Young, flighty Lady Lupin Lorrimer Hastings is the newlywed bride of Andrew Hastings, vicar of St Mark’s Church in Glanville. Lupin soon finds that the life of a vicar’s wife is not as quiet as she was led to believe. She may be overwhelmed when it comes to Girl Guides and the Mother’s Union, but when the church curate is murdered—well, she’s still a bit out-of-her-depth. But when her friend Diane Lloyd is suspected, Lupin recruits her houseguests and parishioners as amateur detectives to solve the murder. For Lupin the biggest problem is all the suspects are such very nice people, not the sorts who would ever think of committing murder, and if they did, they had to have a good reason for it.
If you are looking for a great mystery—go elsewhere. I’m not saying there isn’t a mystery here, just that it’s peripheral to the plot of the delightfully flighty Lupin, navigating life as a vicar’s wife in a small village. The mystery is not one that will challenge the regular mystery reader—although it’s solution does depend on the reader catching a snippet of conversation and correlating it to an obscure clue later on. Lupin’s contributions to the investigation are mostly inadvertent, and based on the most dizzying logic imaginable.
‘Oh, dear,’ cried Lupin. ‘Do they think it was us? I am sure that nice Inspector Poolton doesn’t. I’ve explained the whole thing to him and he quite understood. After all, if it was the fish, Mr. Young wouldn’t have been the only one. In fact, he ate less than anyone, and after all it would have been more the fishmonger’s fault than ours. Not that I want to get anyone into trouble, and he is really a very nice man apart from his fish…’”
I read this ages ago (okay, not really, but 2001 seems like ages) when it was reprinted by Rue Morgue. This is just great fun. A lightweight read that will entertain and delight. I highly recommend it, as well as the subsequent books in the series.
My Judgment – 4/5
Prior Rulings – Mystery*File
Vintage Mystery Extravaganza – Vintage Themes 2015 – Bingo: TBR first lines
Calendar of Crime Reading Challenge – December #5: Other December Holiday (Boxing Day)