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Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth

Grey Mask (original 1928; edition 1979)

by Patricia Wentworth

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3891327,583 (3.42)30
Title:Grey Mask
Authors:Patricia Wentworth
Info:Coronet Books (1979), paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:tbr, fiction, mystery, suspense, murder, detective, thriller, UK, England, 1920s

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Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth (1928)


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A young wealthy Londoner returns from years of wandering the world to discover a criminal gang operating out of his family home. Although he is able to spy on one of their meetings, he doesn't know who they are — the mastermind wears a grey mask and other gang members are referred to by number instead of name. Except he recognized one of them — the young woman whose abrupt breaking of their engagement on the eve of their wedding first sent him on his peregrinations. Charles is reluctant to involve the police unless he can protect his erstwhile love, Margaret, from getting arrested. So he enlists the help of Miss Silver, an unassuming middle-aged woman who has developed a reputations for helping wealthy people with their private troubles. Despite this being the first book in a rather lengthy series featuring our determinedly unflashy friend, her role here is rather constrained. She delivers her reports to Charles whilst industriously working away at her knitting, a different object every time he sees her. Along the way, Charles and Margaret find themselves trying to protect a daffy teenage girl whose life is in danger from the plotters; these scenes provide some great comic relief. ( )
  rosalita | Feb 12, 2017 |
Grey Mask was written in the early 1930s and is a little dated but it’s a very good mystery. The detective is a little old lady who likes to knit, Miss Silver, but is not a leading character. The story starts with an 18 year old silly girl who learns that unless she can produce proof of her legitimacy her cousin will inherit. Charles returns after being away for 4 years and finds a secret meeting taking place in his house of people wearing grey masks and secretly overhears a plot to kill a young woman. One of the members is a woman who he is sure is his former fiancé. There’s a series of chance encounters and coincidences and because he doesn’t want to implicate Margaret, he enlists the help of Miss Silver instead of the police. ( )
  Kathy89 | Sep 7, 2016 |
Entertaining, but not very surprizing. 'Old-fashioned' of course, but that's part of the appeal of this book. ( )
  AnneTanne | Jun 19, 2016 |
Great story! I read one other Miss Silver mystery and I remember liking it but not much else. I'd forgotten what a wonderful sleuth Miss Silver is - sort of Miss Marple meets Sherlock Holmes. Patricia Wentworth weaves a good mystery. ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
I've read this as part of the 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge. I'm sure I have read a Miss Silver novel before, maybe even several (see these posts about forgotten books), but have not reviewed any on this blog, so a long time ago. Although the first in the Miss Silver series, this was far from Patricia Wentworth's first novel. There would eventually be over 30 titles in this series, which she kept publishing until 1961. However the second title in the series does not appear for another nine years.

It is probably inevitable that readers compare Miss Silver with Agatha Christie's Jane Marple, who made her first appearance in 1927. In contrast to Miss Marple, Miss Silver had had a previous career as a governess, and seems to be more experienced in the ways of the world, whereas Miss Marple is mainly experienced in village life. While Miss Silver appears to be attempting to be make a living as a private detective and sleuth, Miss Marple gets her cases from the things that happen around her.

Miss Silver does not appear to be as old as Miss Marple, but at the same time is rather more non-descript. Both are spinsters, and both seem rather small and harmless. Both do a lot of knitting. The author stresses how colourless and drab Miss Silver is. In fact the plot seems to bear that out for there are long passages between her appearances, and the reader could be forgiven for forgetting that she is "on the job" at all. But she has the knack of turning up when you least expect her, and she certainly is a shrewd observer. And in the long run it is Miss Silver who initiates the decisive action that brings everything to a satisfactory resolution and saves the day.

So how well has GREY MASK weathered? The plot is passable but I think perhaps the language of the novel is a bit dated. It seems set in a world of inheritances and a social structure that even by 1929 was rapidly disappearing. ( )
  smik | Jun 22, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patricia Wentworthprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bliek, Rosemarie deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chaulin, Marie-LouiseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cox, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vincent, SophieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Mr Packer dangled the heavy bunch of keys for a moment before laying it on the table.
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Book description
Four years ago Charles Moray had been jilted at the altar by Margaret Langton. Four years later he returns to London to find his ex-fiancee mixed up in a vicious plot involving kidnap and worse.
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Furious at being jilted by Margaret Langton, Charles Moray left England behind him. Four years later, he returns only to discover that a criminal gang has been using his house to plan a vicious crime. The target is the beautiful Margot Standing, who stands to inherit a considerable fortune. But the gang has other plans for her. Charles is appalled to discover that Margaret Langton is one of the conspirators. The indomitable Miss Silver is called in to investigate how and why Margaret's life has taken such a drastic turn.… (more)

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