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Let’s enjoy a cosy (mystery) winter!

DEATH FROM HIGH PLACES (Benedict Brown) Lord Edgington of Cranley Hall has some living to do! The next item on his bucket list is a nice, serene balloon ride, but when a man falls to his death, the retired detective suspects foul play.

(Goodreads description)

Lord Edgington of Cranley Hall has some living to do!

The next item on his bucket list is a nice, serene balloon ride, but when a man falls to his death, the retired detective suspects foul play. With the help of his hapless grandson, he must find the killer before time runs out.

I adore this pair! A retired Scotland Yard inspector, who lived his last ten year like an hermit after the death of his beloved wife and who was awakened to life by his teenage nephew Christopher. Quite an unlikely pair. Enthusiastic and full of life the grandfather, tame and cautious the newphew – I simply loved them.

The mystery is ‘easy’ but very well-thought out, based on human nature more than on mechanics. The whole story is based on Lord Edgington’s desire to solve the murder happened in his very house before the police arrives, which leave to him only a couple of hours. In this very short time and pressed by the imminent arrival, Lord Edginggton may only count on his understanding of human nature and on solving the puzzle of the different witnesses.

Really clever, and realistic. I totally loved it.

Excerpt

Just then, we heard a car rumbling along the lane beside the meadow and Todd pulled to a halt. “We saw something fall from the balloon,” he shouted over as he jumped from the Morris van which the gardeners normally used to carry equipment. “Miss Evangeline is going out of her mind with worry. She says that she never saw Simon’s parachute.”

In the calm, emotionless voice he always used to break bad news, my grandfather said, “Yes, I’m afraid he’s dead.” He glanced one more at the victim, then nodded to himself as if to confirm what he’d been thinking. “You’ll need to stay here, Todd. You can flag down the police when they arrive and I’ll return to the house with Christopher. I’d like to talk to any witnesses before the police arrives.”

“Very good, Milord.” Todd bowed his head and stepped aside to leave the path to the van clear.

As we walked over to the vehicle, I could see that former Superintendent Edgington was away with his thoughts. He barely looked at me as he waved an absentminded hand through the air.

“Chrissy, you’ll drive, won’t you? I really need to think this over.”

Now it was my turn to deliver some bad news. “I don’t know how to and, before you suggest otherwise, this is not the moment to learn.”


MYSTERY AT THE DARBY (Ann Sutton) When her father's prize racehorse stumbles through the end of the prestigious Epsom Derby, Lord Dorchester suspects sabotage and Dorothea, Dodo to her friends, offers to help her father.

(Goodreads description)

Agatha Christie meets Miss Fisher

The Right Honorable Dorothea Dorchester has a nose for fashion…and crime. When her father’s prize racehorse stumbles through the end of the prestigious Epsom Derby, Lord Dorchester suspects sabotage and Dorothea, Dodo to her friends, offers to help her father. Her good looks and charm enable her to question suspects without ruffling feathers and her quick brain, coupled with a dose of luck, help her track down the culprit.

This charming introduction to Dodo tells the story behind the story as we witness her at work in one of her very first cases.

This is a very short, very light read, a cosy mystery without a murder. It is set in the world of horse racing, which is always fascinating.

It is a young adult read and it shows. Some ideas I found hard to believe, like the two upper-class girls going alone and in disguise in one of the most dangerous parts of the city. But this goes with the genre, I suppose, so I won’t complain.

A quick, fun read.

Excerpt

At her father’s cry, Dorothea swung her lenses over to the track to see the cause of his distress. She knew his sights were set on his champion horse, Arabian.

At last, her sight captured the beloved horse, who was clearly struggling to keep up with the pack. Though she may not be enthralled by the racing, she did love her horses. Anxiety shot through her as she saw sweat streaming down his glossy, auburn coat, foam spraying from his mouth.

Her stomach dropped. “What’s wrong with him, Daddy?”

“I have no idea, Dodo!” he shouted, his cheeks ruddy, his prominent brow furrowed. “But I intend to find out!”


FRANCE 1918 (Karen Baugh Menuhin) A story of Lennox and Greggs in the last months of the Great War and the events that shaped Lennox's life when the war ended.

(Goodreades description)

This is a prequel to the Heathcliff Lennox series. A story of Lennox and Greggs in the last months of the Great War and the events that shaped Lennox’s life when the war ended. 

This is some sort of introduction to a much longer cosy mystery series, and in a way I think it betrays its introductory nature.

Yes, there is a murder. Yes there is adventure. But most of all we learn about the two main characters, Heathcliff Lennox and Greggs, his batman and one day his butler. The cosy mystery series is set in the 1920s, but this is a prequel set during the Great World, so quite a different situation form the series proper.

I liked the setting a lot, even if the story is more of a long vignette than a true story. Still, I had the opportunity to meet two interesting characters. Included, is also the first chapters of Lennox’s first mystery, which gives a sense of the mystery series. Very very different from this short story, but equally intriguing.

Excerpt

I can’t say I was keen on the plan. ‘We’ll wait until dark.’

‘Non, this Colonel is important, they will be making the search for him, they also search for you.’ She’d produced a map drawn on a tea cloth. It had been in her undergarments. ‘See, this is here.’

We peered at the hand drawn map; it wasn’t to any sort of scale. ‘Where is here?’

‘Near Montsec, east of Saint-Mihiel.’

‘Ah,’ I muttered, I’d wondered where we were. The dogfight had forced us over enemy lines as I’d attempted to evade the Albatross, but I’d lost sense of direction during the protracted crash.

‘The St Mihiel salient is in enemy territory, sir,’ by butler informed me.

‘Yes, Greggs I know.’ I studied the map. We were within a promontory of the German lines. It was probably only twenty miles or so from the front, but the place would be teaming  with soldiers and if they were searching for their dead Colonel, it would make our escape a great deal more fraught.

‘We go, please.’ She gave an uncertain smile.

I gazed down at her. ‘No, not you.’

‘I’ll take the map, miss,’ Greggs tugged it gently from her hands.

‘I come.’ She was insistent. ‘I am guiding you.’


Three quick cosy mysteries that will warm your winter night read. All of them set in the 1920s. All of them with unusual protagonists.

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