Algernon Vereker, artist and sometime sleuth, is intrigued by a newspaper report concerning the death of Sutton Armadale, the millionaire financier. He was found shot in his polo field, and before he dies, he gasps a single word – “murder”!
The assumption is that he was chasing the thief who stole his wife’s jewellery, but things aren’t as simple as that. First off, nobody knows who that thief is, and there’s a problem with the number of shots fired – it doesn’t match the number of spent cartridge cases. What really happened on the polo ground? Was it suicide, murder or something else entirely? And is Vereker smart enough to figure it all out?
I’m a little torn on this one. It’s the second of the five Vereker novels by Robin Forsythe – I’ve reviewed so far the excellent Missing Or Murdered and the less-than-excellent The Pleasure Cruise Mystery but this one, apart from getting back into reading them chronologically, was recommended to me. But…
First off, the set-up is intruiging, with many questions arising early on as to what happened. Vereker is on the case quickly, and, more importantly, away from his chum Ricardo, as their dialogue is fairly insufferable, and soon meets up with Inspector Heather – their banter was a high spot of the first book.
And the revelation of what actually happened on the polo field is clever – it makes sense of what has gone before and it’s still not going to be spotted by most readers.
But it takes a while to get from A to B – it drags a bit and it doesn’t help that most of the characters tend to talk with the same voice and feel pretty samey, so it makes it harder to keep track of who’s done what. And there are a lot of misses on Vereker’s part in the denouement before he hits on the actual solution, and even then, it’s after he’s told a fair bit of it.
So, not bad, but nowhere near as good as Missing Or Murdered. Bit of a shame really. Do check out Kate’s review at Cross Examining Crime, as she seemed to enjoy it more than me. Worth a look.