Saturday, 13 October 2018

The Santa Kaus Murder - Mavis Doreil Hay

Golden Age of Crime....... you either love it or hate it.  Lots of middle class or upper class people called Buntie, or Dicky, or Mumsie are usually involved.   A Murder.  A plodding detective and then Voila!  the murderer is revealed!    If this sounds like Agatha Christie, or several other 1930s publications you have come across, you'd be right.  It does follow a pattern.  But this particular novel has a distinctly different way of telling it's tale.

There has been a murder - "up at the House".  Sir Osmond Melbury - family patriach though not well loved, has been shot in the head on Christmas day.  Colonel Halstock, Chief Constable of the county is called.  Everyone who was there at the time is placed under house arrest.

Several persons involved are asked to write their own versions of the day before the murder i.e. Christmas Eve.  Those documents form the first five chapters of the book, until Halstock takes over the rest.  And as he works the case, you will have to see if you can beat him at his own game - I had two suspects, and one of them turned out to indeed be the murderer.   At the front of the book is a map of the downstairs area of Flaxmere, the family seat, and there is also a list of characters and their relationshp to the others.   Cripes!  what fun!

As the story is set over Christmas, and you may just be drawing up your list of presents to be to be early and prepared, there may be a reader on your list who has not come across this title from the British Library Crime Classics.  You just may want to read it yourself.

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