Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith

Portrait of a Murderer (British Library Crime Classics) - Anne Meredith, Martin Edwards

Adrian Gray,an unpleasant patriarch of an equally unpleasant family invites his six children (and their partners) to the family manor to celebrate Christmas. He is not a very loved or likeable man and his family have solid reasons to murder the old man. And one of them does murder Adrian Gray on Christmas Eve. The identity of the murderer is immediately revealed. This is not a who,how or why done it. The story revolves mainly around the exposure and evidence seeking to convict the culprit. It has definitely a modern,not Golden Age at all,twist about it but it took me an eternity to finish it and some parts just dragged on. True,my mother passed away in December and that really didn’t help me to keep focused…

Therefore it is really very difficult to give an unbiased opinion on this classic mystery…

Deep Waters edited by Martin Edwards

Deep Waters - Martin Edwards

Sixteen short stories all relating to water,be it rivers,seasides,estuaries, pools and so on. And ranging in style from classic murder mysteries to tales of the unexpected. Some are good,very good indeed,and some do not quite enchant me so much. But one of the great advantages and delights of these anthologies is the fact that you are introduced to different writers(some famous like Arthur Conan Doyle,C.S.Forester,Michael Innes and some now long forgotten) and their different approach to the “murder mystery”. And notwithstanding the fact that some were written more than a century ago,they are still highly readable and are still a wonderfull source of bookish pleasure.

 

Blood on the Tracks edited by Martin Edwards

Blood on the Tracks - Various Authors, Martin Edwards

Anthologies are always a tricky business. All the stories in this volume have a common denominator ,a train,trainstation,railroad, train travel…all play a major part in their criminal make up. And it is true that trains and stations create a very special atmosphere. This collection consists of contributions by Athur Conan Doyle, Dorothy L.Sayers,Baroness Orczy,R.Austin Freeman,Will Croft and other highly talented mystery writers. Some of these stories are very good(The Mystery of Felwyn Tunnel,The Man with the Watch,The Mysterious Death on the Underground Railway and many others…)and some were,well just average.

But as mentioned before,anthologies are tricky!

 

Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie

Appointment with Death (Masterpiece Edition Poirot) - Agatha Christie

There is not much point in repeating the storyline of this book as every Christie reader knows the story of a horrendous, cruel,terrorising (step)mother and her dysfunctional family. And as this is a Christie, murder must follow . Enter Hercule Poirot, who decides to give Colonel Carbury(a friend of Colonel Race) a helping hand and solve this crime.

I remember reading it as a young creature and thinking,Petra,wow,it seemed so far away,both in distance as in atmosphere. When years later,I finally visited Petra I was, apart from being mightily impressed, overcome by an acute attack of Christie nostalgia.

How fabulous it must have been,travelling in a small group,sleeping in a cave,having diner overlooking those red,orange and of course, pink cliffs and gazing upon this historical and mythical wonder in the sunset.

This was written in 1938 and it is still highly readable(of course our attitude towards”servants” and the original inhabitants has changed, although not all that much…) but notwithstanding this,and a very soppy epilogue, it is always such good fun reading Agatha Christie.