. Why shouldn't the body be found in the (locked) library? Well, thereby hangs a tale and a half, requiring sympathy and study to unravel. Historical detail is combined with a lively (and not always sympathetic!) description of gilded student youth, until Imogen Quy realises the story within a story and confronts killer and conspirators.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 5 March 2012
a jolly good story, well written which does not patronise its reader - unlike a book I recently read where a character explains the meaning of the word esoteric, clearly the author thought her readership too dim to either know what it meant or too dumb to look it up! Not sure when it is supposed to be set as a student borrows her typewriter- most students wouldn't know what one looked like- but they have computers (?) that aside the story is good with nicely thrown red herrings. OK one or two wild coincidences but it is fiction! Enjoyable, readable will buy the next in series as soon as I finished writing this! -- kindle edition, no problems with Kindle layout.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon 15 January 2015
Set in Cambridge, Jill Paton Walsh's novel 'The Wyndham Case' introduces the reader to Imogen Quy, a college nurse working at St Agatha's College. Imogen, an intelligent and compassionate woman, who studied medicine at Oxford, but threw up her studies for the sake of a man she loved and a relationship which did not last, is in her early thirties and lives in the large house she inherited from her parents, taking in students and a college professor to supplement her salary from her part-time job at St Agatha's. It is true that her day-to-day life may not be exactly exciting, but she enjoys her job, gets great pleasure from her garden, and has enough money to have the luxury of not having to work full-time However, her mundane life is about to change when one morning she is visited by the Master in great distress after the discovery of the dead body of a student, Philip Skellow, in the Wyndham Case library. This small library which holds a number of valuable seventeenth century volumes is always kept locked when librarian, Crispin Mountnessing, is not in attendance, and there is only one key in college, which is held by Crispin. How did Philip get into the library? What was he doing in there? And how did he end up in a pool of blood on the library floor? Imogen, who knows one of the police officers investigating the crime, soon finds herself involved not just with the death of Philip, but with the murder of another student, the disappearance of a priceless book and the kidnap of one of her lodgers - but can she help to solve the crime?

A traditional style murder story and one which is well-written and very readable, Jill Paton Walsh's novel with its atmospheric descriptions of college life, university politics and of the area in and around Cambridge, made for an involving and entertaining read. However, I do have to say that Imogen seemed to be portrayed more as middle-aged spinster than a thirty-something singleton and I felt that the author's depiction of the some of the students, their behaviour and their attitude towards the police was not always entirely convincing. In addition, I felt that in places the plot relied a little too heavily on coincidence, for example - and as noted by another reviewer - it seems unlikely that the very hairdressing salon that Imogen visits on the off-chance, is able to offer her an immediate appointment with the young woman who just happens to be the girlfriend of the murdered student, and who is able to help Imogen in her enquiries. I also felt that Imogen seemed to occupy a more privileged position in college than one would expect for a part-time nurse, and one which enabled her to become much more involved in a murder case than I would have thought. Those quibbles aside, I enjoyed Jill Paton Walsh's writing and found this an enjoyable and entertaining down-time read - maybe not one to choose if you are looking for a complicated and hard-hitting thriller, but if you enjoy traditional-style murder mysteries, which are intriguing yet not too demanding, then this could well be one for you.

3.5 Stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2013
I'd read some of the other Imogen Quy books but never been able to find this one, so was delighted by the Kindle version.
It was good to finally read this and see where some of the references in the later books came from. It's gently intriguing and a restful read, rather than a gripping page-turner.
i guessed the hinge of the plot fairly early on (being a history graduate probably helped) and why the first victim was where he was, along with most of the method, but this didn't stop me enjoying this. i liked the writing style, which I felt matched the book well - something I think Jill Paton Walsh is good at. Her Peter Wimsey continuations show this too, where her style is sympathetic to Dorothy L Sayers but not just an imitation. Not sure I agree with those who call Imogen Quy the "female Morse", unless it's because of the university setting - this is more straight-forward fare.
Give it a go.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2014
This was my first Imogen Quy mystery and at first the plot seemed very similar to another novel by Paton Walsh, 'The Late Scholar', in which she pursues the D L Sayers' story of Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. I had just finished reading the latter and this possibly influenced my opinion of The Wyndham Case because it just seemed like more of the same, however, there are a number of interesting twists and turns. Clearly all of these stories are set in the mythical Cambridge College of St Agatha's and feature the College nurse with a detective's mind. Different and interesting.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 2013
1993 The Wyndham Case
1995 A Piece of Justice
2006 Debts of Dishonour
2007 The Bad Quarto

Jill Paton Walsh delivers beautifully crafted plots that are populated with wonderful English characters. Jill Patton Walsh is the only author in this genre that challenges the mind while touching the heart - a truly remarkable achievement.

The greatest mystery is: why aren't all these novels best sellers.

Perhaps it is because the literary establishment is content with the paper thin characters, weak dialogue and flat personalities of Wexford [Ruth Rendell] and Dalgliesh [P D James].

Perhaps it is because the publishers choose quotations [for the book covers] that damn with faint praise.

Perhaps it is because the main protagonist is female.

I really don't know - but I do know that reading these books was a real treat.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2014
Enjoyable and kept my interest but the plot was slightly predictable. Read it in one session. Recommended as a novel to read when recovering from 'flu or as respite from marking exam papers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 2014
I first encountered JPW through her continuation of Dorothy L Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey series. The Imogen Quy mysteries are in a similar vein and thoroughly enjoyable.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Reassuringly, the first body turns up in the first chapter. Far too many writers of detective fiction now seem to think we have to read hundreds of pages before the crime is committed. Jill Paton Walsh, refreshingly, knows we want the crime early in the story.

The setting is delightful. And it is good to see Cambridge, rather than Oxford, as the scene of action.

I was surprised to see that this novel was first published as recently as 1993. The characters would probably be happier to be found a few decades earlier. But I did rather like the innocence of almost everyone (even if they did not ring true as late 20th century people).

The story is clever and fun. Most readers will work out why Philip was in the Wyndham Library long before the author wants us to, but that doesn't matter. Indeed, it is rather rewarding to discover one is right.

I am about to download the next in the series.

Charles
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