Thursday, 6 March 2014

A Little Murder by Suzette A Hill

Suzette A Hill enlivens the whodunit genre with a quirky tale set in 1950s London, peppered with eccentric characters and witty dialogue. A Little Murder sets off when aging party girl Marcia Beasley is found dead in her home, naked and with a coal scuttle rammed on her head. Her sensible niece, Rosy Gilchrist is shocked but with bumbling police unable to make much headway, it looks like Rosy could be left to solve the crime.

It is not a task Rosy is keen to take up but in no time at all, characters from Marcia’s past want to talk to Rosy. Marcia’s ex-husband and a surprise visit from a wartime spy calling himself Dick Whittington bring to Rosy’s attention Marcia’s career as an undercover agent during World War 2. Her Mata-Hari exploits revealed plenty of enemy secrets but falling for one of her pillow-talkers resulted in the sabotage of an operation with terrible results. Could Marcia’s murderer still be harbouring a grudge? Add some missing incriminating documents and there are even more possibilities.

Against this tale of skulduggery are a myriad of colourful characters, all friends and acquaintances of Marcia and all, one way or another, with reasons for murder. While several are obviously hiding something, others can’t seem to stop talking, particularly Felix, a florist to royalty and his pal, the supercilious Cedric, who create plenty of lively banter.

It’s all very light, but the writing is brisk and good fun, and as the body count beings to rise, there’s enough tension to keep the avid whodunit reader interested. A second Rosy Gilchrist novel is in the pipeline.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue Link: A Little Murder

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