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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 December 2014
Clara Benson wrote her series of books about lady detective Angela Marchmont during the Golden Age of the cosy detective novel, the 1920s. She was an Englishwoman writing her gentle,upper-crust stories purely for her own amusement. Her family knew nothing about them until many years after Benson's death in 1965, when they came upon the manuscripts.
This is as yet the only one that I have read and I enjoyed it, although no-one could describe the plot as an original one. The body of an elderly aristocrat is found in his locked study and his weekend house guests appear to harbour a murderer among them. It was pretty obvious to me who the murderer was likely to be (and I always try not to guess, since for me it spoils the pleasure of the story). The narrator is the naive and gentlemanly Charles, who is pretty slow to see the implications of the events he witnesses. Among the house guests, fortunately, is Angela Marchmont, whose assessment of events is much more shrewd..
The story is very well-written and I enjoyed the assortment of aristocratic characters. Although the identity of the murderer came as no surprise, the means by which that person was exposed was unexpected and quite intriguing. A number of the characters turn out to have secrets with a bearing on the plot and the ending is quite satisfying.
I look forward to reading the next book in the series and to discovering whether Clara Benson was able to develop her talent for writing and create more complex plots.
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on 19 September 2017
I enjoy classic English crime stories. This is not one such.

It is obvious throughout who did the murder; not just in retrospect, but clunking great clues jump out as you read.

The characters are shallow upper middle class. Many true classic crime characters could tend that way, but in this book the 'clever private detective' Angela Marchmont is not clever and shows no depth; while the innocent hero is brainless.

Add to this the distasteful sympathy that the cast feel for the (heartless) murderer, and you end up wishing you had not read this.
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on 28 August 2014
I wanted a period crime novel for a wet afternoon and I got this one for free. I would have been annoyed if I had paid for it. I have never read a mystery with such clearly signposted clues and I had guessed 'whodunnit' before the murder was even discovered. I did not particularly take to any of the characters. The character narrating the tale was utterly clueless and rather exasperating and his best friend seemed completely unlikeable. Even the lady sleuth wasn't especially interesting. It passes the time on a horribly wet afternoon but I will not be reading any more by this author.
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on 5 May 2015
I am not the sort of person that likes to work out who the murderer is before all is revealed in the denouement. I like to suspend belief and take everything I read in a whodunnit at face value, waiting for the investigator to explain it all to me at the end. I have never before worked out who the murderer is before they've even found the body......

I shan't be reading any more of these.
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on 16 December 2015
I really didn't get on with this story at all. I found the writing heavy-handed, the characters flat and boring, the mystery fairly tame and predictable. I really wanted to like it, being a fan of that era in particular, but I struggled to read it. Other people may enjoy it - and the number of high ratings suggests that many do - so ultimately it comes down to likes and dislikes.
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on 8 August 2017
Prefer not to pass comments on books as reading material is always subjective.
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on 10 October 2017
got bored very quickly
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on 14 April 2015
If you want to walk hand-in-hand with a statelier past read this, a charming gentle tale even though it is a murder. Fairly obvious but will not trouble you or cause nighmares
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on 3 November 2015
A good enjoyable and entertaining book. Loved the style and will look for more by this author.
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on 27 June 2013
Really enjoyed this book. Kept me enthralled throughout. Will be looking out for more by this author. Would recommend for anyone who likes a bit of mystery and romance combined.
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