"Books Fall Open, You Fall In"
I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars.
I received this book free from NetGalley.
Seven people might have murdered Eric Crowther, the mysterious recluse who lived in the gaunt house whose shadow fell across the White Cottage. Seven people had good cause. It was not lack of evidence that sent Detective Chief Inspector Challenor and his son Jerry half across Europe to unravel a chaos of clues.
Not long ago, I found a few podcasts that play those old time radio mystery theater shows. Since then I have listened to quite a few and really enjoy them. This book kind of reminds me of those. Margery Allingham is known as one of the truly great mystery writers of the Golden Age and it is easy to see why.
The White Cottage is a short story. It was a little slow in the beginning and I will admit that it didn’t initially draw me in. After the first two chapters though, I couldn’t stop and finished it in just a couple hours. Once I was able to establish who all the characters were (there were quite a few) it was easy for me to get lost in the story. The thing I especially liked about this book is how Inspector Challenor focused on each character, went over their motive and probability of having committed the crime, and then ruled them out one by one. There were definitely enough suspects to keep you guessing and right up until the reveal, I had not been able to figure out who it was.
The one thing that was bothersome for me was the Inspectors son, Jerry. An ok character for the most part, he would annoy me at times with his insistence that the killer couldn’t be the girl he was smitten with, because, well, he liked her. A girl he barely knew and had just recently met. It also bothered me that he wanted his dad to give up the case and not bother finding out who did it all because there is a point when his dad suspects the woman of the murder. Luckily this wasn’t annoying enough to kill the story though. Just something I found slightly irritating.
Because it is a short story, character development is lacking. Something to be aware of if you are big on that. Personally it didn’t bother me too much since there really isn’t time to develop them completely. This is actually the first book of Allingham’s I had ever read, but I will definitely be reading more from this author.
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