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The Norfolk Mystery (The County Guides) Hardcover – 18 Jul 2013

3.1 out of 5 stars 109 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; First Edition edition (18 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007360479
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007360475
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 3.1 x 20.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 188,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

Praise for ‘The Norfolk Mystery’:

‘A delightful, idiosyncratic mystery set in the Thirties … There is a touch of Sherlock Holmes and a dash of Lord Peter Wimsey, but the total is put together with a charm that is teasingly precious … Beautifully crafted by Sansom, Professor Morely promises to become a little gem of English crime writing; sample him now’ Daily Mail

‘Sansom is both celebrating and sending up the golden age of detective novels when, in the 1930s, Dorothy L Sayers and Agatha Christie were the queens of crime … A brilliant first outing that leaves you looking forward to the next maniacal mystery tour’ Mark Sanderson, Evening Standard

About the Author

Ian Sansom writes for the ‘Guardian’ and the ‘London Review of Books’. He is the author of nine books including, ‘Paper: An Elegy’, ‘Mr Dixon Disappears’, ‘The delegates Choice’ and ‘The Bad Book Affair’, some of the instalments of The Mobile Library series. He lives in Northern Ireland.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this entertaining but in an eccentric way, which I can only imagine was the author's intent. It was interesting to see someone else's take on North Norfolk, where I lived for fourteen years, and the way that they imagined life in the 1930s. As much as anything, this book is a creative, backwards looking, travelogue more than a genuine mystery or investigation.
The principal character, named after a Norfolk village, is pretentious in the extreme, never having had an education worthy of the name but who has managed to establish himself in the tabloids of the day as the People's Professor.
He succeeds in avoiding any sleuthing of consequence until, in very typical Poirot style, he reveals all of his conjectures in the final dénouement, accompanied by excessive sniffling.
There is, undoubtedly, potential for the rest of the Guides, as threatened by the author, but I would suggest that the eccentricity of the Professor be reined in somewhat and the other two lead characters given more overt participation.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had come across Ian Sansom with his travelling library series which I thoroughly enjoyed so I was delighted to find he had written more. I was not disappointed - The County Guides are a brilliant follow-up series. I love the historical setting, I love the quirky idea of the narrator being the assistant to the fictional creator of the guides, I love the slightly old-fashioned style of narrative, but most of all I love the almost throw-away crimes that are committed - almost as if they are incidental to the story - which, of course, they are. They are even more interesting if one is acquainted with the places in which episodes are set. So far I have read The Norfolk Mystery and the second of the series set in Devon and thought them both great fun. I do hope Mr Sansom progresses to cover all counties and that he can keep up such a high standard. For those who love detective fiction, set in the mid-20th century, you will be in for a treat.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was recommended to my wife and I by a friend who knew we like vintage crime novels. Had never read any of this authors books before.
We found it disappointing. We both described it as a tedious, one- joke book. The book was mainly about an eccentric "know-all" professor who delights in intellectual put-downs, especially towards the main character and narrator. This was amusing initially but became very tedious about halfway through. The murder plot seemed of secondary importance and was not very interesting anyway. To compare this book in any way with the works of Christie, Sayers and Wodehouse (of which we are great fans), as some reviews do is, in our opinion very misleading. I don't think we will be travelling around the country with the obnoxious professor!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Found it drawn out and boring. I did read it all hoping that there would be something more to this tell, but, alas no.
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By CEC on 12 April 2017
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Enjoyable read
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A disappointing rather pedestrian story.
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Readable rubbish
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Format: Paperback
I love the classic English murder mystery set in the inter-war period so this should have been right up my street. Alas it was a dreadful disappointment.

The first chapters give us the back story of the narrator which is interesting but doesn’t develop. Instead various tedious and boring conversations with the professor take place and I found myself skimming waiting for something to happen. Eventually a body is found – some more long irrelevant conversations take place, and then there is an announcement in church as to what happened. I couldn’t wait to finish this book so I could start something interesting.

• If you don’t speak Latin you’re in trouble – the author litters almost every page with some Latin saying without explaining what they mean. This was pretentious and disrespectful to the reader.
• The main professor character is presumably supposed to be a quirky character but comes across as an off-putting know-it-all bore
• His daughter is straight out of the cliché school of feisty young woman – even down to a risible fast driving escapade and has very little to do
• The narrator seems like the most interesting character but apart from his back story he isn't really involved
• There is no mystery – the biggest crime of all!

This is the first in a series set in various counties of Britain – I will not be continuing the journey and would advise anyone against buying a ticket.
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