The Daily Bongo

April 2015

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 -- Evening

cover of The Stately Home Murder by Catherine Aird
The Stately Home Murder by Catherine Aird
Unfortunately, my local library system does not have Heinretta Who by Catherine Aird, so I skipped over that to the third Detective Inspector C. D. Sloan mystery, The Stately Home Murder. The murder takes place in a stately home, owned by the Earl of Ornum. The family is the typical scatterbrained characters that we sometimes associate with nobility and English stately homes, and Aird does a great job of drawing the characters. The family librarian and archivist is found murdered in a suit of armor after making a claim that the he might have found paperwork saying that the Earl was not the legitimate heir to the earldom. Sloan is called on the case, and receives heaps of abuse from his superior, Superintendent Leeyes and little help from his assistant, Detective Constable Crosby. There's stories about a family ghost making an appearance, which signals an upcoming death in the family, and when a hanger-on relative winds up dead, it seems to jive with the ghostly appearance. However, Sloan knows that there must be a connection between the two murders. It's just a matter of figuring out who in the small group of suspects could have performed the murder, and why the crime was done.

I enjoyed this story. The story is a quick read, and I have to admit that I didn't suspect the murderer or the reason for the crime. Up until the last 15 pages or so, I was as bamboozled as most other readers are, I suspect. There is some humor in the dry, British humor sort of way. The story has the feel of a golden age detective novel, and I am looking forward to reading more Detective Inspector Sloan mysteries.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 -- Evening

cover of The King of the Castle by Victoria Holt
The King of the Castle by Victoria Holt
It's been a while since I read a Victoria Holt, and since things were stressful at work, both full-time and teaching, I thought that a comfort book would be a good idea. i couldn't remember reading The King of the Castle, so I got it from the library. As I started to read, the story started to ring a bell, and I think I may have read it fairly recently.

The King of the Castle tells the story of Dallas Lawson, an English woman whose father has recently died. She worked with him restoring paintings. When the Comte de la Talle requests Dallas' father to come to restore the Comte's collection, Dallas goes instead. Imagine the consternation of the Comte's staff when a woman shows up instead of a man. However, the Comte, a womanizer, gives Dallas a chance. The Comte seems to show an interest in Dallas, and Dallas has an interest in the Comte, the Comte's young daughter, the castle, the paintings, and the surrounding land and people. Yep, Dallas is hooked. Of course, there is a problem other than the Comte being a womanizer. There's also a rumor that he murdered his wife by giving her a sleeping draught. Of course, Dallas gets involved in all that is going on, and she restores a painting showing some beautiful emeralds that have been missing for years. There's lots of tension about whether the Comte is really interested in Dallas, and if Dallas should leave the castle before it's too late. She doesn't, or we wouldn't have much of a story.

I liked the book. I think that some women would have problems with the fact that Dallas is so accepting of the Comte's bad behavior and womanizing. Dallas even says that if he would cheat on her, she would still not leave her. Actually, I think the Comte is willing to give up his womanizing ways for the woman he loves. All in all, the Comte is not as bad as he is made out to be. As usual with Holt, the book was an enjoyable read.