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Friday, 29 January 2010

The Unfinished Clue

The Unfinished Clue by Georgette Heyer is one of her mystery titles - as one might expect from the title. Very Golden Age in feel, with its background of a country house party. The corpse is played by Sir Arthur Billington-Smith - an irascible retired army general married to Fay - who is a bit weak and wishy washy. However her tearful and nervy demeanour is quite clearly caused by her husband's constant criticism of her. By the time the murder is committed the reader would happily have done away with him too.

The guests - virtually all suspects - are Fay's sister, Dinah Fawcett, Sir Arthur's son by a former marriage, Geoffrey and his intended bride, Mexican dancer Lola, Sir Arthur's nephew, Francis, the Hallidays - a married couple and Stephen Guest, who is in love with Fay. There are also regular visitors to the house who are potential suspects. The local police force find the crime to be beyond their capabilities and send for Scotland Yard in the person of Inspector John Harding.

What follows is a fascinating mystery with excellent characters and plenty of red herrings. The solution is there when you look back on the story but it is not particularly obvious when you first read it. I enjoyed the relationship between Dinah Fawcett and the man from Scotland Yard which was well done as were the relationships between the various characters. A good light read with virtually no violence on the page.

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