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A most contagious game by Catherine Aird

A most contagious game (edition 2007)

by Catherine Aird

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199659,063 (3.98)18
Title:A most contagious game
Authors:Catherine Aird
Info:Boulder, CO Rue Morgue Press, 2007.

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A Most Contagious Game by Catherine Aird



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This book is very similar to Josephine Tey's "Daughter of Time." A wealthy man is recovering from a heart attack in his new (to him) but otherwise extremely old house. He discovers a skeleton in a priest's hole, and slowly researches how it ended up there. I've gone and made it sound all dry, but really it's not — Aird did a brilliant job at atmosphere in this book. She slowly generates tension and makes the historical characters alive as we learn about them. If your favorite part of a traditional ghost story is the inevitable trip to the library, you should read this. ( )
  particle_p | Apr 1, 2013 |
Thomas Harding purchased a country estate sight unseen. He regrets having turned over the matter of the purchase to his wife during his convalescence, but all that changes when the odd placement of an electrical outlet leads to the discovery of a hidden room in the house. When they finally tear away the plaster someone had used to seal the hidden priest's hole, they find an old skeleton. With a current murder investigation, the local law enforcement is not very interested in the older crime. Thomas begins investigating on his own. This is probably going to be an all-time favorite mystery. Thomas uses the same types of principles that a good genealogist would utilize to investigate the persons living in the home at that time period and earlier. This is an absolute gem of a mystery and one that I'm sure I'll want to read again in the future. ( )
5 vote thornton37814 | Apr 14, 2012 |
The first Catherine Aird I read...which led me to the Sloan and Crosby series. This stand alone book is intelligent, witty, has great pace and characters. I found it very entertaining. A great village cozy. ( )
  Riyale | Apr 5, 2011 |
This is a fairly gentle English mystery which involves a 200 year old murder, as well as a modern one, and some interesting history about persecution of Roman Catholics in Elizabethan times. It is her one stand-alone mystery not involving Sloan. ( )
  Scrabblenut | Apr 1, 2008 |
In its own way, A Most Contagious Game reminded me a bit of Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time. Both have elements of historical fiction, and both involve the solving of murders from the past. Tey's hero thinks he has solved the mystery of who really killed the princes in the tower (viz Richard III); the hero in Aird's book comes upon a skeleton in a priest's hole he discovers in his home. After being told that the skeleton is probably about 150 years old, the main character sets about using history to try to figure out who the bones belonged to and why he or she was in there. Aside from that, though, the two books go on divergent paths, with this one adding in a present-day murder as well.

I thought this book was awesome until the very end, because when the murderer (present-day) is revealed, it is so quick and so fast that you're thinking to yourself "huh?" No lead in at all. I have noted in some of my reviews of her other books that the author has a habit of doing this and I'm sad to see she continued it here.

If I could give like 3.75 stars, that's what I'd do; but I must say I really liked the book up until that point. Others may disagree. Oh well.

Recommended for those who enjoy British crime novels and novels that feature a bit of history. ( )
2 vote bcquinnsmom | Aug 20, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Aird, Catherineprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lehr, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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J.D.L. 1900 - 1965
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Thomas handed over the money without demur.
He had wanted to do his own restoring, to buy a house with intangible qualities of atmosphere which couldn't be explained to a house agent. Still, Dora couldn't have known that Easterbrook Manor wouldn't have the right feel for him, and in a way it had been his own fault that it had been Dora who had to choose. It would never have happened that way if the doctor hadn't arrived unexpectedly one day to find him on the telephone to his office, his secretary taking notes by his side and his bed a mass of papers.
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Thomas Harding, a retired banker, with his wife Dora buys an old Manor House outside of London. He finds an old priest hole, plus a 150-year old skeleton, with proof that the death was murder. He is researching the history of the house, when locally a young wife is murdered, and the missing husband sought, although most in the village think he's innocent. Thomas gets involved in this death, as well.
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