Title & Author: Murder in the Museum by John Rowland
First published: 1938
How it begins: Beneath the high, gloomy dome, Henry Fairhurst looked around him. There was an air of deathly stillness in the place, and a silence broken only by the occasional rustle of pages and the subdued murmur of a borrower discussing books with an official. The British Museum Reading room is a strange place ...
A brief summary of the plot: Henry Fairhurst, who's short, wears pince-nez glasses, and lives with his older sister, Sarah, likes to play his own "Sherlock Holmes" game: guessing the occupations of strangers. But his game takes a serious turn when he discovers the body of Julius Arnell, a professor of Elizabethan Literature, in the British Museum Reading Room, dead from cyanide poisoning. Inspector Shelley and Sergeant Cunningham are the detectives investigating the murder, but Henry is determined to help them solve the case, whether they want his help, or not. And it's he who discovers that another expert in Elizabethan Literature, Professor Wilkinson, also died in the British Museum Reading Room five months earlier. Coincidence? Henry thinks not. And neither do Inspector Shelley and Sergeant Cunningham.
My thoughts: Is it wrong to use the word delightful when describing a murder mystery? Because that's how I'd describe this book. I liked how each of the main characters had their own little quirks. Inspector Shelley and his colleague are pretty witty. And it was nice that Arnell's daughter, Violet, wasn't one of those shrinking/fainting women that are so often depicted in books from this time period. There's lots of dialogue, and I thought the mystery moved along from one suspect to the next at a pretty good clip. All in all, this old-fashioned mystery is a rollicking fun ride.