Top positive review
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Enjoyable light reading
on 21 December 2014
Clara Benson wrote her series of books about lady detective Angela Marchmont during the Golden Age of the cosy detective novel, the 1920s. She was an Englishwoman writing her gentle,upper-crust stories purely for her own amusement. Her family knew nothing about them until many years after Benson's death in 1965, when they came upon the manuscripts.
This is as yet the only one that I have read and I enjoyed it, although no-one could describe the plot as an original one. The body of an elderly aristocrat is found in his locked study and his weekend house guests appear to harbour a murderer among them. It was pretty obvious to me who the murderer was likely to be (and I always try not to guess, since for me it spoils the pleasure of the story). The narrator is the naive and gentlemanly Charles, who is pretty slow to see the implications of the events he witnesses. Among the house guests, fortunately, is Angela Marchmont, whose assessment of events is much more shrewd..
The story is very well-written and I enjoyed the assortment of aristocratic characters. Although the identity of the murderer came as no surprise, the means by which that person was exposed was unexpected and quite intriguing. A number of the characters turn out to have secrets with a bearing on the plot and the ending is quite satisfying.
I look forward to reading the next book in the series and to discovering whether Clara Benson was able to develop her talent for writing and create more complex plots.