The Stately Home Murder by Catherine Aird

The Stately Home Murder by Catherine Aird Book flap and genealogy page mystery and suspense book recommendation

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Ahhh, yes…The Stately Home Murder. I delight in this book; however, I’m afraid a little interjection is necessary here (though I regret the delay), because this book is Book Three in a series.  If you are:

  1. A methodical person
  2. A person who loves mysteries and will probably read all the books in this series
  3. One who would like to be introduced to the recurring characters in this series at the beginning, so as not to miss out on their development–

I refer you now to The Calleshire Chronicles.  Book One is The Religious Body (1966), Book two is Henrietta Who  (1968).  You will not regret reading them.  Just do not fail to read this one!  Everyone else carry on with number three. 

Aside now aside, my first observation is that this book is a lot of fun!  That’s sufficient recommendation in itself, but I’ll add to it.  The writing is adept and smooth, the characterizations lively, and it’s witty.  It’s quite witty.  It is witty throughout! I could add, that it’s witty.

The set up for the finding of a dead body is genuinely fantastic.  The reactions to the discovery of the body are equally so!  You will not forget Mrs. Fisher, or her offspring.  Then there are the internal musings of Detective Inspector Sloan as he interacts with his boss, his colleague, and a myriad of suspects.  He’d like to have a sounding board for his deductions and inductions, but what he has is bristly Superintendent Leeyes and the—lets say redoubtable– Constable Crosby, instead.  And Dr. Dabbe, kind of.  Dr. Dabbe‘s findings are the final word.  Even if he does wield a pun. 

There are some especially intriguing conundrums in this book, as well.  One or two pertain specifically to-ahem-the disposition of the dead body.  That’s all I can say without getting carried away and being a spoiler.  You may also wish, as DI Sloan does in this book, that you had a dictionary on hand.  If you like to look in dictionaries, have one handy.

Of interest to those who are interested in such things, I note here that this book was printed initially under another name, The Complete Steel.  I discovered this because I had discovered this book as an e-book originally.  I wanted to own a copy, but it didn’t seem to be available in a new printing, so I went out in search of a used one. Someone had The Complete Steel on offer in a paperback that allegedly had been signed by the author.  The inside cover indicates there was a printing in 1969, 1973, and 1987.  My copy is the 1987 version. Also on offering was a hardcover version of the book titled under the name I was searching for, The Stately Home Murder.  It’s in awesome condition, with a print date of 1970. What to do? Yeah, I bought that, too.  Additional used copies were available, each with its’ own admirable qualities, but my budget, storage concerns and the absurdity of owning the same book more than three times helped me close my search. 

I hope you have fun reading this book, and perhaps more of this series.

Sincerely,

This Abibliophobe