RogerBW's Blog

Season of Snows and Sins, Patricia Moyes 21 November 2022

1971 mystery, tenth in the series about Superintendent Henry Tibbett. Recent widow Jane Weston goes to live in a small Swiss village; her housekeeper is accused of murdering her unfaithful husband, and Jane's evidence helps to get her convicted. Then the Tibbetts turn up to visit…

This is a story told from multiple viewpoints, the first time Moyes has done one of these – and it works, even as it flirts with unreliable narration. Each of the narrators, Jane herself, Emmy Tibbett, and Sylvie Claudet, whom Jane runs into at a ski class but who turns out to be the wife of an up-and-coming French politician, tells things in their own way and with their own biases, though never to the extent of actual falsehood – and we even get their impressions of each other.

Of course we get the usual biases of the time, with Tibbett clearly regarding a married couple who don't share a surname as a bit dodgy at best, and probably dissolute. But I suspect Moyes herself had less of a problem with this than her characters do; the narrative appears at first to be dealing with the lifestyles of drug-addled celebrities, then takes a much darker turn, with a strong suggestion that, whatever someone has done, the rich will always regard closing ranks to outsiders as far more important than justice.

There is perhaps a bit of a slow start, establishing various personalities of the village, and much of this ends up being irrelevant. From the return of the Tibbetts things pick up a bit, in part because rather than experience things happening gradually, Henry arrives suddenly in the unfortunate situation, and his instinct for justice is aroused.

The multiple narratives allow for even more impressions of people than usual, and that's Moyes' real strength: yes, there's a gesture towards a puzzle of timetables and travel, but the point of this story is less who could have done the deed and more who would have, who was the sort of person who would see murder as the best solution to their problems.

I continue to regard Moyes as a forgotten treasure of English mystery fiction.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

Previous in series: Who Saw Her Die? | Series: Henry Tibbett | Next in series: The Curious Affair of the Third Dog

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2022 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1