Murder at Maybridge CastleCrime, Mystery
It's Christmas 1937 and an eclectic list of guests and staff have gathered for the grand re-opening of Maybridge castle, a newly renovated yet still crumbling hotel deep in the Cumbrian countryside. They are:
The ex-socialite owner
The Doctor and his new wife
The stylish journalist
The know-all housekeepers
The still-grieving widower and his son
The tarot readers
The passionate academic
The persistent investigative reporter
The elder amateur sleuth, and her cat
An innocent game of murder-in-the-dark will turn into a real game of life and death. And by the time the first sherries have been drunk, one of these people will be dead - and one of them the killer. Someone has changed the rules, but who?
I really liked Ada Moncrieff’s past Christmas mysteries, because they were fun, a little bit classic (a country house mystery, no less, for the first one!) and easy to read. They weren’t too surprising in terms of methods and motives, but it’s sometimes enjoyable to just settle into a story where you know the rough shape of it, and let it unfold.
Along much the same lines, I enjoyed Murder at Maybridge Castle, though I feel like there was maybe a little something that didn’t work for me here. Maybe it’s just comparison with how quickly I read her other books, or maybe it’s the particular cast of characters — I don’t quite know. This one does also feature a repeat character, unlike before: Daphne King returns, with a wealth of references to characters we don’t see on the page, leaving me grasping to try and remember the details. I found that a bit offputting, to be honest.
The mystery itself unfolded more or less as I predicted, but I did enjoy the character of Mrs Threwley, and there were nice little moments of characterisation and dialogue that made things feel a bit more alive (such as the interaction between the father and son duo, and Mrs Threwley’s genuine care for her cat, Duke).
So in the end, it was fun, but I’m not quite as enthused as with previous years’ mysteries from Moncrieff. Which will in no way stop me trying out another, should she continue in this vein.