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.
Another British Crime Classic to check out: