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by Catherine Aird Pseud pse

  • ISBN: 1601870248
  • Category: Thriller & Mystery
  • Author: Catherine Aird Pseud pse
  • Subcategory: Mystery
  • Other formats: doc lrf lit txt
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Rue Morgue Press (June 1, 2008)
  • Pages: 160 pages
  • FB2 size: 1667 kb
  • EPUB size: 1172 kb
  • Rating: 4.4
  • Votes: 357
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The owners of Ornum Hall have fallen on hardtimes, so every Sunday they open the doors to their stately home of some 300 rooms to the paying public. When murder strikes, Inspector Sloan of the Calleshire C.I.D. grabs his Burke's Peerage and heads out to find out who stuffed a body in a knight's armor. The third--and funniest--of the Callehsire Chronicles.
Reviews about The Stately Home Murder (Rue Morgue Classic British Mysteries) (7):
Catherine Aird had a sly, ironic sense of humor that lightens all of her novels, but I found it very pronounced in The Stately Home Murder. It is obvious from the title where the murder takes place. At the time, the house is filled with a bus load of tourists and a house full of eccentric family. Sloan and his irrepressible subordinate find the killer through painstaking police work and logic. Ms. Aird wrote very professionally, and effectively and it is fun to try and catch all the bits of humor she slips into the conversations and the mind of the often put-upon Sloan. If you are looking for a thriller or a fast paced story with violence you will be disappointed, but if you enjoy a well written story with tongue-in-cheek British humor I highly recommend you give C. D. Sloan and Ms. Aird a try.
This book is the third in Catherine Aird's 'Inspector C. D. Sloan' police procedurals, and was originally published in 1969. My husband and I both enjoyed these ingenious British mysteries starring Inspector C.D. Sloan and his clueless side-kick, Detective-Constable Crosby, and "The Stately Home Murder" is one of our favorites.

These mysteries are set in the fictional County of Calleshire, England which very much resembles the County of Kent where Catherine Aird (the pseudonym of novelist Kinn Hamilton McIntosh) lives. The acerbic Dr. Dabbe, Calleshire's pathologist first makes his appearance in book 1, "The Religious Body" and I can't help wondering if this fictional physician was modelled after Aird's own father, a doctor whose practice she assisted in.

In "The Stately Home Murder," the Earl of Ornum upon finding himself short of cash has opened his castle to hordes of curious sightseers, including a bored little boy who sneaks off by himself and lifts the visor on a suit of armor...one of my favorite parts of this book is the discussion on how to insert a corpse into a suit of armor, and equally important, how the police are going to de-suit the corpse without destroying any evidence:

"Dr. Dabbe [the pathologist] was engaged in contemplating the armor rather as an inexperienced diner pauses before he makes his first foray into a lobster."

Naturally, there's a ghost: a judge who hanged the wrong man. The Ornum portrait gallery contains an oil painting of the judge by Hans Holbein, popularly known as "The Black Death." Legend has it that "whenever a member of the family is about to die, the Judge walks abroad.” So when the elderly Lady Alice spotted the Judge as she was going upstairs to get dressed for dinner, she knew someone was going to die.

This is not the clue that Inspector Sloan was hoping for when he interviewed the old lady. Aird has a wonderful ear for dialog, and Sloan vs. Lady Alice is one of my favorites.

I can highly recommend this series.
Yes, that is a corset cover on the armor on the cover. This is just another example of the understated and slightly wry humor that pervades Aird's mysteries, which would be sraightforward police procedurals without it. The varying contributions of Leeyes, Sloan and Crosby help to lighten what are actually very tightly plotted stories in which the procedure of the police is followed with close attention and very believable detail
Ms. Aird is a master at creating interesting, well-rounded characters and interesting plots. The continuing characters surprise us with behavior consistent with previously displayed personalities, but with new little quirks that keep me interested. I wonder from one book to the next what new night class Superintendent Leeyes will have taken, and how that will result in new and hilarious misinterpretations.
Catherine Aird has been overlooked, which is a shame. She consistently wrote literate, witty and clever mysteries of the sort that gave an English Cozy Murder a good name.

A sprawling country home has converted most of its ground floor into a tourist attraction so the Earl and his Countess can pay the punishing Inland Revenue taxes. Obnoxious Michael Fisher is with his mother in their tour, and he discovers a body in one of the suits of armor. DI Sloan is called in, assisted by his only occasionally perceptive constable Crosby, and it is Sloan who must determine why the librarian has been killed and stuffed into the suit. Aird plays wittily with the separation of the classes (aristocrats and the rest of us), with Sloan's overbearing and clueless superior, and with the motives for murder where the butler may have done it--or maybe it is the ne'er do well nephew, the slightly forlorn daughter, the business manager, the crazy aunts or even the handyman/groundskeeper. There are the references to the classical education of English private schools, the difficulty of maintaining appearances and required noblesse oblige of the aristocracy.

The pleasure of the book is less who-done-it than in the perceptive, dry detective plagued with more than his share of burdens and the light and comfortable tone maintained by a skilled author who is having a really good time with her story. This is a lovely way to spend a cup of tea, a couple of biscuits and a rainy afternoon.
This was my first Catherine Aird book, and i was pleased. It was well-written and nicely plotted. I particularly liked the fact that it was straightforward mystery. No irrelevant filler about the detectives' private lives nor long descriptions of scenery. Despite this, she succeeds in capturing character and landscape. A good light read.
I like many of Catherine Airs mysteries but this was predictable and very dull. I do have to say that the author used so many words I didn't know that I was grateful for the Kindle so I could look the words up easily. This was a first for me. I can't say that I will remember these esoteric words, but it was an activity that I was grateful for since the story was too dull.
I enjoyed the humor between the detective and sergeant. A good mystery, although not deep like Deborah Crombie or Ruth Rendell. But very enjoyable. I plan to read them all, now that I have discovered this unlikely pair of police officers and their boss.

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