A Christmas Party by Georgette Heyer

A Christmas Party by Georgette Heyer

A British country house Christmas party may be my favorite setting for a murder. Joseph and his wife, Maud, live at Nathaniel's grand home. Joseph has organized a Christmas party, even though he seems to be the only one in a festive mood. Like any good Christmas party, we've got a ill-matched bunch of relatives, significant others, a family friend, and a business partner. Nathaniel is a difficult and argumentative man, who has fights with just about everyone at the house. When he is killed, there are a plethora of suspects and plenty of motives, mostly revolving around who inherits Nathanial’s fortune. The murder obviously puts a damper on the Christmas celebrations. This was a good read, clever and funny. We've got a locked room mystery that makes for a good puzzle for the investigator. I adored Maud, placid, unruffled, unwilling to play hostess. She just wants to find her missing book. And how can you not enjoy a mystery that...
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An English Murder by Cyril Hare

An English Murder by Cyril Hare

An English Murder is a typical, country house, murder mystery common in Golden Age mysteries, with a slightly different feel. Although the set-up is one of my favorites – a group of guests snowed in at a country house over the holidays – the modern world is beginning to impinge. Domestic staff is harder to get hold of and Briggs, the butler, valiantly does his best to keep up standards with far less help than he previously had. Meanwhile, the house is suffering from a lack of staff and money. It looks impressive, but maintenance is expensive and the present Lord Warbeck’s son, Robert, is unlikely to be able to afford his inheritance. Lord Warbeck is old, and ill, and wants to have his family with him at Christmas. His guests include his son, Robert, who is the President of the League of Liberty and Justice, a an antisemitic and anti-socialist organization; Sir Julius Warbeck, Chancellor of the Exchequer; Mrs. Carstairs,...
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Murder in Black Tie by Sara Rosett

Murder in Black Tie by Sara Rosett

Olive Belgrave is about to be homeless as her landlady is getting married and selling the boardinghouse. She packs up and heads back to Nether Woodsmoor to visit her family at Parkview Manor. Aunt Caroline and cousin Gwen are hosting a house party for a small group of friends and family, including Olive's father and his wife Sonia. Olive is happy to see her cousin Peter recovering from the trauma of the war but he isn't himself yet and when a guest is murdered, Peter becomes the number one suspect. Clearly Olive need to clear Peter's name. This is a 1920s country house party murder mystery chock full of period details, especially fashion. The history of Parkview being used as a hospital during the war and how the characters were involved with that was interesting. I like the limited cast in house party mysteries. Our murder victim, Vincent Payne, is a businessman in the antique map business, maybe not wholly...
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The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne

The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne

It's a shame Milne only wrote one mystery. The Red House Mystery is clever and funny and charming. From the dedication: Our amateur sleuth is Antony Gillingham. He stops at The Red House to visit his friend, Bill Beverly, but as he gets there he finds a frantic man banging on the door of a locked room, trying to get in. Antony and the man run to the back of the house and break in the window, finding a dead man, shot. The man who was breaking into the room was Mr. Cayley, cousin and assistant to Mark Ablett, owner of The Red House. The dead man is Mark's brother, Robert, newly arrived from Australia. Mark himself is missing. Antony is an outsider at The Red House, but allowed free reign that the detectives don't have. The mystery is well-done, the clues make sense. I knew who the killer was, but not the hows and whys until the end. The characters are...
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The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham

The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham

I knew going in that The Crime at Black Dudley is not the best of Allingham's Albert Campion series, but it's the first even if he is only a minor character, and if you can start a series at the beginning, why not? Allingham, along with Christie, Sayers, and Marsh, is one of the "Queens of Crime," the only one I hadn't read. I love Christie and Marsh, couldn't care less about Sayers, and am undecided on Allingham. We've got a country house party with an odd assortment of guests. And then somebody's killed, but then it kind of runs amok and the younger set of guests, in their 20's give or take, are held hostage by a batch of criminals, and they need to escape before they end up dead. I'm not a big fan of the international gang type of mysteries. I want smaller mysteries if that makes sense, not ones that could have CONSEQUENCES. It all...
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Final Curtain by Ngaio Marsh

Final Curtain by Ngaio Marsh

The Final Curtain has a lot of similarities to many of Marsh's other mysteries. We've got a country house party. Inspector Alleyn doesn't show up until about halfway through. We've got a young couple who are meant to be together but have difficulties in the way. We've got a tie to both art and the theater. But Marsh winds these bits together with a pretty terrible family and comes up with an enjoyable mystery that had me stumped. WW 2 is over and Agatha Troy is waiting for her husband, Inspector Alleyn to return from New Zealand. To pass the last couple of weeks, she accepts a commission that takes her to Ancreton Manor to paint a portrait of Sir Henry Ancred, a famous Shakespearean actor in his Macbeth costume. The first half-ish of the book shows us the Ancred family from Troy's point of view and they are overall a melodramatic, argumentative bunch, not people to enjoy spending...
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