The Twenty-Third Man (Mrs Bradley) Paperback – 6 Oct 2011
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"One can usually rely on Miss Gladys Mitchell for something unexpected and in The Twenty-Third Man she certainly provides" (Guardian)
"Bizarre, fascinating and entertaining" (Tatler)
"Crime writing's best-kept secret" (Scotsman)
READ ALL AGATHA CHRISTIE? TRY A VINTAGE MURDER MYSTERY.
A cave containing the bodies of 23 mummified kings acquires another corpse overnight...a classic murder mystery from one of the queens of Golden Age crime fiction
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Top customer reviews
As ever, Gladys Mitchell is strong on location, dialogue and the bizarre - Dame Beatrice destined to ride donkeys, climb mountains, consult surprisingly affable brigands not to mention verminous troglodytes (they regarding their fleas as "little brothers"). Colourful characters, of course, abound - including remarkably self-possessed young Clement, who spies on all and alienates most, he ultimately with so much to say.
Key to everything is the island's main tourist attraction, that cave housing twenty-three corpses of ancient illustrious ones, mummified by lava when the volcano erupted. How come an extra body? Why?
That last question may for some readers prove a sticking point, they wondering why the murder victim was not more easily and permanently disposed of.
Much entertains, especially in the first half. Latter stages tend to get bogged down in much talking and various implausibilities. Somehow, though, this does not really seem to matter - the result still an enjoyable read, with the writer's mischievous underlying humour always appreciated.
Full of eccentric characters - Mrs Angel who seems to have secrets; Mr Porterhouse - a horticulturist with a worrying interest in poisonous plants and his own small island; the obnoxious child, Clement, who is being brought up without any boundaries. Then there is the gossiping staff of the hotel and the local bandits who are soft hearted really and the troglodytes who dwell in the local caves.
The cast of this intriguing mystery is enlivened by Laura Gavin, Beatrice Bradley's secretary and he small son who goes to the island to hold a watching brief when her employer returns to the UK to do some research. I really enjoyed this story and was left guessing what was really going on until the last few pages.
Eccentric, blunt to the point of rudeness, Dame Bradley takes all in her stride as she confronts murder, mystery, bandits and mad people left, right and centre. Funny, witty, sharp - you almost want to not like Dame Bradley, but you get the feeling if you met her you'd find her quite fascinating. Great stuff.
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