I wonder if there are many people who, like me feel actual physical unease after reading or spending time they do not have on a book that was not meant for them. I have had a rough couple of days. I succumbed to the online praise of A Court of Thorn and Roses(to name one of many) which was unexpectedly not my cup of tea. So much so, that I have neither rated it (since it was a DNF-goodreads needs to come up with that option too!) nor plan to fully review it here, this was not an isolated case this past week. This book that I am about to review is the first I have finished in a while, with my restlessness not letting me finish anything in one go (hence the additional sadness at the time I spent trying to read that other book). I even lost a follower or two when I was not looking (since I do not have enough to spare). For my own satisfaction I needed to make this, the next post slightly more important.
I am a big fan of mysteries, always have been. It takes a special skill to reveal enough to surprise you but not completely stun you. The latter situation does not give you the same satisfaction of the former. This book was a pleasant surprise. I had not heard of the author before ( another woman having to use a name that will not point out the fact that she is one) but she has a very vivid skill in terms of setting the ambience. We are in rural England at the close of the Second World War. Though I have never been to Devon, the description of this part of the country, seemingly isolated from the horrors of the war (though almost everyone has a personal investment in terms of the troops), was very calming. We are introduced to the people in the small circle we are to be concerned with broad flowing descriptions. That, along with the conversations that we are privileged to hear, gives us a very intricate picture. The author does not take sides (at least not fully) while simultaneously showing us the inherent prejudices of the local people. Finally, coming to the case at hand. Nick Vaughn, local farmer transplant has won the heart and admiration of the local community unlike the London crowd who seem to just dig their way deeper away from the esteem of their neighbours. But it is Vaughn who is found dead in his burnt house. When there are a few pertinent questions raised, Scotland Yard dispatches Detective Macdonald and he starts to talk to everyone. It is not a fast-moving plot, neither is the case convoluted. If you read this book, it will be for the overall experience. I have to now see where I can get my hands on the other books of the series(This is supposedly the twenty-sixth!).
I am glad that the Poisoned Pen Press publishers are reprinting so many of these old books and giving people like me a chance to discover something new in the older authors. I got access to this book via NetGalley.
P.S: I forgot to mention that this book was initially published in 1946 and a new edition will be published in June