*** I received an eARC copy of The Miss Silver Mysteries from Open Road Integrated Media via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ***
I was so excited to see The Miss Silver Mysteries, which contains the first three books in the Miss Silver series on NetGalley! I’ve had a few of the later books in my stacks to read for some time, and I’ve been on the hunt for the first books to read, as I really dislike reading books out of order.
Miss Silver is a classic sleuth, and the books remind me of classic who-dun-it’s, along the line of Agatha Christie: smart sleuthing, clever mysteries, and nasty criminals, with a touch of humor. These mysteries are set in London in the 1930s.
My thoughts on Grey Mask:
The first of the Miss Silver books, Grey Mask was a delight. Miss Silver is actually not in this book all that much, and the narrative really belongs to Charles Moray who returns to London after 4 years of being away after being dumped by his fiancé, Margaret Langton. Charles returns home (literally – he is inside his house with the criminals) to overhear criminal dealings being made, and sees his beloved Margaret involved with the head criminal, who is called “Grey Mask”. I found this label absolutely hilarious. I don’t know what I was expecting “Grey Mask” to refer to, but I assure you that it was definitely not a criminal mastermind who wears a grey mask to hide their identity.
Charles meets up with Margaret to discover what is going on, and hires Miss Silver to help investigate. Besides Charles’ attempts to unveil Grey Mask, there is also a plot involving Margot Standing, whose father has just died, and there is a question of a will, and Margot’s legitimacy, and Margot’s cousin Egbert trying to receive the inheritance. Margot was sweet and naïve, but also extremely vacant and silly. So she was sometimes really annoying to read!
Margot and Margaret’s paths cross, and their plots become intertwined, and since their names are so similar, sometimes this got a bit confusing. But, the mystery was, on a whole, easy to follow, and I was surprised in places, but also saw things coming in other spots.
Since Miss Silver is only in this book briefly, I didn’t get a true sense of her character other than that she was sensible, she liked to knit, and she was smart. And she was always one step ahead of everyone else in the book. Since Grey Mask was first published in 1928, there are a few comments that are a sign of the times, mainly about women. I couldn’t tell if these references were tongue-in-cheek, or if they were serious. I’d like to think tongue-in-cheek, but possibly not.
Bottom Line for Grey Mask: Fun and smart. Good start to the Miss Silver mystery series!
My Thoughts on The Case Is Closed:
Book Two in the Miss Silver books is The Case Is Closed, which focuses on a murder case involving a nephew murdering his uncle and getting convicted of the crime. Geoff is the nephew, who is married to Marion. Marion’s cousin is Hilary, who is determined to prove Geoff’s innocence. Hilary takes her suspicions to her on-again-off-again beau, Captain Henry Cunningham, and he sets Maud Silver on the case.
This was a great little mystery and it was fun to pick apart a court case and to see if I could discover who-dun-it (and why). Miss Silver was in this book a bit more, but not as much as I would’ve liked, and I still was not quite sure of her character and personality.
There seemed to be more action in this book, as Hilary is frequently in the path of danger, and even though she has a temper and sometimes does silly things, her bravery and impulsiveness were fun to read. I liked her very much.
The mystery here was smart, and I enjoyed the different take on figuring out a crime that happened by looking at the court case and re-interviewing witnesses, etc.
Bottom Line for The Case Is Closed: Another fun, smart entry in the Miss Silver Mysteries!
My Thoughts on Lonesome Road:
Book Three of the Miss Silver books is called Lonesome Road and this entry is more of a “closed circle of suspects” mystery. This one focuses on Rachel Treherne, a single woman in her late 30s who is very rich and has stipulations on how to use her money. She becomes aware that someone in her family is trying to kill her, and hires Miss Silver to solve the case.
Miss Silver is more involved in this mystery, and I really enjoyed her in this one. She is more a part of the action and you can see her actively working on the mystery, rather than just coming up with solutions and ideas off the page, like in the other two books.
Lonesome Road seemed to have more characters in it than the other two books, and I had trouble keeping some of the suspects straight. There was also a bit more predictability in this mystery, but I was still surprised in certain spots.
Bottom Line for Lonesome Road: Clever mystery and Miss Silver comes to the rescue again!
My Overall Thoughts:
All in all, I’ve really enjoyed these first three entries in the Miss Silver series. I think the series is definitely a product of its time, especially in the way the women and their romantic relationships are portrayed.
I will say however that I am very glad that I decided to read this series in order, and the reason why is that some of the characters “link” together. For example, the first book is mostly told from the POV of Charles Moray. When you get to the second book, Charles Moray refers one of the characters, Captain Cunningham, to Miss Silver. In book three, Rachel learns about Miss Silver from Hilary who is in the second book. Since this happens in the first three books, I can guess that this might happen in all the rest of the Miss Silver mysteries. Now, none of the actual mysteries are spoiled, so you probably could read these out of order and not have anything ruined, but it was kind of fun to hear mentions of previous characters and “touch base” with them in a way.
I would definitely recommend Miss Silver to those who love classic who-dun-its and for those who enjoy Agatha Christie novels.
Have you read any of the Miss Silver books? Who is your favorite classic sleuth?