Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Septimus Finch has been invited by his doctor friend, Adam Braithwaite, to spend some time recuperating from a gunshot wound to the stomach, sustained while on duty as a detective inspector for Scotland Yard, at Braithwaite's home by the sea. It is assumed that Finch will get plenty of rest and relaxation while he recovers from his injury and subsequent surgery. This is not Finch's idea of an ideal way to spend his time since he's all about the challenge and fun of solving crimes and unraveling murder mysteries. But he does go off with Adam for a few weeks.
The Bonner family lives next door to Braithwaite in a Gothic Victorian mansion. They are having a gathering to celebrate Aunt Agatha and Uncle Lionel's 75th birthday. On the eve of the to-do, Aunt Agatha suffers a stroke after receiving some shocking news which she is unable to fully communicate to her brother. The next day Aunt Agatha is murdered in her bed, Braithwaite is called in to deal with details, and Finch, as his house guest tags along. When it becomes known that Finch is a detective inspector for Scotland Yard, he is included in the case's investigation.
Margaret Erskine has written a tightly crafted murder mystery with a very likable investigator and a cast of characters who are all eccentric, but who are also interesting, sympathetic, or so eccentric they're very funny. While I may have solved the mystery in my head before I reached the end of the book, in no way did I begin to touch the crux at the bottom of the whole plot. There were enough twists and turns to grab my interest and hold onto it throughout the whole book.
I like cosy mysteries and I would recommend this one to those who share that preference as well as an enjoyment of British mysteries. I will be looking for more of Margaret Erskine's work.
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