The March Hare Murders by E. X. Ferrars (1949)

When David Obeney comes to his sister’s home to convalesce after mental breakdown he didn’t expect to come face-to-face “with the only man he ever wanted to murder.” And when murder does was he responsible for the murder

There was no real mystery to this one. It was more an attempt at psychological thriller without the thriller and too much of the psychological

The characters that Ferrars creates are not just a strange lot, they are bizarre. Every character is given a phobia, mania, or personality disorder. One would think that in such a group there would be at least one interesting or sympathetic individual. No, these characters flat, with personalities that are shallow and even the closest relationships are oddly superficial. Their actions are illogical, even inexplicable. When a fire is set do they call the fire department? No, they have a discussion. When a second murder occurs do they call the police? No, they have a discussion. 

The action—or should we say inaction—takes place over what appears to be several days, in which Ferrars tries to build tension with vignettes that fluctuate between blasé and overwrought, and falls flat in the attempt. The murders, when they do occur are easily solved, with murderers that are so obvious it’s sad. In the end, Ferrars’ attempt to keep the reader guessing by playing a game of hot potato with a mash-up of motives and suspects merely drags out the narrative to no purpose.

I’m actually surprised that I finished this book. I can’t explain why, except that it was so simple (not in a good way) that I read it in a matter of hours. I’m sure it’s obvious to you that this is one that I think you should pass on.

My Judgment – 2.5/5 (and as I said on Goodreads…that’s being generous)

Previous Rulings – Bev @ My Readers Block

Vintage Mystery Extravaganza –  2014 – Bingo: Read one book with an animal in the title

Calendar of Crime Reading Challenge – March #1: Month in the title

4 thoughts on “The March Hare Murders by E. X. Ferrars (1949)

  1. Thanks for the warning! It is one of her earlier titles so I would like to think that she was honing her writing skills. I think all the titles I have read by her are later than this one.
    Anthony Gilbert is writer who springs to mind, as I really can’t start her earliest work – characterisation and pacing are dire in The Courtier, but as soon as she creates Arthur Crook her writing seems to rapidly improve and some of my favourite GAD reads come from her Crook series.

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