Many British Classics are being brought back into print by Poisoned Pen press. I reviewed Sussex Downs Murder earlier on the blog. All these mysteries are set in the golden era of detective fiction, between 1920 and 1940. I liked Sussex Downs but it was a bit too gory. I am not sure if other books in the series will be equally so.
The Hog’s Back mystery is set in a sleepy village in Surrey in the English countryside. Inspector French from Scotland yard wracks his brain to solve a complex puzzle of a mystery and takes us along. There are different styles of writing. In Poirot books, the story is given importance. We read about the characters as they go about their job. And we read about Poirot and Hastings as they follow the trail. Although there is a stress on the little grey cells, we are not really privy to the different twists and turns of the sleuth’s mind. Not so here. It is like being included in each and every thought of Inspector French. And that is a novel experience for a mystery reader.
If you are into the mystery genre, there is not much you can find fault with. Two women visit their friend/ sister in a small village. Julia, the hostess is not getting on well with her husband. Marjorie the sister and Ursula the friend discuss this. Then one fine day the husband disappears. Was he taken forcibly, or did he go of his own free will? There are absolutely no clues and it is like hitting a blank wall. Enter Scotland Yard’s Inspector French.
We meet other characters like some neighbors and friends. The wheels of the law are set in motion. Painstaking ground work leads to almost no clues until another person disappears. Not there is almost no doubt that some foul play is on.
I enjoyed reading the book. At times, I was overwhelmed with all the questions, the alternate courses of action, going down one logical path only to be unsuccessful. I think I would have enjoyed reading a bit more about the characters rather than just the machinations of the detective’s mind. But I am being critical because the book is good.
There is a whole bunch of these mysteries released and I am sure they are all going to transform me into mystery lover heaven. A must read!!