Vintage Reading Challenge – October 2018

The Case of the April Fools by Christopher Bush

Fulfils “When – time/date in the title”

Christopher Bush seems to be the break-out GAD author of 2018 with many reviews across the blogs that I follow so when I was buying books to fill in the gaps for the Vintage Mystery Challenge I decided I had to give him a go.

Ludovic Travers accidentally overhears that he is to be a witness to a happening and so he readily accepts Courtney Allard’s invitation to a country house party.

Another guest has been receiving threatening letters but no one seems to be taking this seriously as the scheduled date of death is April Fools’ Day. Although Travers walks into the situation forewarned, murder still occurs leaving him completely baffled.

Travers is allowed to assist the police in their investigation as his uncle is Chief Commissioner and whilst he makes himself useful it is actually Inspector Norris who solves the case thanks to his builder and his children.

At first I was disappointed with the solution (with hindsight that was probably because my wife had hit upon a key point which I had immediately dismissed) but with time the cleverness and elegance of how everything fitted together has grown on me and I will be giving Travers and Bush another go in the future.

A final word of warning: I didn’t read the introductions until I had finished the book for which I was thankful. The first part about the author is no problem but the second part about the book itself I felt went into far too much detail and revealed too much about the plot, though without touching on the solution.

Fire in the Thatch by E. C. R. Lorac

Fulfils “Why – has been read/reviewed by a fellow challenger”

Two newcomers to Devon both want the same tenancy from local squire, Colonel St Cyres, and although only one can get what he wants the other stays in the area anyway having found another property. We see the impact that they both have on their surroundings before the titular conflagration occurs.

A few months pass before Inspector Macdonald, acting upon information received, re-opens a case of accidental death to look for a possible murderer.

Due to my interpretation of the blurb, I was most surprised and strangely saddened when the victim’s identity was revealed.

A very different book to Lorac’s “Bats in the Belfry” and having been slightly disappointed with that, I was much happier with this book. It is an interesting reminder that even during a state of total war, everyday life, including police work, continues in varying degrees of normality, especially in more rural areas.

Kate’s review at Cross Examining Crime can be read here.

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