Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Mad About The Boy?
A Jack Haldean Murder Mystery Book II

by Dolores Gordon-Smith

      Dolores Gordon-Smith made her literary debut last year with A Fete Worse Than Death (also reviewed on this site), a book that I chose as one of my Crime Thru Time Top Ten historical whodunits. Now debonair sleuth-about-town Jack Haldean is back with a second helping of murder and mystery as he celebrates the silver wedding of his aunt and uncle at their country house, Hesperus. Jackís cousin Isabelle is trying to decide between the sympathetic but shell-shocked Arthur and the glamorous, reckless Malcolm. They both love her, but she is not sure which man she would prefer to marry. Soon there is a rather more pressing problem to think about when a guest commits suicide - or did he? Another death soon afterwards would suggest not, but surely the guilty man must be somebody else?

I love classic era mysteries with Bright Young Things in grand country houses, and this is a good one with plenty going on at all times. The author has researched the period thoroughly, and the shadow of the Great War hangs over everything, as it should do for historical accuracy. Jack is a sympathetic sleuth with a living to earn and a genuine affection for his friends but a sensibly impartial view when he has a case to solve. As such, he makes a good protagonist who stands a little aside from the entanglements, which allows him to get on with finding whodunit as well as lifting the spirits of the story. There is romance in here as well as abundant action, and despite the anguished Arthur and war reminiscences this is still a cozy in the broadest sense of the term. Ignore the mention of "torture" on the flyleaf as there isnít any; this is just not that type of novel. Instead, sit back with a pot of tea, and enjoy a real classic era novel that will doubtlessly make my Top Ten again.

The Book

Constable (Constable and Robinson)
29 May 2008
1845296095 / 9781845296094
Historical Mystery / 1923 Sussex, England
More at US || UK
NOTE: US edition is Soho Constable

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2008
© 2008