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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really great fun
Adair has written a detective story that I think almost any writer from the Golden Age would have been proud to put their name to. Filled with numerous in-jokes and references to classic detective stories, "The Act of Roger Murgatroyd" nevertheless is not just for established fans of the genre. It's exactly what I was hoping it to be: a real brainbender of a whodunnit,...
Published on 21 Sept. 2007 by Philida

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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite funny nor clever enough
As the title tells us, this is a post-modern deconstruction of the `golden age' detective story, and especially plays intertextual games with Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Poirot). It exposes the workings of the genre but doesn't really stand up as a novel in its own right. It reproduces the `locked room' mystery but too much of the book is narratives told by...
Published on 28 Sept. 2009 by Roman Clodia


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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really great fun, 21 Sept. 2007
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Adair has written a detective story that I think almost any writer from the Golden Age would have been proud to put their name to. Filled with numerous in-jokes and references to classic detective stories, "The Act of Roger Murgatroyd" nevertheless is not just for established fans of the genre. It's exactly what I was hoping it to be: a real brainbender of a whodunnit, with red herrings everywhere and every character looking like a legitimate suspect, and it's written in an easy, comical style. While Adair fills his novel with clichés, there is a self-awareness about his writing that forgives this. It's both parody and art, if that's possible.

The heroine, Evadne Mount, "Dowager Duchess of Crime", was hard to like at first, but I found that once the story got going she grew on me enormously. For all her flaws - vanity, roughness and a reluctance to hand the centre stage over to someone else - she was a character who I ended up finding incredibly easy to root for.

All in all, it's a charming, tongue-in-cheek novel - perhaps its one failing is that at 286 pages it's a little too short! It really is the most enjoyable book - the sort that makes you stay in bed all morning reading it! I'd highly recommend it to anyone, and I'm very much looking forward to reading the sequels.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!, 8 Sept. 2007
By 
Sarah Durston (London) - See all my reviews
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Reading this novel is almost like reading a dramatisation of the board game 'Cluedo. Set circa 1935, on Boxing Day, this is a really wonderful locked room mystery reflecting all the characters and devices of the 'golden age' of mystery writing and then subverting them all!

It is also hysterically funny. One of the charactes, an aptly named Evadne Mount, is a writer of whodunnits and throughout the novel she describes the plots of her novels (much to everyone's dismay!) My favourite was 'The Case of the Family Jewels' and I will leave to your imagination what the story was about.Other highlights from her canon include 'The Urinal of Futility' based on 'The Well of Lonliness'.

A great read, brilliant characers and a satisfying conclusion. Brilliant!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Christmas Cracker, 25 Nov. 2006
By 
Sandford "Sandy" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Act of Roger Murgatroyd (Evadne Mount Trilogy) (Hardcover)
If you buy any book as a present this Xmas, consider this "entertainment" from Gilbert Adair. I found it a delight to read; intelligent, witty and fast paced. The title itself immediately reminds any crime story buff, of Agatha Christie's novel, "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd". Any lover of this genre will thoroughly enjoy this book. It would be crass to call it a spoof novel, but it made me chuckle at times, and smile all the time. It brings so much together of the style of Christie, that will resonate loudly with all readers. Adair's style is fresh, vibrant, hilarious at times. His description of the book as an entertainment, is perfectly judged.

This would be an ideal novel to read on Boxing Day afternoon, ideally beside a log fire, with a snow storm raging outside.....lets not get carried away.

I read this in one sitting, so highly recommended
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stays close to Agatha, 11 May 2014
Scottish author Gilbert Adair (1944-2011) wrote amusing whodunits in a narrative style equal to Agatha Christie at her best. He must have realised this, because his titles are Agatha clones and therefore capture attention. In fact, that is how I found him during a casual Amazon browse.
The Act of Roger Murgatroyd sounds like a Poirot classic, The Murder of Roger Murgatroyd. Having been lured by this, I was hooked from the start! It is a locked-room murder featuring a Marple-like sleuth named Evadne Mount. For cozy fans it is totally superb and the solution is credible (just). Setting is an isolated country house in the 1930s, a period the author recreates convincingly.
Subtitled “an entertainment”, it is exactly that. Two other Evadne Mount puzzles are now on my must-read list. These are And Then There Was No One (cf Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None) and A Mysterious Affair of Styles (cf The Mysterious Affair At Styles).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More than a parody, 1 Sept. 2009
I was given this book because of my love of puns and a fondness for golden age crime novels. It certainly satisfies on both of these levels. But do not dismiss this as merely a witty and affectionate parody. Amongst the hilarious character sketches and spoof potboilers that fill the pages is some insightful and gentle thoughtful prose that would not disgrace any good work of fiction. Very well written and recomended with full enthusiasm from this reader. I love puns and good character studies and this belongs on my favouriAffair of the Thirty Nine Cufflinks, The (Burford Family Mysteries 3)The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy (Burford Family Mysteries 1)tes shelf. Garson Lazarre's Paris Confidential
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic and really, really funny!, 4 Jan. 2007
By 
Sarah Durston (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Act of Roger Murgatroyd (Evadne Mount Trilogy) (Hardcover)
Reading this novel is almost like reading a dramatisation of the board game 'Cluedo. Set circa 1935, on Boxing Day, this is a really wonderful locked room mystery reflecting all the characters and devices of the 'golden age' of mystery writing and then subverting them all!

It is also hysterically funny. One of the charactes, an aptly named Evadne Mount, is a writer of whodunnits and throughout the novel she describes the plots of her novels (much to everyone's dismay!) My favourite was 'The Case of the Family Jewels' and I will leave to your imagination what the story was about.Other highlights from her canon include 'The Urinal of Futility' based on 'The Well of Lonliness'.

A great read, brilliant characers and a satisfying conclusion. Brilliant!
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gilbert dunnit, 5 Jun. 2008
By 
Tony Floyd "Travis Pickle" (UK) - See all my reviews
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The story opens in a snowbound country house located on the edge of Dartmoor on Boxing Day 1935. The body of Raymond Gentry, an effete gossip columnist, has been found in the attic of ffolkes Manor. The attic door was locked from the inside and the sole window has solid iron bars which permit no access. All the assembled guests have their reasons for wanting him dead and so they are all suspects for the crime. A retired police officer who lives a short distance from the manor is drafted in to undertake the investigation. Also in residence is Evadne Mount, renowned crime writer who relishes the opportunity to not only take on the role of amateur sleuth in a reflection of her own invented character Alexis Baddeley, but to also draw out the amusing implications of such a scenario. The other guests include the vicar and his wife, the local doctor and his wife, a grand theatrical dame and the lord of the manor, his wife, his daughter and the daughter's hapless male friend. Plus of course a supporting cast of butlers and cooks and so on. The stage is set for a classic who, and how, dunnit. Along the way the author has great fun deploying all the expected devices of the classic era detective mystery.

In his cheeky and highly enjoyable 'entertainment', Gilbert Adair puts into practice some of the points about murder mystery novels, specifically those by Agatha Christie, which he made in his short essay A Mysterious Affair of Style (in his book Myths and Memories). This persuasively argues that there are only really two characters involved in any such book; the author and the reader. The author concealing clues and using red herrings to confound the reader; the reader attempting to unpick the significant from the insignificant and work out who the murderer is before his or her identity is revealed by Poirot or Miss Marple (or in this instance Evadne Mount). In effect author and reader are engaged in a kind of coital act, each alert to the other's tricks and devices in attempt to tease each other to a mutually satisfyng conclusion.

Adair's knowingness is finely judged and adroitly managed. By using Evadne Mount as his mouthpiece, he is able to make amusing observations about the tropes and tricks of crime writing without being too irritatingly arch or post modernly self satisfied. For example, Mount's delicious description of the requirement for cold and freezing weather to add to the feeling of cosiness and security to those `trapped' indoors works within the context of the story but also has a recognisable kinship to Adair's essays of cultural criticism in Surfing the Zeitgeist and The Postmodernist always Rings Twice.

Another even more overt example is where Mount notes how she edits or expands passages towards the end of her books to ensure that the revelation of the murderer's name appears over the page so that the reader does not inadvertently catch sight of it before they reach the relevant passage. This is surely the kind of thing all fans of crime novels have always contemplated. Adair is of course compelled to follow her example and does so with aplomb; certainly I was not up to the task of working out who the perpetrator was nor how the crime was committed.

The playful, parodic approach extends to the use of words and phrases which once were once innocent but are now loaded with different meanings and the fact that many of the characters voice very politically incorrect views about the working class and foreigners. The book therefore replicates not only the virtues and pleasures of the work of classic crime era novelists but also some of their more insalubrious features too.

One additional point of interest for anyone who may remember Adair as the columnist Heurtebise in the old Sight and Sound magazine (i.e. longstanding film fans) is to be found in the names that he has given his characters here. The Reverend is called Wattis, the actress is Rutherford, the doctor is Rolfe, the crime writer Mount, the estate manager Farrar, and in passing we hear of Tomelty, Grenfell, and so on. If these are unfamiliar then google the names Richard Wattis, Margaret Rutherford (who of course played Miss Marple), Guy Rolfe, Peggy Mount, David Farrar, Joseph Tomelty, Joyce Grenfell, and you'll get the idea. Stalwarts all of the British film industry, and to those familiar with them they will automatically summon up mental images, not necessarily appropriate, of the characters who share their names.

In conclusion then, this is an extremely enjoyable Agatha Christie pastiche that works as an ingenious, entertaining and wholly satisfying murder mystery in it's own right.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite funny nor clever enough, 28 Sept. 2009
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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As the title tells us, this is a post-modern deconstruction of the `golden age' detective story, and especially plays intertextual games with Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Poirot). It exposes the workings of the genre but doesn't really stand up as a novel in its own right. It reproduces the `locked room' mystery but too much of the book is narratives told by the suspects. All the action takes place during the single day of the murder, and thus there is very little drama or interaction between the characters. As well as revealing the conventions of the genre, it also exposes the class, race and gender prejudices of the `golden age'.

Towards the end there is an hysterically funny moment as the method of murder is revealed, and a daring deconstructive twist (the last couple of lines) but I'm afraid this wasn't enough to save the book for me. So overall this is quite funny, and quite clever, but I won't be rushing out for the rest of the series.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 100% Entertainment, 3 Jan. 2007
By 
lavjan (Isle of Wight) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Act of Roger Murgatroyd (Evadne Mount Trilogy) (Hardcover)
I bought this after reading the review " A Christmas Cracker", and yes it was super Christmas entertainment.

I too read in one sitting and my description is, the perfect black and white English movie,that you curl up on the settee to watch, on a cold and wet Sunday afternoon.

Great fun and I loved it.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not sure how seriously to take this!, 25 Mar. 2010
By 
E. Potter (Worcs, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Act of Roger Murgatroyd (Evadne Mount Trilogy) (Hardcover)
This is a pastiche of a thirties snowbound country house whodunnit, with a cast of stock characters doing stock things around the place. It was not particularly funny so perhaps it was supposed to be taken fairly seriously. There were a couple of spoilers of old locked-room mysteries, The Yellow Room and the Big Bow, which seemed unnecessary.
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The Act of Roger Murgatroyd (Evadne Mount Trilogy)
The Act of Roger Murgatroyd (Evadne Mount Trilogy) by Gilbert Adair (Hardcover - 2 Nov. 2006)
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