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The Mystery of a Butcher's Shop by Gladys…

The Mystery of a Butcher's Shop (1929)

by Gladys Mitchell

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The Mystery of a Butcher Shop by Gladys Mitchell is the second in her Mrs. Bradley series of mysteries. This book has been described as “superbly odd” and I heartily agree with that statement. Considering that this story included a dismembered body displayed in a butcher shop, at times it seemed like a comedy of errors as clues appeared and disappeared randomly, a number of suspects were continuously lying and covering up their movements for the strangest of reasons, and the police weren’t even sure of the identity of the headless corpse for most of the book. Thank heaven Mrs. Lestrange Bradley was on the case and was able to sort through the muddle.

With many twists and turns, the story slowly unfolds as to what happened in the Manor Woods that night and although it seemed like everyone in the village was in those woods at one time or another, Mrs. Bradley is able to assist the police to arrive at the most believable outcome.

Other than I felt this mystery moved a little slow, I enjoyed it. I know that in real life I would run a mile from a woman like Mrs. Bradley with her reptilian ways, leering smile and pushy nosiness, but I must admit on paper she has me most intrigued and I will certainly be continuing on with this mystery series. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Sep 16, 2015 |
Very funny novel, but I think it would have worked better without a mystery since that was the weakest part by far (the resolution and the end in general is extremely abrupt and a sad disappointment). The writing is excellent - the author reproduces speech patterns and idiosyncracies which is a tad disconcerting at first and may be tiring after a while but it adds so much humour. The eccentric characters wouldn't be out of place in a P.G. Wodehouse book and the main character's really endearing. Again, my only problem was with the mystery which was convoluted to the point of being seriously confusing but I'm sticking with this author to see if she has some better stuff out there - the setting, characters and writing are all too good to dismiss. ( )
  RubyScarlett | Nov 11, 2013 |
This is a hippity hoppity sort of book, hopping all over the place. Even at the end it is hard to convince me who the killer is. The heroine Mrs. Bradley is quite odd as she cackles and snorts and points with her peculiar fingers. The story was hard to follow and easy to put down. ( )
  Condorena | Apr 2, 2013 |
Second of the long-running Mrs Bradley mystery series, and the first I've read. I bought a set of nine of the novels recently re-published by Vintage (Random House) because I adored the BBC adaptation starring Diana Rigg and Neil Dudgeon. Unsurprisingly, the books differ significantly from the tv series, but are equally enjoyable. And I think the tv adaptation is faithful to the tone of the novels; even if Diana Rigg is far too elegant and glamorous to be the physical Mrs Bradley of the books, she's got the personality right.

Mrs Bradley is elderly, wealthy, eccentric, and a talented and experienced psychologist who uses her skills to solve crimes. As other reviewers have noted, there's a distinct resemblance to what you'd get if you turned Miss Marple into a wealthy woman who has married and divorced three times, and divorced at least one of those husbands for being boring. The ones I've read so far are enormous fun.

The Mystery of a Butcher's Shop is fairly gruesome, in that the body of one Rupert Sethleigh is found neatly butchered and laid out as cuts of meat in the local butcher's shop. Sethleigh will not be missed by Wandle Parva, and there is a large and varied selection of people with motives to do away with him. Adding to the fun and games, many of those people have reason to protect each other, and their attempts to do so only confuse the issues. General silliness ensues as Mrs Bradley disentangles methods, motives and opportunity, frequently by deliberately poking the suspects to see what they will do. ( )
  JulesJones | Nov 25, 2012 |
When Rupert Sethleigh goes missing people are surprised but don't really miss him, he has several enemies in the village and lots of people wouldn't mind if he turned up dead. However when body parts turn up in a butchers and a skull turns up on a beach things turn from a missing man to murder, but whose?

Mrs Bradley is quite amusing and fun. Her poking of the suspects is quite productive and amusing. It's a product of it's time and some of the methodology is quite dated but it's of its time. Fans of Agatha Christie and her ilk will enjoy it, even if they do end up talking like a 30's movie afterwards. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Feb 28, 2007 |
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When Rupert Sethleigh's body is found one morning, minus its head, laid out in the village butcher shop, the inhabitants of Wandles Parva aren't particularly upset. Sethleigh was a blackmailing money lender and when the unconventional detective Mrs Bradley begins her investigation she finds no shortage of suspects.… (more)

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