When Simon Hannaford is left temporarily in charge of his aunt's 20-bedroom Gothic pile he knows he must be able to make a profit from it somehow. Murder, he decides, is the only way to do it. For Madingley Grange is the perfect venue for a 1930s mystery weekend and, before long, he and his long-suffering sister have set the stage for money ...
When Simon Hannaford is left temporarily in charge of his aunt's 20-bedroom Gothic pile he knows he must be able to make a profit from it somehow. Murder, he decides, is the only way to do it. For Madingley Grange is the perfect venue for a 1930s mystery weekend and, before long, he and his long-suffering sister have set the stage for money-spinning mayhem. From the conservatory to the contents of the claret cellar the clues are sprinkled like pot pourri, and the hired retainers Gaunt and Bennet provide the finishing touch. But when the guests arrive it is obvious that the business of murder is bound to run off course. For neither Derek, who refuses to relinquish his deerstalker, nor Mrs Gibbs, a card-sharping grandmother, nor Gillette, the 30s fiend complete with ukelele, nor any of the other ill-assorted bunch is happy to play the victim. And when a body does appear, it hardly takes a Hercule Poirot to guess it is not a volunteer. The game of detection must begin in earnest.
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Publishers Weekly, 1990-11-02 A game of murder in an English country house appears headed for the real thing in this lumbering attempt at a romp. Simon Hannaford and his sister Laurie are left in charge of their aunt's estate near Oxford while she travels abroad; to settle some debts, Simon decides to sponsor a murder-mystery weekend for well-paying guests. Those who sign on include mystery aficionado Derek Gregory; his wife, Sheila; and snooty Mrs. Laetitia Saville with her daughter Rosemary, who are appalled by the wealthy but common gypsy family Gibbs--Fred, Vi and Mother Gibbs. It soon appears that everyone at Madingley Grange has arrived with ulterior motives, including the temp-service staff who are casing the place with an eye to burglary. When Derek is chosen victim, much to his voluble distaste, and then is found actually murdered the next day, Simon and Laurie's problems really begin. While Graham ( Death of a Hollow Man ) does give us the outline of a classic country house mystery, this is not Wodehouse-meets-Christie material, lacking the essential wit and complexity of both masters. Mystery Guild alternate. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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