Mini Reviews—Who Killed the Curate by Joan Coggins (1944)

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)

5 thoughts on “Mini Reviews—Who Killed the Curate by Joan Coggins (1944)

  1. Well this is certainly a roller coaster of a review! I can see how the mystery might be a bit weaker in comparison to the strengths of the characters. As the books progress in the series Lady Lupin’s ditzy manner reduces and I would say she does her best sleuthing in the final book.

  2. Definitely agree that she gets stronger in her detecting—and the mysteries better. I read the whole series all those years ago and am just now getting back to them. My Rue Morgues are some of the few things that have survived about 10 moves in the last 20 years 🤨

  3. I have heard such wonderful things about this series and am sorry that they are not easily available. It is sad that Rue Morgue publishing had to shut shop before the renewed interest in GAD.

    1. It’s a fun and entertaining series. If you get the chance to pick them up you should.
      And I do miss Rue Morgue. They were a definite factor in my interest in the genre.

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