I am ending April with this months BCCC. Here’s my take on a gem from the golden era of Crime Classics. On a side note I will be posting fewer posts in May as I have a humongous TBR pile I want to finish, so taking a slight backseat with blogging. But I will be very much around! Enjoy the review.
Twelve guests arrive to Bragley Court for a hunting weekend with Lord Aveling and his family. Among the guests are an actress, a journalist, an artist, and a mystery novelist. John Foss makes an unexpected thirteenth guest when he is injured at the train station and, with no where else to go, brought to the estate to recuperate. Laid up on the couch, John becomes an outside observer of the party. Soon events take a sinister turn when a painting is mutilated, a dog stabbed, and a man strangled. Death strikes more than one of the house guests, and the police are called. Detective Inspector Kendall’s skills are tested to the utmost as he tries to uncover the hidden past of everyone at Bragley Court.
This book has all that classic Agatha Christie Vibe going for it. Multiple Suspects and country house settings. But it has a completely different spin to it in the writers on way. This is an intriguing and well-written mystery. The author is very good at creating an atmosphere of suspense and violence seething under the surface. The characters are a fascinating variety. Added to these, by pure accident is John Foss, a young man whose injury leads him to be brought to Bragley Court – bringing the number of guests to an unlucky 13 (though not the last to arrive). Yet the bad luck is said to befall the thirteenth, in this case Mr Chater’s, a disreputable, oily fellow far too interested in the personal lives of the residents of Bragley Court and their guests. What could have been a stagnant variation on the country-house murder turns instead into a suspenseful murder mystery and a wonderful character study. There are plenty of clues and plenty of red herrings to keep the reader guessing and the ending is very well done indeed. Many of the guests harbour secrets, but are they relevant to the case? Find out in this next read of yours!
Pros: Suspense, Characters,
Cons: Language, pace
Bibliogyan Verdict: A surprising and entertaining read