Sunday, June 13, 2010
A SHILLING FOR CANDLES - Josephine Tey
From 1936 - When the body of a famous actress washes up on the coast of Kent it soon becomes apparent that it was murder and not the accident that it first appeared to be.
Called in to investigate is Inspector Grant of Scotland Yard who in the end manages to solve the mystery but not without some effort, maninly by others. He's not the most interesting Detective Inspector doing the rounds in murder mysteries but he was a work in progress when this was written, he reminds me of a very early Adam Dalglish in his mannerisims.
There are some great characters ,especially the Chief Constable's daughter -she is worth a story of her own.
The author knows how to amuse with a few laugh out loud moments and some great dialogue. Only a woman could have written about her sleuth walking up carpeted stairs trying to solve a murder and musing how difficult the stairs would be to clean.
Its not a great 'who dunnit' only because D.I Grant has very little to do with locating any of the evidence, but as it was only the authors second outing she can be forgiven. I have read that she got much better prior to her early death in 1952.
I love these ' golden age' of crime mysteries. They can be clever without graphic violence or the language that seems necessary in today's offerings.
I will read anything else I can find by Tey, but the trick will be finding them. This Pan edition I have is 44 years old.
They will be available from the U.S because the population allows a lot more work to stay in print.