Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The Murders Near Mapleton
Anthony Bathurst Mystery – Book IV
BY Brian Flynn

Dean Street Press
7 October 2019/ ASIN: B07XL51J4T
Mystery / Classic – Holiday: Christmas

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde 


Its Christmas Eve at Sir Eustace Vernon’s house and everybody is assembled around the table at dinner. Their host has been troubled of late, and when he announces that he has had some bad news and leaves, his guests go in search of him. He can’t be located, but his butler Purvis is dead and there is a sinister message in his pocket. Or rather her pocket as it seems that Purvis is actually a woman! Not long after Police Commissioner Sir Austin Kemble and Anthony Bathurst come upon a body on the train tracks near an abandoned car. This also has a message in its pocket, plus a red cracker…

…Or rather a bon-bon, because that was what people called crackers in 1929 when this book was written. One of the many enjoyable things about reading golden age mysteries is that it gives the reader a look in the past, a very enjoyable history lesson. Things that would probably be missing from a historical novel are present here, such as a village coffee stall and some unusual words and phrases. This is the fourth Brian Flynn mystery to be released in paperback and ebook format by Dean Street Press. Perhaps coming straight after his best work, The Mystery of the Peacock’s Eye (also reviewed on this site) makes it a tough act to follow, but there is a lot to enjoy here too. Expect a whole trawlerful of red herrings and a denouement I certainly didn’t see coming; Flynn excelled as a writer of complex, twisty plots. This is a spin on the classic Christmas house party and is full of surprises, although realism is not a feature, to put it mildly. Bathurst is still an enigma we know nothing about and most (if not all) the characters are stock creations but that is a feature of many puzzle whodunits from this period. It doesn’t stand in the way of a good plot and I was eagerly turning the pages to see what happened next. One to read during the festive season for best results!

UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in The Bead Magazine, Making Jewellery and
Reviewed 2020