I received an eGalley of this book in exchange for my honest review.
About the book (by the publisher): A cozy mystery featuring the return of Mrs. Pargeter.
For Mrs. Pargeter, it is a matter of principle that she should complete any of her late husband’s unfinished business. Amongst the many bequests he made to her, perhaps the most valuable is his little black book, in which he listed all the people who ever worked for him, with details of their particular skill sets. This means that whenever Mrs. P has a crime to solve, she can readily contact someone with the relevant expertise to help her in her enquiries.
Attending the funeral of the rich and respected Sir Normington Winthrop, because his is one of the names in the little black book, Mrs. Pargeter sets out to discover the connection between Sir Normington and her late husband. Her investigations will draw her into a shady world of gun-runners, shifty politicians – and a kidnapped vicar.
My review: This is a cozy mystery with a twist – just the way I like them. Simon Brett, the author of the Charles Paris mysteries, writes with great wit and style and he brings all of that and more to this mystery. I haven’t read any of the other books in this series, but I plan to remedy that.
Mrs. Pargeter, formidable and very attractive, lives a life of comparative luxury, due to her late husband’s successful business dealings. She describes him as a philanthropist. It doesn’t take long to cotton on to the fact that the late Mr. Pargeter indulged in somewhat ‘questionable activities.’ Aided by Truffler Mason and Gary (her driver,) both of whom worked with Mr. P, she finds herself on the hunt for clues about the mysterious Sir Normington Winthrop.
Those who worked for Mr. Pargeter are tremendously loyal and have nicknames that describe their individual ‘skill sets.’ The characters created by Brett are colorful and, at times, hilarious. All of them speak highly of the late Mr. P and would do anything for his widow.
The mystery is well plotted and well written. I found the book delightful and often found myself chuckling out loud.
One of the little things I love about Mrs. Pargeter is her tendency to squelch any references in conversation that edge a bit too close to actually describing in any sort of detail the jobs undertaken by her husband and his crew. She will either give a look that freezes any more conversation or will say something like “I’m sure I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
She exists happily in her little world. Brett is a master at this sort of topsy-turvy plot device.
I loved this book.
About the author: Simon Brett is a prolific British writer of whodunits. He is the son of a Chartered Surveyor and was educated at Dulwich College and Wadham College, Oxford, where he got a first class honours degree in English.
He then joined the BBC as a trainee and and worked for BBC Radio and London Weekend Television, where his work included ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ and ‘Frank Moore Goes Into…’
After his spells with the media, he began devoting most of his time to writing from the late 1970s and is well-known for his various series of crime novels.
He is married with three children and lives in Burpham, near Arundel, West Sussex, England. He is the current president of the Detection Club.
Thank you to NetGalley and Severn House/Crème de la Crime for an eGalley of this book.
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