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The Affair Of The Blood-Stained Egg Cosy (1978)

The Affair of the Blood-Stained Egg Cosy (1978)

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3.78 of 5 Votes: 1
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0380019191 (ISBN13: 9780380019199)
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About book The Affair Of The Blood-Stained Egg Cosy (1978)

Oh, boy! This is a good one. Written in 1975 and reprinted by the Poisoned Pen Press, James Anderson's The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy, set in the 1930s, has it all, starting with a classical-era detective who warns everyone at the very start that he's no good at this job and has been promoted above his abilities and that he yearns to be back on the uniformed force. But this modest, self-deprecating sleuth ("I'm not sanguine. Not sanguine at all" - think Peter Falk's Columbo) manages to figure out the most complicated country house murder/espionage case I've ever encountered.No country house murder is quite right without a map and the book offers one of the second (first if you're English) floor of the house with its many bedrooms, linen closet, baths, and cupboards, along with a picture gallery and a large gun room to hold the earl's firearms collection. You knew there would be an earl. What's a mystery without a little nobility, not to mention a Bertie Wooster sort of fella called Algernon Fotheringay, a gorgeous French countess who drops in unexpectedly, two foreign diplomats who are alarmingly bad at diplomacy, the earl's wife and their jazz baby daughter, her impecunious friend, her uncle (whom the friend has been hopelessly in love with since childhood), a stuffy foreign office type, a dashing sports-car-driving journalist, and a wealthy American couple and their secretary. And of course the butler. The map is particularly useful because during the night of the murder all the characters except two leave his or her room and visit the bedroom of one or more other characters or the gun room or the downstairs music room. There is a woman's scream, someone is hit on the head, someone goes missing, two characters get into a scuffle, someone is locked in a cupboard, and nobody turns on the lights. Delightful French-farce cum detective story.I've just scratched the surface here. We have a famous jewel thief who steals the American woman's diamond necklace, two valuable guns are taken, mysterious phone conversations are overheard, the stable clock chimes every 15 minutes, making it easier to keep track of exactly where everyone was at what time. And then there's the problem of the dirt-caked, bloodstained egg cosy. How did it come to be hanging from a branch of lavender in the garden? Who jumped out the window? This is also a locked room - or locked castle - mystery. The earl has installed a state-of-the-1930s-art burgler alarm which allows the police detective to pinpoint the moment when the murder victim left the house. Or does it? And where is the French countess. This could hardly be more complicated, more difficult to figure out, and more entertaining if Agatha Christie herself had written it with help from John Buchan and Marjorie Allingham. (Did I mention the secret passageway?)2011 No 10Coming soon, Stacy Schiff's biography of Cleopatra.

I really liked the first part of this book but then it started to grate. I know the last thing you can do with a period cosy written by someone 40 years after the period is take it seriously. And this thing verges on parody. But even with tongue in cheek, it has its problems.I knew when I saw that list of Dramatis Personae in the front that it was going to be confusing, but Anderson takes the biscuit. Far too many secondary characters; even he forgets all about two of them and only trots them out again in the final quarter of the book. The beginning chapters, in which the myriad of characters make their various appearances, read like a poorly-cut 1960s spy film. The business with the "sheeted ghost" left by The Wraith sounds suspiciously like the white monogrammed glove left by The Phantom in the 1963 film The Pink Panther. There's a lot of byplay about how people speak and what it reveals about them, but even the Texas millionaires spout cod-American of the most cardboard Rank Organisation film sort. Later, Peabody says at one point that the time is "Just gone five-and-twenty after two." !! Trust me, no self-made millionaire Texan would EVER say that, even in the 1930s. He'd probably say it was "about twenty minutes to three" or something like that. The book is as full of red herrings and waffle as a Dutch market. You have to wade through half the book before anything really happens, and the eponymous egg cosy doesn't even make an appearance until well after the halfway mark. The final "library scene reveal" takes several chapters, and gets unbelievably tangled before descending into pure pastiche. By the time I had reached the "explanation" chapters, I was skim-reading, and I don't think I missed much. I just couldn't wait for it to be over!!I see the author has several follow-on books based on "Murder She Wrote" to his credit. (Well, I say "credit.") It certainly shows. WHAT a disappointing read.

Do You like book The Affair Of The Blood-Stained Egg Cosy (1978)?

We all know that murder can be and often is a messy, violent and sordid affair but if you're like me you read books for escapism and enjoyment so sometimes it is nice to read a mystery novel that doesn't indulge in any unnecessary graphic descriptions but is just a good old fashioned mystery Agatha Christie style and this fits the bill nicely. And since I like the Daisy Dalrymple series I thought I might like this and I was right.Set in the late 1930s, the UK Government set up a meeting with for

This is a very fun English country house murder mystery. What I especially liked was how it puts forth a serious face, discussing Hitler, the war, and upper level political intrigue, but then it breaks out into an old fashioned comedy of manners. This contrast between light and heavy hovers in the background throughout. The mystery is complex with clues and motives all over the place, but there really is no way to solve it on your own. That does not lessen the satisfaction of having everything tied up neatly at the end.

This is the first of the Inspector Wilkins Series.That this novel was first published in 1975 and is still selling well with lots of fans all these years later, is a testament to it and the cosy mystery genre.As a cosy parody, it has everything – literally everything. It becomes quite serious towards the end, and the answer is provided for pretty much everything. I read it over a period of time which I think was a mistake, because I found it difficult to get properly engaged with the many storylines and characters, and the detective became lost in the various strands, which was a shame as he should have been quite an endearing character.This is a jolly romp with plenty to keep you guessing, to be read over the course of a lazy weekend. Nina Jon is the author of the Jane Hetherington’s Adventures in Detection crime and mystery series
—Nina Jon

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