Who Killed The Curate?
by Joan CogginGenres: Crime, Mystery
Meet Lady Lupin Lorimer Hastings, the young, lovely, scatterbrained and kind-hearted newlywed wife to Andrew, the vicar of St Marks parish in Glanville, Sussex. When it comes to matters clerical, she is rather at sea. Nevertheless, she is determined to make her husband proud of her.... or at least not to embarrass him too badly.
When, on Christmas Eve, Andrew's unpopular, blackmailing curate gets himself murdered, things all get a bit (hilariously) overwhelming for poor out-of-her-depth Lady Lupin:
"Who was in your sitting room during that interval? Say four-thirty on Tuesday, and ten or eleven yesterday morning?"
"If you had ever lived in a vicarage you wouldn't ask questions like that; people just walk in and out all day long. When Andrew asked me to marry him, he said he was afraid I should find it very quiet here, and what he meant I can't imagine! If I wanted quiet I'd rather retire to the Tower of Babel with a saxophone."
Lupin enlists old society pals Duds and Tommy Lethbridge, as well as Andrew's nephew, a British secret service agent, to get at the truth. Lupin refuses to believe that Diana Lloyd, 38-year-old author of the children's detective stories, could've done the deed and casts her net over the other parishioners. But all the suspects seem so nice - very much more so than the victim.
I was hoping to enjoy Who Killed The Curate?, which is a Christmas mystery by Joan Coggin reissued by Galileo Publishers. I’d hoped to find some more fun classic crime fiction by checking out the books reissued by them, but in this one at least I was pretty disappointed.
It starts out hopefully, with a witty playfulness about it, but it quickly becomes apparent that it’s all going to be that way — and that in part it’s going to be that way at the expense of the characters, particularly Lupin, the female lead. She’s quite silly, gets herself in ridiculous and unlikely tangles, and for someone with second-hand embarrassment issues, it was absolutely excruciating. Would you really get godfather and grandfather mixed up, so totally you don’t actually know the difference between them? And not just that, but also guys and guides? And just making totally inappropriate conversation everywhere —
All of that made it decidedly unenjoyable to me, unfortunately. If you have a bit of a thicker skin you might make more of it, but I just couldn’t get myself past Lupin in order to enjoy anything else.