Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn more Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars9
4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
7
4 star
2
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item
Share your thoughts with other customers

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 8 May 2002
This case strays from what I think of as the usual Silver format, in that private enquiry agent Maud Silver isn't brought in during the 2nd or 3rd chapter by one of the sympathetic young lovers who generally turn up in her cases. Instead, she appears after a few chapters of character development spelling out quite clearly just how many people - both would-be lovers and *their* discarded partners - have a motive to kill Tanis Lyle, and Maudie's already engaged in a separate case - a matter of petty thefts from Tanis' wealthy guardian Agnes, who then extends the engagement to cover the murder investigation. (Agnes and her cousin Lucy are old acquaintances of Maud's school days, although they were never close, so she's actually staying with the client rather than a separate old school chum for once.) However, in this instance the flexing of the bonds of the Silver format does no harm; a very pleasant read as either a novel or a puzzle, if you like mysteries spiced with other human problems.

As in a later case, THROUGH THE WALL, at least two potential murder victims bear a strong enough likeness that when one is killed at night while wearing some of the other's clothing, there's some question as to which was the intended victim. Another similarity is that one is the (apparently) morally worthy heiress, the other a femme fatale, although in a much more drastic contrast than in the later book, where the femme fatale is a (somewhat) more sympathetic character. Motive won't help sort this one out - anybody who didn't have a motive to kill Tanis Lyle did have a motive to kill Laura Fane, and vice versa.

Laura Fane, as the sole surviving member of the senior branch of the family, holds title to the family estate - the Priory - but the next branch of the family has leased it for many years, since they had the money to keep it up, so cousin Agnes has lived there all her life. Jilted by Laura's father, then partly paralyzed by a riding accident, she's devoted herself to 3 things: nursing her grudge against Laura's long-dead parents, maintaining the Priory, and raising her orphaned young cousin Tanis Lyle. Agnes wants to buy the Priory outright, and to persuade Tanis (via her control of the pursestrings) to settle down and raise her son (currently parked with her ex's family), but Tanis prefers proving in wartime London that the enemy isn't the only destroyer of good men - or relationships.

Laura, on the other hand, while bearing a physical likeness to Tanis, is leavened with the milk of human kindness rather than a taste for cat-and-mouse games with men - or their partners' jealousy. But when she and one of Tanis' recent discards - a decent sort with a Distinguished Flying Cross, recovering from injuries that grounded him with temporarily messed-up depth perception - begin falling in love, Tanis arranges matters so that "the aunts" will be sure to raise Cain, seeing Laura as "stealing" Tanis' man, just as Laura's father jilted Agnes for another woman. When one of the girls is shot in the middle of the night, which was the intended victim?

Since the Priory is in Ledshire, Randall Marsh - superintendent and Miss Silver's favourite former pupil - is in charge of the official investigation. (He wryly comments that he's the only member of the family who's *not* in the Army - and he's the only male in his generation.)
0Comment|4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
By the time you have read the first half of this 1943 murder mystery, you will know that Tanis Lyle is a beautiful young woman who has many enemies. When the butler then discovers Tanis's body, and the "small round hole in the silk of her coat a little below the left shoulder-blade", you will suspect that one of them has murdered her. You could be wrong! Miss Maud Silver, eccentric in dress and quaint in manner, will eventually be able to explain why.
Patricia Wentworth, like several other female British crime writers of her generation, contributed to the so-called "War Effort" in the early 1940s by increasing her production of the sort of murder mysteries that provided cosy, escapist relaxation. This one is a successful blend of her usual ingredients: romance, relationships, family dynamics crossing several generations, a murder or two, Miss Maud Silver as sleuth, and lots of dialogue.
0Comment|8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
By the time you have read the first half of this 1943 murder mystery, you will know that Tanis Lyle is a beautiful young woman who has many enemies. When the butler then discovers Tanis's body, and the "small round hole in the silk of her coat a little below the left shoulder-blade", you will suspect that one of them has murdered her. You could be wrong! Miss Maud Silver, eccentric in dress and quaint in manner, will eventually be able to explain why.
Patricia Wentworth, like several other female British crime writers of her generation, contributed to the so-called "War Effort" in the early 1940s by increasing her production of the sort of murder mysteries that provided cosy, escapist relaxation. This one is a successful blend of her usual ingredients: romance, relationships, family dynamics crossing several generations, a murder or two, Miss Maud Silver as sleuth, and lots of dialogue.
I especially enjoyed Diana Bishop's sympathetic reading of the book, in audio book format.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 16 February 2014
Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver reminds me of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and is just as interesting to read these books.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Laura Fane has inherited a house called The Priory on her twenty first birthday. It is currently rented by her aunt Agnes Fane but the various parts of the Fane family have been at odds since Laura's mother ran off with Agnes' fiancé. Agnes wants her other niece Tanis Lyle to inherit The Priory and is putting pressure on Laura to sell to her. In order to end the feud Laura is invited down to stay with Agnes.

Then the problems start. Tanis is found dead and any of the house party guests could have been the murderer. Maud Silver is staying in the house in order to investigate some petty thefts which have been taking place so she is in an ideal position to try and work out who is the murderer. The novel features Randal Marsh before he reaches the dizzy heights of Chief Constable.

There are many undercurrents throughout this novel and the whole atmosphere is very dark but believable. The characters are well drawn and throughout it all Maud Silver knits for her many friends and relations and watches the people around her for the small things which give them away. One of the best of the Miss Silver novels in my opinion.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 11 February 2016
another fascinating story from Patricia Wentworth - do read it
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This is the 5th of Patricia Wentworth's whodunits, featuring the redoubtable Miss Silver. It was published in 1943. In all, there were 32 novels, written between 1928 and 1961. This one, like most of the others, is set in the claustrophobic atmosphere of a small English village and country house, in the days when local intermarriage meant that practically everyone was related to everyone else.
Miss Silver is a retired governess who could have expected a very impoverished old age, had she not discovered a new talent and set up as a private inquiry agent. It helps that she has many contacts in aristocratic and fashionable society, because of the fact that she tutored so many of their children. She is reminiscent of Miss Marple, since they are both old-lady sleuths, but is actually a more developed character, with her moralising attitudes, her constant quoting of `dear Tennyson' and her habit of coughing in a ladylike (but quite irritating manner). She is deeply grateful to Providence that she has been enabled to earn enough to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. She seems a prim, harmless old lady, the impression heightened by the fact that she wears old-fashioned clothes and knits constantly, but behind all that lies a razor-sharp intelligence and formidable powers of observation. It is also helpful that Inspector Frank Abbott of the CID is an admiring ex-pupil of hers. However, in this book another ex-pupil, Randal March, is her admiring helper.
Laura Fane returns to London to come into her inheritance but it is not an unmingled pleasure. Her father had been expected to marry his cousin Agnes, but when he fell in love with Laura's mother he jilted his fiancee. However, she lives on an estate that he owns. Now Laura has been left everything, including that estate. Agnes is determined to buy the estate for her niece, Tanis, whom she brought up.
Tanis Lyle is attractive, dangerous, charming and immensely popular. She has had a meteoric rise as a theatre actress and now has just finished filming her first motion picture. She is an electrifying performer with a compelling personality and she makes a powerful impression on Laura, her distant cousin. Because of a long-standing family feud, they have never met before. Then Tanis is murdered and Miss Silver investigates.
As is usual with Patricia Wentworth, the murder victim is not a nice person and one can't regret her passing too much, despite her youth. Also as usual, there are star-crossed lovers who need Miss Silver to solve the mystery so that the obstacles to their union can be removed. She always creates interesting and sympathetic characters, as well as yokels and convincing villains. Her writing style is elegant and her stories are well-plotted and move at a gentle but always interesting pace. In some ways, she writes better than Agatha Christie, though her plots are far more formulaic and less ingenious.
I love the atmosphere of these books. Miss Wentworth recreates an almost vanished world of old-fashioned middle-class manners and morals with a real period background. It is a world of refinement, self-restraint and self-sacrifice. In this case, World War 2 is happening and there is rationing and horrible meals and there are evacuees, city people who are unused to country ways. Her romantic heroes tend to be dark, repressed and sexy (shades of Mills and Boone) and the heroines beautiful, gentle, dutiful and devoted. They tend to torment their men by requiring the same self-restraint from them. Pleasant, old-fashioned romance, in fact. In these books, goodness and refinement prevail as Miss Silver exposes the real truth. Lovely!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 April 2015
Great read, well written and thoroughly enjoyed the storyline,kept me guessing right up until the last paragraph.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 July 2014
Everything ok
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.