I read this book a long time ago, but realised this week that it was pretty much exactly the kind of book we’re looking for for this blog and decided that a recap on my part and a blog wouldn’t be too much of a bad thing. Apologies if my details are a bit off, it’s been about year, but it made such an impression I knew I needed to let you know all about it.
A very English mystery
The series title says it all really: this basically is just a mystery based on everything England is famous for, based in the 1950s. The feel of it is a world recovering after the second world war, while being embroiled in a good old fashioned English mystery.
The suave Hugo Hawksworth is like an Agatha Christie sleuth, Enid Blyton grown up Julian Kirrin, Dorothy L Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey all rolled into one. Hugo Hawksworth is an intelligence officer who’s been sent on a different kind of mission. I think he was injured somewhat, there’s a lot of references about his leg, which I think is the problem, so this little job at Selchester Castle is supposed to be just a nice little ‘office’ job to while away the time.
Selchester however had the tragedy of losing its earl seven years earlier and his only daughter can’t wait to be able to declare her father dead so she can sell up and move on from the family home. Her cousin however, Freya Wryton, feels more of a connection to the family home and hopes her uncle will one day return.
When a skeleton turns up in the church it all changes and maybe Lady Sonia won’t need to get her father declared legally dead after all – because he really seems to be. Hugo and Freya join teams in an unlikely fashion to try and solve the mystery of the skeleton and what happened to the Earl on that fateful night seven years previously.
It really is a thrilling read.
Grown up Blyton – Are you sure?
I couldn’t be surer about this one. I love the period of history it’s set in, I love the feel of the cosy crime mystery and the proper language, the lack of technology and the manners of everyone. I really adore this time period and Elizabeth Edmondson really makes you feel the time – you feel the fifties from top to bottom. The mystery itself is totally Agatha Christie based and logical like Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes but in a sort of Enid Blyton Fatty/ Julian/ Philip /Jack kind of wrapper.
More genteel than Marina Pascoe’s Barlett and Boase mysteries, and more 1950s than the crime noir of Sara Sheridan’s Mirabelle Bevan, A Man of Some Repute is for those who want a grown up mystery with the nostaglic feel of the childhood heroes they read about who solved wonderful cases and had wonderful adventures. The good part about A Man of Some Repute is that it has that Blytonian feel to it, the more sedate, case working, brain picking, clue finding mixture that makes Blyton a joy to read.
I don’t think I could recommend this book enough. Even now, after so long I can thoroughly enjoy the book because it’s high quality. Edmondson makes a fantastic feeling in this book and carries you along. I can’t wait to re-read and read the subsequent books.
Please do try this book, I promise you, you won’t be disappointed!
Let me know what you think in the comments!