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  • So.so

    As usual Ms Tey has written a rattling good story ... but what a very disappointing finish! It was as though she had run out of really credible finales and just HAD to close the darn thing somehow. A confession indeed!

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  • Classic Mystery from the Golden Age

    This book is the first one Josephine Tey wrote in her Inspector Alan Grant series. First published in 1929, it is a product of its time in some ways, and in other ways, it is timeless. This book takes place in England (mostly London) and in Scotland. The writing is fine although at first I was conscious of words wearing strange apparel. For example, if I recall, one gentleman was labelled as plenitudinous instead of simply calling him ‘stout’. There were a few other examples where older expressions were used instead of their more modern replacements and although context helped, at first I felt it got in the way of a jump start into the novel. Having said that, it didn’t take long to begin reading from the perspective of time and place that the novel was written in. I liked the character of Inspector Grant a lot. He is very good at finding the facts in a case, but he also listened to his instincts. (His chief called it a ‘flair’ when Inspector Grant sensed that something was not quite lining up. I had never come across that usage of the word as a substitute for intuition, but it made me smile.) As the title suggests, there is a man murdered in the queue for one of the last showings of a popular London play. There were several witnesses but it was difficult to pinpoint who the actual culprit might be. People weren’t really paying attention as they were mostly focused on being able to move far enough through the queue to obtain one of the “standing room only” spots. Eventually, Inspector Grant was able to target his man and there were several chases and misleading clues and/or near misses in the process of apprehending the murderer. And that is not all. Sometimes it’s more complicated than one person murdering another. I don’t want to spoil the reading experience for anyone so will not divulge any more of the plot. I will say that I enjoyed this book a lot, and I have a feeling that the further I go into the series, the more intriguing it will become. What amazes me the most from these older mystery series is how engaging they are – without DNA, without cell phones, without computers and all our other modern gadgets and forensics, somehow these early detectives manage to solve the crimes and justice prevails. I loved it!

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