Another re-release in the Flaxborough Chronicles series from Colin Watson, this one first published in 1981. Please read on for my review of
Forty years have passed from the first release of this story, yet it holds a timeless quality that harkens back to simpler days and times, fitting quite nicely into the mysteries favored by fans of classic British authors. Colin Watson’s facility with words combine with his sharp observations and wit and bring a story that is rich in character, twists and cleverness In this story, our intrepid DI Purbright is brought into a case due to his Detective Sergeant Love’s interest in a crudely constructed plaster bas-relief of a little country cottage, and his attack from behind when inspecting the trinket.
The trinket leads the investigation into the Twilight Close Home for the Elderly, and fingerprints on the doorknob that so aptly disabled DS Love lead to a well-known to authorities person of interest, and his death brings us Inspector Bradley from London to join in the mystery. Add to the mix of people and problems, the local gentry, the aging Moldham family and their solicitor, one “Rich Dick” Loughborough, all seeming to stall enquiries and a more than uptight Chief Constable Chubb, afraid of the upset caused the gentry, and the multitude of threads of inquiry, pointed observations and a few sharply delivered laugh out loud moments are a highlight here.
Characters come and go, full of subtleties (and some outright caricature-portrayals) with their own issues, opportunities and motives that lead our detectives on a merry set of enquiries, where everyone seems to hold one or more reasons to stall or steer the investigation into yet another direction. A bit of an us v them story, especially with Chubb and the Moldham’s as the clear adversaries in the detectives’ search for the truth, the story is classic Watson: twists, observations, sly asides and multiple threads and leads all coming together to form a clear picture of a murder – motivations included, as you enjoy every step of the unraveling.
Title: Plaster Sinners
Series: Flaxborough Chronicles #11
Also in this series: Coffin Scarcely Used, Bump in the Night, Hopjoy Was Here, Lonelyheart 4122, Charity Ends at Home
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Historic Elements, Setting: Britain
Published by: Farrago
Published on: 12 July, 2018 (Re-Release)
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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Sergeant Love is a sucker for a picturesque country cottage.
But he finds himself quite literally knocked out by the little bas-relief plaster cottage that’s on display at Flaxborough’s antiques auction. This pretty but rather crudely painted trinket mysteriously sells for hundreds of pounds having sparked a heated bidding war, while the Sergeant gets floored by a would-be cottage thief.
So DI Purbright, teamed up with a world-weary brother officer down from London, must dig deep into the dubious past of the local gentry, the laconic Moldhams, in their crumbling stately pile, to find out how the little plaster picture leads to a tale of heirlooms and murder.
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.