Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday's Forgotten Books: AN ENGLISH MURDER (1951) by Cyril Hare



AN ENGLISH MURDER by Cyril Hare

This is my first  Cyril Hare murder mystery and it won't be my last. Very straightforward 1951 example of a type of book I'm always in a mood for, Holidays or not. (The copy I have shows a body half hanging out of a window - the murders have nothing to do with windows. Go figure.)

Anyway, in this vintage mystery by an author who I consider borderline famous (in other words, I'd only vaguely heard of him until recently) we have an English Country house estate at Christmas time.

In residence are a dying Lord of the Manor, his heirs and other assorted characters including a certain Dr. Bottwink, a Jewish historian with an observant eye and a taste for 18th century ephemera. There's also an approaching snowstorm guaranteed to keep everyone in situ for several days and, of course, a murderer lurking in the shadows.

All very cozy and dark natured - the way any murderous English plot should be.

What more could you want?

See a full list of Cyril Hare books at this link.

This is my entry in the Friday's Forgotten Books weekly meme usually hosted by Patti Abbott at her blog, PATTINASE. But for the next three weeks, Todd Mason at  his blog, SWEET FREEDOM will be doing the link collecting.  Don't forget to check in later and see what other forgotten books other bloggers are talking about today.

23 comments:

  1. Oooo this sounds right up my alley. I feel an interlibrary loan request coming on...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yvette,

    Thanks for posting the review. I've never heard of him.

    There's nothing that can beat a cold winter night, an easy chair, a cat in the lap, a snifter of brandy, and an English manor house murder mystery.

    I wonder what the local library has on shelf.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lauren: I hope you can find it. Not a great book, but an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. I'll be looking for more of Cyril Hare's work, for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Fred: Definitely! But how about I substitute a chihuahua for the cat?

    I love cats, but unfortunately, in my old age I've become allergic.

    But otherwise, I agree completely. These are the sorts of books perfect for a wintery night. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. You have to love that cover- it's wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Iain: Yes! I love the vintage covers and try to use them as much as I can in my posts. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yvette,

    A chihuahua? Sure, whatever works for you. [g]

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ha!! Rocky thanks you, Fred. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. You say "All very cozy and dark natured - the way any murderous English plot should be."

    This is exactly right. It describes Agatha Christie to a T, as well as lots of other older mystery writers, particularly the British ones.

    Too many reviewers and would-be critics today try to place everyone into one camp or the other. Can't be done.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I hope I can sneak in at least one Cyril Hare book as part of Bev's vintage msytery challenge next year. He isn't reviewed enough on the book blogs and is well worth everyone's time. It's pretty easy to find his books, too. Thanks for bringing him out of the closet so to speak!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I really should finally settle down and actually read a Cyril Hare too - consider me spurned too! - thanks Yvette

    ReplyDelete
  12. Lalapropism corner (must be Friday) - actually, I think I am considering myself 'spurred on' ...

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks, Steve. In these sorts of mysteries, the darkness is all interior - isn't it? The motivations are just as ugly as any gutter crime, only the trappings are more refined.

    ReplyDelete
  14. John: Well, now that I've gotten it started we'll all have to try and do Cyril proud in the New Year. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Well, if you've spurned Cyril Hare in the past, you are now officially spurred on to read him. How's that? :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I don't want to reveal any spoilers and it's been a while since I read this, so my memory may not be perfect, but while the window doesn't play a role in the murder it does play a role in the overall story--right?

    Also, there are some very dark elements to the plot, including Dr. Bottwink who is either a concentration camp survivor and/or lost family members in the Holocaust.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I think the window thing only comes into play as typical English countryhouse French windows. But my copy has a guy hanging out the window which, far as I can remember, has nothing to do with the story. Of course I am plagued with old lady memory, so anything's possible.

    As for Dr. Bottwink, I think he came from Czechoslovakia or Hungary, not sure. He traveled through some other countries on his way to England. It is implied that he has no real country - one assumes from the war years. Don't remember mention of any family being lost in the concentration camps.

    Though it was probably likely.

    I'm sorry guys, but books go in and out of my consciousness rather quickly these days.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I read An English Murder earlier this year and really enjoyed it. This was my first Cyril Hare. I'll definitely be looking for more of his books.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Willow: Me too! He has a couple of series, plus several stand alones.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Yvette,

    Dusky, the Grey Mouser, sends her regrets that your allergy deprives you of companionship with superior beings.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Ha! Rocky and I will try and muddle through - somehow...!

    ReplyDelete
  22. This has long been one of my favourites. Glad to see you posted about it. A good book for cozying up with beside a fireplace with a pot of tea.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I couldn't agree more, Veronica. Thanks for stopping by. :)

    ReplyDelete

Your comment will appear after I take a look.