Top critical review
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on 17 March 2012
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.)