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Death of My Aunt by C. H. B. Kitchin

Death of My Aunt (1929)

by C. H. B. Kitchin

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Malcolm is a rather inefficient stockbroker who gets an invitation from his wealthy Aunt Catherine to visit for the weekend. He's barely said hello when she is dead of poison. Malcolm and his Uncle Hannibal are both equal suspects in the police's eye, but Malcolm knows he didn't do it and he decides he'd better solve it before the police mess things up.

I tracked this down on a recommendation from a LT friend, but it wasn't as good as I had hoped. Malcolm is fairly unsympathetic, but mostly it's just that the story seems to take a long time to tell. And it's not really a long book, but for some reason, it just wandered around too much without enough happening. ( )
  cmbohn | Oct 20, 2010 |
From the golden age of British mystery writing
  escl | Apr 15, 2010 |
The corpse is Catherine Cartwright, left a rich woman by her first husband. “Like many rich people, she acted as if her wealth gave her not only infinite power but infinite wisdom.” The suspects, kindly listed and classified by the narrator, are family members wanting legacies, some urgently.

The narrator, the young stockbroker Malcolm Warren is a detached yet compassionate observer of his family’s foibles. The acute observations and witty descriptions of the characters are what make the book so enjoyable.

H. R. F. Keating’s introduction to the Hogarth Crime edition places the novel in its time, and provides a description of Kitchin, an eccentric, cultured man.

Death of My aunt is a sophisticated cosy from the Golden Age of crime fiction. ( )
1 vote pamelad | Mar 18, 2009 |
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Until half-past six, the fifteenth of June was much the same as many other Fridays. Business was slack, and my work did not fill the hours which I had to spend in the office. At six o'clock I took my grimy hat from its peg, and after the innumerable "good-nights" which commercial etiquette seems to demand walked down Throgmorton Street without enthusiasm on my way to the tube. A few dispirited jobbers still lingered in the "street". The afternoon was wet, and rather cold.
"(5) My duty and inclination. I do not believe that poor Aunt Catherine's blood is crying out for vengeance, or that there is a moral law, erect as a spiritual Eiffel Tower, which compels all citizens to do their best to hand over all murderers to the state. I do not believe that the state has a "right" to punish the murderer, though no doubt it is usually expedient that it should do so. I do not believe that murder is always the most awful of all sins. It may not even be a sin at all. I do not believe in retributive punishment. I am not inclined to hand anyone over to "justice". I am not inclined to do dirty work for the police. But I should not be terribly distressed if some of my relations (Uncle Terence, for example) were taken away quietly and executed." (Faber and Faber 2009, p. 99-100)
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