Another in the re-release of Colin Watson’s Flaxborough Chronicles cozy mystery series, featuring the ever-present Inspector Purbright as yet another mystery comes to the forefront. Please read on for my review of
Originally written in 1979, this installment in the Flaxborough Chronicles takes a more salacious turn as London journalist Clive Grail is determined to ferret out and reveal the local photography club as a purveyor of “blue” films and blackmail, hoping to get a byline on a huge story for the Sunday Herald. His snooping, however, enrages the local mayor, who challenges Clive to a duel for the honor of Flaxborough and its erstwhile residents.
But, the truth is a bit twisted: films of the town’s local productions, usually amateur operettas, have been doctored and marketed as porn for the Far East markets, earning the culprit some serious cash, while providing a London journalist with a potential expose, already ‘teased’ in the press. Of course, the town wants to protect its image, and a plot is conceived for the journalist to find a story, even one that is not as expected when…. You guessed it – a body turns up, bringing in the Inspector and his team.
What I’ve come to expect from Watson is an incredible facility with language and a keen sense of observation, all put to play with subtle, and not so, digs at the ‘established’ way (some may say stodgy and stereotypical) of doing things. No one is safe, as Purbright in discovering the murderer also discovers a motive that was both well-hidden and a surprise when all is said and done. Fully enjoyable as the twists, turns and a bit of hilarity ensue, making this another solid installment in the series. Easily read as a stand-alone story, it’s been a wonderful opportunity to see the growth and development of Purbright’s character and his ever-increasing discovery of the failures in humanity as a whole as he opines widely on people and their behavior as the series has progressed. A solid, if wholly different from the gore and ‘cutesy’ trends of cozies today, with language and attitudes that are clearly ‘of their day’ and not politically correct, these are fun, clever mysteries that bring a sense of the earlier classic authors of the genre.
Title: Blue Murder
Author: Colin Watson
Series: Flaxborough Chronicles #10
Also in this series: Coffin Scarcely Used, Bump in the Night, Hopjoy Was Here, Lonelyheart 4122, Charity Ends at Home, Plaster Sinners
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Historic Elements, Setting: Britain
Published by: Farrago
Published on: 28 June, 2018 (Re-Release)
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo
A peculiar pornographic movie has been wowing viewers in the Gulf.
One of the more scurrilous English Sunday papers gets a tip-off that this exotic blue production stars respected residents of the coastal town of Flaxborough, and a team led by the well-known investigative journalist Clive Grail arrives in a Rolls Royce.
Word of the looming scandal soon gets out and the town’s quixotic mayor, Alderman Charlie Hockley, spurred on by the loan of some antique duelling pistols, issues a challenge to Grail! DI Purbright’s stern warning falls on deaf ears, but before the duel can take place a far more sinister fatality occurs…
Witty and a little wicked, Colin Watson’s tales offer a mordantly entertaining cast of characters and laugh-out-loud wordplay.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.