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Jumping Jenny (1933)

by Anthony Berkeley

Series: Roger Sheringham (9)

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14610188,358 (3.82)12
"Tightly paced and cleverly defying the conventions of the classic detective story, this 1933 novel remains a milestone of the inverted mystery subgenre. This edition includes an introduction by CWA Diamond Dagger and Edgar Award-winning author Martin Edwards. At a costume party with the dubious theme of "famous murderers and their victims," the know-it-all amateur criminologist Roger Sheringham is settled in for an evening of beer, small talk, and analyzing his companions. One guest in particular has caught his attention for her theatrics, and his theory that she might have several enemies among the partygoers proves true when she is found hanging from the "decorative" gallows on the roof terrace. Noticing a key detail that could implicate a friend in the crime, Sheringham decides to meddle with the scene and unwittingly casts himself into jeopardy as the uncommonly thorough police investigation circles closer and closer to the truth"--… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
A slightly subversive Golden Age murder mystery with elements of a comedy of manners that I would have found a lot more diverting if not for the fact that Anthony Berkeley clearly had Issues with Women. [It’s the kind of book where neither the male characters nor the narrative voice thinks domestic violence is anything other than a great way of keeping your wife in line. Ugh. ( )
  siriaeve | Mar 17, 2024 |
wish I'd had this in book form rather than Libby - so much easier to read - but either way the last page was the funniest of any book I've read in years ( )
  Overgaard | Feb 4, 2024 |
This is a much lauded Golden Age mystery, of the inverted mystery genre, where the reader knows early on of the murder, including (usually) the identity of the perpetrator and the means.

It features Roger Sheringham, one of Berkeley's usual characters, described as a 'know it all amateur criminologist'.

In this instance, we are given no hint (other than the blurb on the back cover) as to a death, its victim or the perpetrator until some 100 pages in (in a book of only 255 pages). To my mind much of those first 100 pages were boring and far more that what was needed to give the reader any necessary background or context.

The apparent suicide of a much disliked person during a party is perceived by Sheringham to be instead a murder, who takes steps to adjust a vital clue in order to protect the perpetrator (though Sheringham can only guess as it that person is). Any having muddied in that way, Sheringham continues to muddy the waters as his thoughts go to the question of who is responsible.

The result is a large number of possible suspects coming into focus and then being dismissed, though the reader knows all along who the perpetrator indeed is.

But does the reader in fact know?

It is a pity the very slow start to the novel spoiled it for me, otherwise this would have rated much higher.

Big Ship

14 August 2023 ( )
  bigship | Aug 14, 2023 |
I typically enjoy the British Library Crime Classic Books but, in this one, the meddling of amateur criminologist Roger Sheringham was not believable to me. As a result, I enjoyed the beginning, namely the events at the murder-themed costume party, as well as the ultimate solution. However, I cringed a bit and carried on during much of the middle portion.

Nonetheless, I'd say that I enjoy it even so, and would recommend it to those who enjoy "Golden Age" mysteries.

(I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Net Galley, in exchange for a fair and honest review.) ( )
  lindapanzo | Aug 11, 2023 |
I generally like this author. However, the plot of this book, and it’s ultimate denouement was so far fetched that even as a lover of complicated locked-room puzzles, I just couldn’t accept it. Boucher uses the same sort of device he uses in “The Poisoned Chocolates Case”, but with much less panache, and much less success.
I would avoid this one unless you’re an inveterate fan of Boucher’s work. ( )
1 vote Matke | Aug 10, 2023 |
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Published in the US under the title "Dead Mrs. Stratton"
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"Tightly paced and cleverly defying the conventions of the classic detective story, this 1933 novel remains a milestone of the inverted mystery subgenre. This edition includes an introduction by CWA Diamond Dagger and Edgar Award-winning author Martin Edwards. At a costume party with the dubious theme of "famous murderers and their victims," the know-it-all amateur criminologist Roger Sheringham is settled in for an evening of beer, small talk, and analyzing his companions. One guest in particular has caught his attention for her theatrics, and his theory that she might have several enemies among the partygoers proves true when she is found hanging from the "decorative" gallows on the roof terrace. Noticing a key detail that could implicate a friend in the crime, Sheringham decides to meddle with the scene and unwittingly casts himself into jeopardy as the uncommonly thorough police investigation circles closer and closer to the truth"--

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