Private detective and poet Nigel Strangeways is invited to address the Maiden Astbury literary society. The picturesque Dorset town is home to Bunnett's Brewery, run by the much disliked, and feared, Eustace Bunnett and shortly before Nigel's visit, Bunnett's dog Truffles, was found dead in one of the brewery's vats.
The culprit was never caught - although there was no shortage of suspects - but when a body is then found in the same vat, boiled down to its bones, Nigel is called into action to help capture the killer.The third book in the Nigel Strangeways series, this is a gloriously inventive, puzzling and witty investigation to delight all fans of classic crime.
Cecil Day-Lewis (1904–1972) was an Irish-born poet. He was Poet Laureate for Britain from 1968 until his death in 1972 and, under the pseudonym Nicholas Blake, a mystery writer. He is the father of actor Daniel Day-Lewis and documentary filmmaker and television chef Tamasin Day-Lewis. He wrote twenty detective novels as Nicholas Blake, most of them featuring Nigel Strangeways, a charming amateur sleuth who uses literary references to solve mysteries. The novels follow Strangeways’ story from his idealistic early days, through the darker days of World War II and the death of his wife, to the more self-aware stories of the 1950s and 1960s.
"Blake's resourceful and well-read amateur investigator Nigel Strangeways is a distinctive sleuth, inveigling his way into the trust of his suspects via a loquacious charm." (The Times)
"A master of detective fiction" (Daily Telegraph)
"His plots are ingenious" (Times Literary Supplement)
"The Nicholas Blake books are something quite by themselves in English detective fiction." (Elizabeth Bowen)
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An intriguing story - but an irritating reading
This is an excellent story with lots of period detail and local colour. The solution is a little obvious from the mid-point but this does not detract from the denoument and the detective's explanation of the crime.
The reading, however, is full of irritating idiosyncrasies particularly the strange, halting delivery with which is quite effective in the dialogue but otherwise disrupts the flow and obscures the meaning of many passages. Also, for a story set in Dorset, it is confusing that almost everyone speaks with a Northcountry accent.
There are also some editing defects at intervals with short passages repeated.