Thursday, July 28, 2011
The Herring in the Library by L.C. Tyler
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.
L.C. Tyler's website is http://www.lctyler.com/
The Herring in the Library by L.C. Tyler. Felony & Mayhem. ©2010. ISBN 9781934609767 (paperback), 240p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy, hoping I would review it.