RogerBW's Blog

Beware of the Dog, Elizabeth Ferrars 15 November 2023

1992 mystery. Helen Lovelace dies peacefully at eighty-eight. But when her surviving relatives turn up, a glamorous Hollywood star and an Australian businessman, one will soon be shot dead and the other suspected of the murder…

There are missing emeralds (but who knew they were fake?), and a foggy night, and soon enough the housekeeper is near-fatally drugged too. There's a mentally-retarded man who may have attacked the star when they were younger (or did she make it up?). Even more than usual in a murder mystery, there are very few firm facts from which to begin the process of deduction.

And of course this is another Virginia Freer book, so the housekeeper asks her to call in Felix (Virginia's separated husband, still a pathological liar) to try to clear one of the suspects.

It's quite an old-fashioned sort of story, with some distastefully old-fashioned attitudes; but Ferrars was 85 when it came out, and frankly seems to have done a better job of adjusting to modern life than many mystery writers who just keep writing in the setting they know from their youth, with the calendar turned forward a few decades. This book effectively evokes a claustrophobic atmosphere while not actually restricting its characters' movements, which is a neat trick.

This seems to have been the last book Ferrars wrote in the series, and there's no resolution to the matter of Virginia and Felix, but I don't really think there was ever intended to be; for all a more modern series might show slow progress of a relationship, I think to Ferrars they were iconic rather than dramatic characters, always on the outs but never either getting back together or taking steps towards divorce.

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

Previous in series: Frog in the Throat | Series: Virginia Freer

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 crystal 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 2021 hugo 2022 hugo 2023 hugo 2024 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