Friday, March 2, 2012

Green December Grows the Graveyard


That's an awesome title for a book, isn't it?  However,Rue Morgue published this books as Murder at Shots Hall, due to the owner's belief that the original title was “too literary” and did not ignite much public interest at initial publication.

Personally, I think the original title far superior to the pedestrian “Murder at …,” but others may disagree.  One of the characters in the book, an ancient gardener named Harry, utters the phrase as a warning which made me think that it might be an aphorism from English folklore or a bit of poetry, but an internet search turned up nothing.  If anyone can enlighten me on this point, I’d be grateful.

On to the book.   Flikka Ashley is a sculptor with (as the Brits would say) a chequered past.  She lives with her Aunt Bee at Shots Hall where they are attended by faithful retainers, who begin to die at an alarming rate.  All the evidence points to Flikka, but the local doctor and Inspector Parry of Scotland Yard are not convinced.  A great deal of the book is devoted to Flikka’s possible motives and opportunities for doing away with the family servants, and other plausible suspects and motives are in short supply.  I’m afraid I guessed the murderer in this one, strictly on the basis of it being the least likely person with no apparent motive.  However, I would still recommend the book as I found Inspector Parry a very likeable detective.  Sadly, Sarsfied wrote only one other detective novel before vanishing into thin air.  Why she quit writing is a mystery that remains unsolved

Maureen Sarsfield is an entry in the Golden Age Girls category of Bev's Mystery Challenge.  Sadly, I could not find a picture of Ms. Sarsfield, but here is an interesting, if brief, bio from Rue Morgue Press.

1 comment:

  1. I managed to get my hands on this one when our library picked up the Rue Morgue Press copies of it. I thoroughly enjoyed it and wish she'd been able (or inclined) to produce more.