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on 10 January 2012
This enjoyable and cleverly devised Mrs Bradley caper begins at a Sherlock Holmes-themed party. To get the most enjoyment it's useful to have a knowledge of the Holmes stories, otherwise mentions of Irene Adler and Copper Beeches won't mean quite so much. Gladys Mitchell herself was clearly a fan. The Holmes references come thick and fast in the first part of the book but dry up a little later on as Mrs Croc and Laura investigate the murder (which doesn't take place at the party). It's a shame there aren't more of these Holmes references as it's an interesting and entertaining motif for a detective novel. Mrs Bradley sees all as always and picks the murderer out of the typically madcap motley crew of characters. The descriptive writing which Miss Mitchell excelled at is less prevalent here, with the local landscape shrouded in fog for much of the action, but no matter, this is a very enjoyable read.
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Amidst a pea-souper, a Sherlock Holmes themed party - complete with unscheduled appearance of the Hound of the Baskervilles. As ever, hidden agendas and sinister undercurrents abound. Is the life of host Sir Bohun Chantrey in danger, or has he himself cunning plans to dispose of a guest? (After all, there is a history of mental disorder and he HAS come as Moriarty.)

With Mrs. Bradley around, there is never doubt that all will be sorted. This novel, though, lacks sparkle and seems to drag its feet a bit. It also relies too much on creaking contrivances (the farm, the disused railway station, etc.) to advance the plot. Somebody IS killed eventually, but the circumstances do not really convince.

Every Gladys Mitchell novel provides some enjoyment, but this is perhaps not one of her best.

(Out of interest, when did DI Gavin's name change from David to Robert? If it happened here, this could be an ingenious further nod to Holmes' creator, for Conan Doyle buffs claim he had problems with continuity.)
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Mrs Bradley is invited, along with her secretary, Laura, to a party with a Sherlock Holmes theme. The host Sir Bohun Chantrey - fears someone wants him dead and he asks Mrs Bradley to see if she can spot the potential killer.

The party takes place while there is a very thick fog and the orchestra who have been hired to play do not manage to locate the house until almost the end of the party. But it is not Sir Bohun who ends up dead and there are plenty of suspects who could have had means, motive and opportunity to kill the eventual victim.

As ever Mrs Bradley sees further through a brick wall than most, but Laura is not far behind her in observation and detection skills. I did not manage to work out who had done it or why - which to me is the sign of a good detective story. Of course when I look back on it I can see that all the clues were there. One good thing about this book is that it might well tempt the reader to read - or re-read the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Gladys Mitchell's Mrs Bradley books all have complex and intriguing plots with plenty of insight into behaviour and motivations. The characters are well drawn and believable and the dialogue and writing style are excellent. These are well written books which stand comparison with modern crime novels.
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on 8 January 2017
This is a book that I wouldn't recommend anyone reads unless they are a devoted Glady's Mitchell fan - it has a very thin story line that has a very tired (well used) feeling to it. I read this principally because I thought it may be entertaining in regards to Sherlock Holmes - it turned out that most of this allusion is about dressing up at a Sherlock Holmes fancy dress party as the host (Sir Bohun Chantrey) is a Sherlock Holmes buff. If you are a cosy crime reader this novel will just frustrate you - the novel isn't anything like the TV Series.
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on 9 March 2013
I honestly think these books were better a a TV series . One book was interesting, but the others I have read I found un-interesting, so mannered , so much of their period, that the TV series at least gave you loads of pretty frocks and scenery to look at, while cutting some of the explanations and dialogue.I don't think I want to read any more.
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on 19 July 2016
A very enjoyable read. A complex plot and the standard of writing is, as usual, excellent. Mrs Bradley is a wonderful sleuth and devoid of the minor irritants often present in the mannerisms and personalities of others.
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on 10 February 2013
I enjoy Gladys Mitchell's writing although her way with words requires careful perusing. Her conclusions are always twisted and clever. Another good one, on to the next
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on 3 February 2013
More of Gladys Mtichell's excellent stories. A worthy member of the Detection Club. Would like to see all of the Mrs Bradley stories in the Kkindle Store.
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on 13 September 2016
First class Murder Mystery. Highly recommended.
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on 21 September 2014
I am something of a fan of Gladys Mitchell but frankkly she wrote too many 'Mrs Bradley' tales, too quickly and this is not one for you unless you are keen to complete a collection.
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