Sharing Books and Authors, with an emphasis on Mysteries.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
The Herring in the Library by L.C. Tyler
I wasn't familiar with L.C. Tyler's mystery series featuring third-rate mystery author Ethelred Tressider and his literary agent Elsie Thirkettle, although the first two books in the series had been nominated for Edgar Awards. But, the latest book, The Herring in The Library, is a funny treat for those who appreciate traditional British mysteries.
The book opens with Ethelred and Elsie playing a game of Cluedo (Clue). As Ethelred tells the story, it's obvious that Elsie cheats. It's also obvious she's the stronger character of the two, very opinionated. When they are invited to dinner at Muntham Court, the new home of Ethelred's friend, Sir Robert Muntham, it isn't long before the set-up reminds Elsie of Cluedo. She views it as a classic puzzle, with the wealthy man dead in a locked library, while his wife and assorted friends are in the house. At times, Ethelred tells the story since he's asked by Lady Muntham to investigate, and it's clear he's being led in the direction she wants him to go. When Elsie takes her turn as narrator, it's obvious that she thinks Lady Muntham is the culprit, and has set up the entire scenario.
The Herring in the Library has so many elements that are common to British mysteries, from the odd cast of characters, the eccentric sleuths, to the "locked" room. There's even the plot within the plot as Ethelred wrestles with his latest mystery story, one that seems to contain very familiar characters. Tyler manages to turn all conventions upside down with surprises. The alternating narrators, with their very different approaches to the investigation, allows Tyler to have fun with the story, right up to the conclusion. Hopefully, readers will have just as much fun as the author did.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
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