Watson's Choice by Gladys Mitchell

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Watson's Choice by Gladys Mitchell

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Category: Crime
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: First published in 1955 and having the air of a period piece rather than feeling dated, this makes for a good read - particularly if you're interested in Sherlock Holmes.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: October 2011
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 978-0099548591

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Sir Bohun (that's pronounced 'Boon', in case you're wondering) Chantrey is not the brightest or most sensitive of men, but Sherlock Holmes is one of his great passions in life. To celebrate the great man's anniversary he throws a party at which the guests are invited to come as characters from the stories. Our heroine, Mrs Bradley, and her secretary Laura Menzies are among the guests but not everyone there is interested in Sherlock Holmes. Quite a few are interested in Chantrey's money and his announcement that he is to marry his poverty-stricken nursery governess provokes anger in certain quarters. Then the Hound of the Baskervilles makes an unscheduled appearance...

The book was first published in 1955 and it's very much in the style of Agatha Christie – although, in fairness, the plots of most of Gladys Mitchell's books are rather more complex. Nearly sixty years on there is the feeling that this is a period piece, but it still makes for a good read and I certainly had someone else chalked in for the murder of the said poverty-stricken nursery governess, who had quite a few skeletons concealed in her closet. Red herrings abound and most people would be grateful that Mrs Bradley was not investigating their lives.

Female characters come off the page fully formed, but the males tend to blend into each other with the exception of Chantrey's half-Spanish or -Mexican (we never do find out which) illegitimate son. For a while I thought this might detract from my enjoyment of the book but once I allowed myself to go with the flow of the story it ceased to matter over much. It's about eighteen months since I read Death at the Opera and whilst I didn't enjoy this book quite as much I read it in a couple of sittings and would happily read more.

We've seen rather a lot of books featuring Sherlock Holmes of late and it seems that one of the best Arthur Conan Doyle creations Brigadier Gerard being completely overlooked. For more from Gladys Mitchell we can recommend Death and the Maiden.

Buy Watson's Choice by Gladys Mitchell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Watson's Choice by Gladys Mitchell at Amazon.co.uk

Buy Watson's Choice by Gladys Mitchell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Watson's Choice by Gladys Mitchell at Amazon.com.


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