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3.5 out of 5 stars
8
3.5 out of 5 stars
The Twenty-Third Man (Mrs Bradley)
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 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.
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VINE VOICEon 19 April 2012
Love her or hate her, Gladys Mitchell is a one of a kind writer. While she is of the same era as Christie, Sayers, Marsh et al, she stands apart from them in the manner of her story construction and writing. There is often a lengthy exposition (which occasionally does not appear to be that), a crime and a leisurely period of detection. Characterization is important and the relationships involved. Not for the "Great Gladys" the constant reminder of the little grey cells, but Mrs (later Dame) Bradley uses them-- and if you wish to see what this formidable lady looked like just turn to a photograph of the author. Quirky, yes, but always enjoyable
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on 20 October 2012
I always look forward to starting a new Mrs Bradley and then wonder why - this one is no different; I really should stop buying them but I just know that I will find one that I really love one day. Gladys Mitchell promises a lot and then doesn't deliver. Sometimes I get the feeling that she didn't ever go back and change anything - non sequiturs are dealt with by a convoluted 'excuse' - a bit more rigorous copy editing may have been a better plan. So, in short, this is okay, it's a Mrs Bradley, she solves the case. That's it.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 29 October 2011
Dame Beatrice Bradley is taking an extended holiday on the island of Hombres Muertos - the Island of Dead Men. One of her first expeditions is to a cave which contains the mummified bodies of twenty three kings. Except that one of the kings appears to be taller than the others and attracts Beatrice's attention. Put that together with a child's comment that there were twenty four kings not twenty three and the sudden disappearance of someone who has been on the island for a while and Beatrice is intrigued.

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.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 March 2013
This is another in the series of Mrs Bradley murder mysteries. I have read only one previous in the series, but it was definitely intriguing! This one was originally published in 1957. Dame Beatrice Lestrange Bradley, as she now is, is on holiday on the island of Hombres Muertos.

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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on 8 July 2013
Another good read by Gladys Mitchell. Recommend to anyone who enjoys books about femail dectives set in the late 20's early 30's
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on 13 February 2015
bit disappointed, thought I'd found an equal to Agatha Christie but to be honest it just doesnt quite hit the mark, will stick to Christie
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on 26 August 2013
I've only got to page 27 and it's so boring and unrealistic that I'm going to have to force my way through the rest. It is utterly improbable, with characters racing into the scene telling everyone left and right they've been in prison for murder and other equally strange bursts of confidence without having built up the character's personality.

I love Agatha Christie, Sayers, Heyer, and that type of mystery author...Can't think how anyone would like Mitchell...
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