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A Mysterious Affair of Style by Gilbert…

A Mysterious Affair of Style

by Gilbert Adair

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This is the second book in the Evadne Mount series by Gilbert Adair, which started with The Act of Roger Murgatroyd. As can be guessed by the titles, these are parodies of Agatha Christie (et al) novels. They are easy to read, lots of chuckle moments, but are also quite clever, like the best parodies; in addition, they are obviously fond of the original crime genre, so are also also a homage to these classic novels from the British Golden Era of crime.

Our amateur sleuth, Ms Mount, is actually a Christie-esque writer herself, with a long running play in the West End called "The Tourist Trap". She serendipitously runs into Chief-Inspector Trubshawe, retired, formerly of Scotland Yard, ten years after they both helped solve the murder in The Act of Roger Murgatroyd, and their friendship starts off properly, as both are rather lonely. And luckily a good juicy murder falls into their collective laps.

In this case, the murder revolves around actors and movies. We have Alastair Farjeon, an obvious stand-in for Alfred Hitchcock, with his complex and clever thrillers. Sadly Farjeon has recently died in a manor house fire, along with his most recent paramour, the pretty chorus girl Patsy Sloots. (Love the English names.) But the show must go on, and his latest movie, "If Ever They Find Me Dead" is continuing to be filmed with a new director. But filming is not going as smoothly as it should.

This was a delightful parody of all things Christie-ian and Hitchcockian. Worth a look, especially if you're a fan of Christie/Hitchcock. ( )
  wookiebender | Sep 21, 2011 |
Not Brillian ( )
  dawnbirduk | May 4, 2010 |
Another sutble pastiche of an Agatha Christie novel. Ten years after they first met a chance encounter at the Ritz brings Chief Inspector Trubshaw and Evadne Mount together again and they are soon drawn into a murder investigation after an actress dies on a film set before their eyes. Set in just after WWII the book is littered with historical references and a a sly send up of Hitchcock. Superb. ( )
  riverwillow | Feb 28, 2009 |
Author: Gilbert Adair
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Australian Distributor: Allen & Unwin
This Edition published: December 2007
ISBN: 978-0-571-23425-7
Classification: Mystery
Price: $29.95 (Aust. Dollars)
292 pages

Ten years after the events at Ffolkes Manor in THE ACT OF ROGER MURGATROYD retired Scotland Yard Chief-Inspector Trubshawe is having afternoon tea at the Ritz hotel when he bumps into his collaborator on the case, mystery novelist Evadne Mount. He ends up having lunch with her and then accompanying her to see the actress Cora Rutherford, another character who was at Ffolkes Manor. Cora has just got a part in a film and she invites Trubshawe and Mount on to the set to watch the filming. There in front of the whole film set, Cora drops dead after drinking poisoned champagne. The intrepid duo are asked by Scotland Yard to get on the case and start to do a bit of sleuthing. They soon realise that there are only five people who knew that Cora was going to drink the wine. Only trouble is that none of them had a motive to want Cora dead.

It seems to me that so many murder mysteries of today have psychopath serial killers with blood dripping off axes and investigators who are either alcoholic or suffering from ‘a past.’ A MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR OF STYLE is a story that you can take refuge in and enjoy for the simple cleverness that is lacking in so many mysteries today. Set in post-war London our fearless investigators use brains and intelligence instead of computers to solve the crime. Adair recreates the wonderful Golden era of mystery writing where blood splattered bodies are not spread from one side of the room to the other, but left tidily in one spot. Gilbert Adair read all 66 of Agatha Christie’s books before he commenced writing his parody of her books. In fact she is cleverly mentioned in both THE ACT OF ROGER MURGATROYD and A MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR OF STYLE as a fellow author who is disliked by Evadne Mount. I loved the Agatha Christie books – and I loved this one – there are more red herrings than in a fishing boat – but the resolution is perfectly satisfactory. ( )
  sally906 | Jul 29, 2008 |
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An actress is murdered, not just on camera but in full view of a crowded film set. Only six people had an opportunity to administer the poison yet not one of them has a conceivable motive. As Evadne Mount discovers, however, all six did have a motive for committing murder, and are implicated in a lethal web of deceit. Originally published: 2007.

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