Death in White Pyjamas/Death Knows no Calendar by John Bude

Death in White Pyjamas: & Death Knows No Calendar (British Library Crime Classics Book 76)

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In the first story a set designer is found dead near a lake dressed in white pyjamas and ,of course, almost everybody has a sound reason to hate her. And ” everybody ” means a troupe of actors,a director and a wealthy supporter. The setting,a country house,and the colourful characters are part of the charm. However when it comes to suspense it did not quite deliver the goods. It was really not difficult to guess who the culprit was.
As for the second story,it was basically a locked room mystery. A rather fearsome woman ,who had more than her share of enemies,is found murdered in her locked studio in the garden. Here again it was not really difficult to find the murderer. But once it was established who the miscreant was the amateur sleuth, in this case a Major Boddy,needs to find proof and this drags on and on…The solution to the murder or more precisely the “how” is impossible to guess as the reader does not get any clues.
All in all,two charming stories (country house, quirky characters, English summer garden…) but not quite successful ones when it comes to mystery and suspense.
John Bude has better stories to tell…

How to Draw Almost Everything volume 2

How to Draw Almost Everything Volume 2: An Illustrated Sourcebook

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How to draw…the title says it all,even complete unhandy “artists” like myself manage to draw a reasonable recognizable dog,flower,plate of food…
The layout is absolutely spot on with it’s very clear lines and bright colours.
Don’t expect to emerge as a new Rembrandt but if your are looking for some good fun with a couple of crayons then this is a good choice!

Death in Delft by Graham Brack

Death in Delft - Graham Brack

The story is set in the beautiful city of Delft during the Golden Age of the Netherlands . Three eight year old girls are missing. One of them is found buried in a field just outside the city. The city council of Delft asks Master Mercurius of the University of Leiden to assist them in recovering the girls and solving this crime. Mercurius is a far from perfect character. For one thing ,he is a protestant minister and an ordained catholic priest which is not always an easy marriage in the 17th century low countries. But he is very likeable, intelligent and disarmingly naive. He also meets some very interesting people among which Johannes Vermeer,the painter,and Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek,the founder of modern microbiology. And there is the city of Delft in the background of course. You know with some books that as soon as you start reading them that they are going to be alright (or more than alright). Historical mystery fiction is not always a perfect blend between the different parts. Sometimes there is not enough historical data,sometimes there is just too much and the mystery story just disappears in a swamp (or in this case perhaps a canal) of titbits and not relevant facts. But here it really ticked off and all the boxes. The setting,in the dead of winter,was both enchanting and a bit eerie. Sometimes it felt as if I was walking through one of Vermeer’s paintings. The slippery cobblestones,the dykes,the wind mills and the endless sky hovering over the frost covered fields. Perhaps one little remark,nothing to do with the quality of the story,but the frozen fields,icy sleet and biting wind makes this a perfect read for the winter.

 

Death on a Quiet Day by Michael Innes

Death on a Quiet Day - Michael Innes

David Henchman,a young undergraduate,several other young cubs and their tutor are participating in a reading party. In the morning they pore over texts and in the afternoon they climb hills and discover Dartmoor ‘s treasures. One morning David visits Knack Tor with its magnificent views. When he finally, after a stiff climb,arrives at the top he is not alone. A corpse awaits him there. He then calls for help and manages to attract the attention of a casual passerby. But this hiker seems to have an altogether different agenda. What follows is a wilde chase through heather ,moors,meadows and country lanes. When David finally finds himself in a more safe environment, Inspector Appleby enters the story… I’ve read novels by Michael Innes before and it always amounts to the same thing,sometimes the storyline is definitely worthwhile and sometimes it is all over the place. More than one third of the book consists of young David’s adventures while being chased by the assailants. It feels as if it never going to end and when it finally does, we are confronted by spies and not very intelligent or successful ones. There is definitely a boy scout feeling about. Fine if you like it but it didn’t really work for me.