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on 20 January 2017
This is quite an entertaining book but I am, perhaps unfortunately, always put off by writers writing a word such as documents as "dokkyments" or "lekkers" for lectures (no doubt what undergraduates did say but irritating to me. ) There are various other versions of ordinary words. However, an enjoyable book and I am now embarked upon The Santa Klaus Murder having enjoyed Death on the Cherwell. It seems these are the only three books Miss Hay wrote for moving to other things.
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on 21 June 2017
very impressed with lost writer Mavis Hay, also her Death on the chrerwell
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on 23 May 2017
good twist right at end
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on 10 May 2014
A refreshing glimpse back into a much more gentile time, but still maintaining a very reasonable plot line. Good manners and a very relaxed lifestyle seem to be the norm here: people being concerned about paying the extra penny for an extended Underground journey, for example! The interest in the characters maintaining their correct behaviour tended to rather distract me from the plot a little but I found that that just added interest and enjoyment for me. Not a "Classic" by any means, but buy a ticket and enjoy the ride.
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on 12 August 2015
Oh dear it's certainly not Agatha Christie or Dorothy L Sayers !
It was laboured, slow and poorly written.
The characters were wooden and very stereotyped.
The plot was quite ridiculous and it took an awful long time to get to the point.
I think it might have been better with a protagonist like a Marple or a Harriet Vane Even the characters names were silly and irritating.
I hadn't heard of the author and now I know why. One of the best things about the book is the cover which is beautifully illustrated . It was the display in a book shop that drew me in and made me look out for the book
Some authors are consigned to the remainder bin of history and this one really should have stayed there
Read Dorothy L Sayers or Agatha Christie they don't have to try to hard to be period
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Loved this step back into classic crime time where a host of Miss Marple wannabes are anxious to solve the murder of a fellow boarding house resident who was strangled with her little Terrier's leash.

It had been suggested the cantankerous Mrs Pongleton (that's one terrific name!) had fallen on the stairs of the Underground thus wrapping the lead around her neck. 1) The evidence would be it was very unlikely and 2) She'd left her dog at home so why had she taken the leash with her?

And so the mystery begins.

The characters are a varied bunch and all partial to a bit of armchair sleuthing, while one in particular dippy bloke is getting tangled up in his own alibi which appears to morphs as new evidence comes to light! Talk about when you're in a hole you should stop digging!

What I really admired was the absence of a meddling detective, as they usually tend to dominate proceedings and steal the entire show. As these boarding house sleuths are acquainted with each other through daily life, their relationships and quirky reasoning with one another is central to the progression of the case. It allowed me to get to know each one of them personally, while suspecting them too of course!

While I have never even heard of this author before her book landed on my TBR from a Twitter giveaway some time ago I was shocked to learn she'd only written three books in total. The quality of it would suggest she would have way more under her belt than that that.

So, all in all I really enjoyed the style of this one and would definitely like to catch up with this author's other work in the future.
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on 6 April 2014
I'm always on the lookout for Golden Age crime and this book was recommended by the best - DL Sayers

It isn't perhaps in Sayers' league and the plot wasn't as puzzling as Christie on top form; but the characters were engaging and the outcome satisfying. I'll certainly read others by this author and others in the British Library Crime Classics collection
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on 1 November 2016
I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press. This is a British Library Crime Classics novel.

If someone asked me whether or not they should read this book, I would say that it would be enjoyed more as an example of the early style of crime detection novels. If you like that old style of writing and crime solving, yes, absolutely you should read this book. I love to find and read these reprints of practically lost novels because it shows the bones and skeletons which writers who came after someone such as Mavis Doriel Hay built upon to get to where we are today in crime novels. This isn't the style of what is now classified as a cozy mystery, but it also isn't an example of grit and gore that you can find today. Some would call it stuffy, some would call it slow. I call it a fine example of the emerging craze for detective fiction.

The best way for me to describe this novel would be by using the word chaotic. There are a lot of characters in the novel, none of them is the single lead character. Everyone goes off in different directions evading the police, purposely telling lies and reconstructing their actions during the times involved in the murder to keep themselves out of trouble. There are three "courting" couples, very different, and yet precisely the same because they do everything in their power to muddy the waters to keep the police from finding out the truth. It can get a little confusing at times because so much hangs on a precise timetable of events but the author doesn't actually give you that precise timetable all at one time. The author also doesn't have anybody tell everything they know about what happened all at once. The standard response seemed to be, Well, they didn't ask me. By the way, there is a Diagram of Chief Places (map), a family tree and a diagram of the Belsize Park Underground Station which _finally_ answered my question about something that had been driving me nuts. It was shown at approximately the 17% mark on my electronic reading device. I don't know why I love those little hidden gems of maps and other such things tucked away in a novel like this, but love them I do!

Yes, this book is old fashioned in its writing techniques and language. Will you spot the murderer because the author "played fair" with the reader? Probably not because she didn't actually try to play fair. Are the police treated with disdain? Yes, for quite a way into the novel I didn't even know the name of the investigating officer. But, did I like the book? Absolutely.
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on 22 November 2014
A friend put me onto this author and being fond of Agatha Christie novels thought I'd give it a try especially as I am familiar with Belsize Park underground where it is set. I wasn't disappointed either though it is not quire in the same class as Agatha. It is fairly easy to guess who the culprit is before the end of the novel but it is a very good read.

There are two other novels in the series and the second (Death on the Cherwell) which I am currently reading is a great deal more 'mature' and more devious in plot.

If you enjoy period murder mystery novels and/or Agatha Christie well worth getting!
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on 19 September 2014
I can't understand the reviewers who find this boring! The story romps along and while various people become suspects although they are clearly innocent, there is a very satisfying 'baddie' whom you know must be guilty. The suspense lies in waiting for ages for him to be rumbled, but by the end several people are converging on him from different angles. The characters have entertainingly comical names like Pongleton and Plasher. The book is quite short and therefore easy to get through in a couple of evenings. The style is simple, clear and unpretentious. This book is well worth its place among the British Library's reprints. I withhold one star as it is quite simplistic compared with the crime fiction of more sophisticated contemporaries like Leo Bruce or Dorothy L Sayers.
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