Narrator: John Telfer
Series: Sir Henry Merrivale #2
Published by Soundings on December 1, 2022 (first pubished 1934)
Genres: Vintage Mystery
Length: 8 hrs 37 mins
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James Bennett has been invited to stay at White Priory for Christmas among the retinue of the glamorous Hollywood actress Marcia Tait. Her producer, her lover, the playwright for her next hit and her agent are all here, soon to become so many suspects when Tait is found murdered on a cold December morning in the lakeside pavilion. Only the footprints of her discoverer disturb the snow which fell overnight – and which stopped just shortly after Marcia was last seen alive. How did the murderer get in and out of the pavilion without leaving a trace?
When Bennett's uncle, the cantankerous amateur sleuth Sir Henry Merrivale arrives from London to make sense of this impossible crime, the reader is treated to a feast of the author's trademark twists, beguiling false answers and one of the most ingenious solutions in the history of the mystery genre.
James Bennett, nephew of our semi-amateur sleuth Sir Henry Merrivale, has been invited to a house party in the White Priory, home to the brothers, John and Maurice Bohun. The star guest is Marcia Tait, a glamorous actress who has just walked out of a Hollywood contract so she can act in a play written by Maurice. Of course, Marcia ends up dead and everyone in the house is a suspect.
It’s almost a locked room mystery. With the building surrounded by snow, the killer’s footprints should have been clear, but the only prints are those left by John Bohun, who discovered the body. I do love a good house party in the snow murder but the characters in this one are just not quite as interesting as the blurb promises. And we only see Sir Henry at the beginning and near the end. He does solve the puzzle but I didn’t get much of a feel for him.
It was maybe a bit convoluted but stll clever enough. I can’t say I was surprised by the whodunnit, since they all had motives, and I didn’t really like any of them.