An English Murder by Cyril Hare

This is yet another entry into my ongoing page for the #BritishCrimeClassicsChallenge. I am very sorry to note that I do not remember which blog I got this recommendation off of. It was Christmas list, but when I saw this author had multiple books available right in my local library, I had to check it out. If I do run into the blog/blog list, I will definitely link it up here.


The book looked deceptively slim but packed so much and so many different types of people into the narrative that the time it took me to complete it came as a surprise.

For someone like me who read books by British authors exclusively when growing up and into the mystery, humour genres, a soft corner exists for the mode of narration. In this, we have a small group of people (read suspects) who are thrown together quite forcefully by a dying man’s request to be together at Christmas. First, we have the Butler with his own emotions and his efforts to bring the strange foreign guest into the fold and give him hints on how their society conducts itself. This carries on till the foreigner is let loose on the remaining, unsuspecting guests and they have to deal with his brilliant observations into their ‘civilised’ society. Then we have the spurned Lady who has come to figure out why her relationship changed the way it did. Then we have two political participants, one who is an important man and another who is the wife of a man poised to be more important than he is at the moment.

The victim is not a nice person, and his exit from the story is not universally mourned. It is slow and takes over an almost twenty-four hour period and is filled with atmospheric details. I liked the writing and the tongue in cheek remarks about how the English society functioned at the time. I will be checking out more books by the author. The culprit did not come as much of a surprise, but since I was just following conversations, my mind did not even attempt to venture guesses about who it might be and therefore took it in my stride.


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