My spouse saw me reading two dead-tree books in a row, and thought to try to get me into the habit. So, she insisted I read this. It was an ok book, but I'll be glad to be getting back to my kindle. So will my tired arms and hands. Books are so heavy and unwieldy. ;-)
Anyway, this is one of those archetypal cozy-British-village, murder-mystery books which have been all the rage for close to a century now. This particular book came out not quite 50 years ago. We have a middle-aged man (50 something), who made a pile in London, but who also had a heart attack. So the "cure" was to quit work and go rest in the country...forever. I guess that was in the days before by-pass surgery and angioplasties (thank God we had angioplasties by 1987). Anyway, he buys an old Tudor manor house in a small village and is bored to tears.
But, he doesn't stay bored long. It seems that the house has a secret room, a place to hide Roman Catholic priests from back in the days when they were all being hunted down and executed, i.e. back in the late 17th century. It turns out there's a skeleton in the priest's hole, a skeleton that is roughly 150 years old, i.e. dating back to 1800 plus/minus. So, Thomas, the rich invalid, gets interested in tracking the family history of the people who lived in the house before him.
Along with "his" murder, Thomas becomes inadvertently involved in a more recent murder, a "village" murder. It seems that a young woman was just strangled. Her husband disappeared, and the police are trying to track him down to question him, perhaps arrest him and try him for the murder. Everyone in the village knows he didn't do it, so they're not much help to the police.
So, we get lots of background on priest holes and some history of the persecution of Roman Catholic families in those days, which is rather fun, and also some "mystery" bits, which are just so-so. I think the story about the 150-year-old murder mostly hangs together. The more recent murder not so much. Perhaps the author just forgot to add in some important details, or forgot to notice that some things just plain don't much make sense. Not unusual in this genre. Whatever, it's a reasonably GoodRead
, though perhaps not a great one.