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DEATH IN A HOT CLIMATE
on 6 April 2012
The Island of Hombres Muertos, Dame Beatrice (Mrs. Bradley that was) on holiday. At the hotel many staff and guests with secrets. All too soon the inevitable death to intrigue....
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.