RogerBW's Blog

Death on the Agenda, Patricia Moyes 09 May 2020

1962 mystery, third in the series about Chief Inspector Henry Tibbett. Tibbett is in Geneva for a conference on drug-smuggling, and his wife has joined him for a holiday. One of the staff is killed in a place that very few people could have reached, and Tibbett becomes the prime suspect.

All right, if you're like me you'll spot a certain obvious thing about the setup, and the whole thing will unravel. Which is perhaps a pity, because I think a certain character was intended to be seen as probably innocent for most of the book, while I found their guilt so apparent that I wasn't thrown by the sudden reversal when it was revealed.

There are some characters back from Dead Men Don't Ski, and more generally an atmosphere of internationalism that's typical in the British authors of this period who get outside the UK at all; it's not that things are better in Foreign Parts, it's that they're just a bit less tired and worn-out than they are at home.

Which doesn't stop us from having a rich playboy and his very accommodating wife, a dubious lawyer surely modelled on Joel Cairo, and a variety of other dodgy people who might have been involved in something even if they couldn't have committed the murder themselves. Because someone has also been leaking the confidential proceedings of the conference to the criminals. Maybe that was the motive? Or maybe the victim's rather too-active social life might have played a part.

Tibbett's process of solving the mystery is contrasted once more with that of a foolish local policeman (which I suppose works better than having a recurring Watson), though some of his other behaviour seemed rather beyond the pale for a character meant to be sympathetic. Apart from that, I rather enjoyed this one.

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See also:
Dead Men Don't Ski, Patricia Moyes

Previous in series: The Sunken Sailor | Series: Henry Tibbett | Next in series: Murder a la Mode

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