RogerBW's Blog

A Season for Murder, Ann Granger 23 November 2019

1991 mystery; second of Granger's novels of Chief Inspector Markby and non-detective Meredith Mitchell. Now in a home posting, Mitchell moves to a hamlet in Oxfordshire with plans to commute to London. But the new friend she makes there has a fatal "accident"…

This is still a slow-moving mystery, and an even slower-moving romance; Mitchell is exceedingly prickly, and I sometimes lost my patience with her, though I can at least understand why she feels this way – and indeed some of why she can't bring her diplomatic-service skills into play more effectively.

There's an effective use of red herrings (this is not one of those books about which one can correctly say "well, this person has no other reason to be in the story so they're obviously the murderer") Furthermore, while a nasty-businessman type is repeated from the previous book, at least this incarnation isn't surrounded by people fawning over him and saying how clever he is; there's even some attempt at an explanation of why a strong and independent woman might have been taken in by him.

(V nyfb unir cebsbhaq nqzvengvba sbe Tenatre'f grpuavdhr va qvfthvfvat gur zheqrere nf n cbgragvny ebznagvp sbvy, guhf rkcynvavat jul ur xrrcf gheavat hc rira gubhtu ur'f abg rfcrpvnyyl pbaarpgrq gb gur cybg.)

"She was a real lady and could hold her drink. Never fell over nor anything."

Something done particularly well here is portrayal of the passage of time; Mitchell moves in at the start of the Christmas/New Year break and will be starting work at the end of it, and there's always a sense of just when we are in that two-week span.

The story certainly isn't perfect, but if you're in the mood for some slightly old-fashioned detection (and Granger really isn't comfortable with modern disaffected youth, though she got better at it in her later books; here it's shades of Ellis Peters trying to write without properly understanding) it's a decent choice.

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Previous in series: Say It With Poison | Series: Mitchell and Markby | Next in series: Cold in the Earth

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