Saturday, April 27, 2019

A British Crime Classic...

Title & Author:  Seven Dead by J. Jefferson Farjeon
Genre:  Classic British Mystery
First line:  This is not Ted Lyte's story. He merely had the excessive misfortune to come into it, and to remain in it longer than he wanted.

Plot summary:  When six men and one woman are found dead at Haven House, it appears to be a mass suicide. Only the shuttered room where they were found was locked from the outside. And there's a portrait of a young girl in the dining room that's been shot through the heart. Who are these seven strangers? And what happened to Mr. Fenner and Dora, his niece, the owners of Haven House? Detective-Inspector Kendall and freelance journalist, Thomas Hazeldean, suspect there's something much more sinister going on, and they're determined to find out the truth.

My thoughts:  I like how these classic British mysteries are more about piecing together a bunch of seemingly random clues than about shocking crime scenes or dark plot twists. It's refreshing. I also really liked Hazeldean's brash optimism and cheerful confidence. His over-protectivness of Dora, and her 'feminine' fearfulness was a bit of a cliche, but then this book was written in 1939. As the mystery proceeds, Detective-Inspector Kendall ends up doing a lot of explaining as to his theories of what really happened, but I loved his understated British humor so much I didn't mind. I hope he's in Farjeon's other books. And even though the mystery itself got a bit fantastical towards the end, I still thought this one was a lot of fun.

Happy Reading!

Another British Crime Classic to check out:

20 comments:

  1. Love that first line! And I like the puzzles best, too.

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    1. That's what I like about these older mysteries.

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  2. Ooh, a classic British mystery author I hadn't heard of, understated humor, and a locked room mystery! I'm definitely going to search out a copy of this one.

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    1. It's not as good as an Agatha Christie, but it's still a fun read.

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  3. That's a great first line. It instantly makes me want to know more. :)

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  4. Oh my, I do need to know more about these sorts of classics -- not to mention, awesome first line!

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    1. Isn't that a great opener for a book? :)

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  5. I've really liked the British Crime Classics I've read, and I admit part of my appeal stems from those amazing covers, but when I read them I've been enjoying them, so bonus!

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  6. Hi Lark, The British Crime Classics are tbe best and I know what you mean about how they tend to go heavier on the detective work, while downplaying the gory stuff and I agree that is refreshing!

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  7. Sounds fabulous! I love a locked room mystery. And British crime novels from the 1930s have such style! I will have to check this one out. :D

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    1. I've really been enjoying these British mysteries from the 1930s and 1940s! :)

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  8. Sounds intriguing. I need to check out these Classic British mysteries.

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    1. There are a lot to choose from; you should definitely try one. :)

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  9. Anything British is my cup of tea and certainly crime classics - OMG!!

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  10. I love anything British, too. :)

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  11. How come this is classics, and this is the first time I came across it... Why people so not talk about it more?

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    1. More people should be talking about these books. But I think they were just recently reissued, so maybe that's why more people don't know about them.

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