Genre: Mystery, Classic Murder Mystery
Setting: A small village in England, probably during the early 1940s. Blackouts are mentioned in the book, and the book was first published in 1943.
***I received a copy of Death of a Busybody from the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, via NetGalley***
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Review: A good, solid mystery with enjoyable characters! Death of a Busybody by George Bellairs was a lot of fun. It’s set in a small village, and I just love a small village mystery. One in which all of the characters know each other, and everyone has secrets. It’s one of my favorite mystery settings, and Death of a Busybody didn’t disappoint!
The strength of a small village mystery lies in the characters, and I especially liked the vicar, the Reverend Ethelred Claplady, with his kind heart and love of bees. I also really enjoyed the local law, P.C. Sam Harriwinkle, with his do-good attitude and penchant to always be around when someone was cooking something yummy. You can’t have a small village mystery without the bumbling local law and the village vicar! You also have to have the usual suspects of unsavory characters wandering about the town as well. It was fun to meet everyone, good and bad. The lead character, Inspector Thomas Littlejohn, was likeable and talented, with a knack for popping up when he was most needed!
In terms of the mystery, it was fairly standard, nothing too flashy or convoluted. The pace started out good, and then it lagged a bit, but then it clicked along to the end. I did figure out one of the clues before it was revealed, but that didn’t hamper my enjoyment of this little mystery.
George Bellairs wrote 57 (!) books starring Littlejohn, and I’d like to read more of his adventures. Littlejohn was a capable inspector, who didn’t overshadow the mystery. I believe that Death of a Busybody is actually book 3 of the Littlejohn books, but I don’t think you need to read these books in order. I didn’t get the sense that I was missing anything, and I don’t know how many of the books are actually still being published. Sounds like most of these books might be a library sale treasure hunt! Death of a Busybody is actually just being republished now, and there is another recent publication, which is two books in one: The Dead Shall Be Raised and Murder of a Quack.
One aspect to Death of a Busybody that I really liked was at the end of the book, you really got a sense of closure to the mystery. Bellairs explains what happens to basically everyone that was a player in the plot, and this was nice to read. You find out what happens to the bad guys, and what happens to peripheral characters. No wondering what happened to so-and-so here!
Bottom Line: An enjoyable mystery with a classic feel and a charming setting.
How does this mystery sound? Do you love a small village mystery? What is your favorite mystery setting? Which is your favorite small village character?
*** I am away from my blog for a bit, as I’m off in the woods without any internet, so it may take a few days for me to respond to comments! But I will respond!***