The Norwich Victims by Francis Beeding

Hermione Taylor is in love with Richard Feiling, but is in a relationship with the moneylender and financial adviser John Throgmorton. But when Feiling returns from the continent with a scheme for increasing a £5000 investment to £50000 overnight, the three fall into a scheme to make their fortunes. But where to get the £5000 from? Enter Veronica Haslet.

Veronica is the matron of St Julian Preparatory School who has just won the French lottery. She heads to London to seek investment advice from Throgmorton… and it’s the last thing that she’ll ever do. But having apparently got away with murder, can Throgmorton and co stay ahead of the long arm of the law? Enter Inspector Martin…

I’m not a fan of the idea of the inverted mystery – Columbo is the exception, but that’s mostly down to the wonderful Peter Falk – and, after 821 reviews (yes, I count them), this is the first one for the blog. I figured it was about time.

Francis Beeding has had a mixed reception on the blog. Death Walks In Eastrepps is outstanding – seriously, go and read it – but The Four Armourers… was not impressive. Oh, and cover fans, that’s not the only Beeding book with the “Sit Up With Beeding” cover style – I spotted an overly expensive copy of another title a while ago.

This, however, is an absolute cracker. Even without the impressive sting in the tale (please don’t hint at that in the comments), this is a hugely enjoyable tale, and I’m going to have to reconsider my reticence at the genre. I’m going to say no more for fear of spoilers, but there are cheap UK reprints of this one out there. Seriously, if you haven’t read this, go and get a copy. Highly Recommended.

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