Another in the Flaxborough Chronicles series from Colin Watson, now available in re-release. Please read on for my review of
You won’t get much more ‘British’ in the feel of these books, and this one makes a place for itself in a seemingly straight-line path to the suspect. Originally published in 1967, there is a very definite sense of the time in some outmoded beliefs and customs, but this doesn’t lessen the enjoyment one gets from Watson’s clever use of language and wordplay to illustrate and develop the story, from characters to sly asides, the humor and sharply presented imagery engages and delights. Far from being only a story from Purbright and Love, a new character is introduced in the form of Miss Lucilla Teatime.
Arthur Spain is worried about his sister-in-law’s silence, moreso when he discovers her doorstep holding newspapers and bottles of curdled milk. He’s on to contact Purbright, now in the middle of another case involving yet another well-to-do 40-something single woman. In the search, Purbright has discovered that both women have had meetings with Handclasp House, a local dating agency owned and managed by the Staunches. (How British can you get?)
In the midst of their questions at Handclasp House, Purbright is introduced to Miss Teatime, a potential client of the Staunches services, and clearly a woman with plenty of secrets to hide. Lucilla is actually an invaluable asset in this investigation with her own ever-changing intentions that are never quite clearly defined, and Purbright’s determination to keep this latest woman safe from the dangers that lurk around the women on the Handclasp House’s roster.
Clearly, although Watson isn’t above making fun of the agency and some rather unusual matches, the empathy for those looking for love is never far from the reader’s awareness, and with Lucilla being particularly comical in her oft-scattered approach, there’s clearly a keen intelligence hidden there, behind her appearance. Soon Purbright is relying on information provided by Lucilla in combination with his own keen puzzling of clues, sharp observations and a few red herrings thrown in to keep readers (and he) guessing. A reveal that was surprising in the solution and the path to get there – a truly clever mystery that will have even the most casual of readers delighted.
Title: Lonelyheart 4122
Author: Colin Watson
Series: Flaxborough Chronicles #4
Also in this series: Coffin Scarcely Used, Bump in the Night, Hopjoy Was Here, Charity Ends at Home, Plaster Sinners
Genre: Contemporary Cozy Mystery, Historic Elements, Setting: Britain
Published by: Farrago
Published on: 5 April, 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo
Whatever can have happened to Lil?
Flaxborough butcher Arthur Spain is worried that his sister-in-law hasn’t been in touch lately, so he pays her a visit. But Lil’s not at home, and by her porch door are a dozen bottles of curdling milk… Alarmed, he calls in the local police, D.I. Purbright and his ever-reliable Sergeant Sid Love.
It transpires Lilian Bannister is the second middle-aged woman in the town to mysteriously vanish, and the link is traced to a local lonely hearts agency called Handclasp House. So when a vulnerable-seeming lady with the charming title of Lucy Teatime signs up for a romantic rendezvous, the two detectives try extra hard to look out for her. But Miss Teatime has a few surprises of her own up her dainty sleeve!
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.