First sentence: It was past midnight, and the people who lived in the cottages that clustered round the triangular green had long since gone to bed and to sleep.
Premise/plot: You know how some murder mysteries seem to take forever before the body appears and the detectives arrive? Not Death in the Stocks. Within the first two pages we have a corpse: Arnold Vereker. He was found stabbed to death in the village stocks. How peculiar indeed. He only comes down to the village occasionally on weekends--usually with a woman. His family isn't surprised that he's dead. He wasn't well-loved--or even liked. It could even be likely--in terms of motive--that one of his own family did the crime.
Throughout the novel readers get a chance to know his family quite well: Antonia, "Tony," and her brother, Kenneth. Giles Carrington, their cousin and lawyer. Tony is engaged to a man who was pilfering money from Arnold Vereker's company. Kenneth is engaged to a gold digger. No doubt the inspectors soon realize this family is CRAZY ECCENTRIC. But is anyone in the family capable of murder?
My thoughts: I loved, loved, loved this one. I believe this was my second time to read this one. I love the characters. I love the dialogue. I love the pacing. It was just a delight to spend time with the characters.
- And I have one of those cast-iron alibis which I understand render one instantly suspect.
- 'People who start a sentence with personally (and they're always women) ought to be thrown to the lions. It's a repulsive habit.'
- 'Whatever will you say next, Miss Tony? Your own brother too, as wouldn't hurt a fly.' 'If you had a fly-swotting competition, he'd win it.' Antonia replied sensibly.
- 'She can't possibly not talk at all, Kenneth,' said Antonia reasonably. 'What he means is, Don't talk Art.' 'Thank you. I'm quite aware that nobody but Kenneth knows anything about Art.'
- 'My fiancee says it's such a rotten story you're bound to believe it. She ought to know. She reads about seven detective thrillers a week, so she's pretty well up on crime.'
- 'That boy is either an incorrigibly truthful young ass, or a brilliantly clever actor.'
- 'Obviously if you were clever enough to commit a murder and plant yourself down in the murdered man's house afterwards you ought to have told as many people as you could that you were going down to have it out with Arnold. No one'd believe you killed him after that.'
- 'But I don't like policemen. Some people feel the same about cats. Always know the instant one comes into the room, and begin to get creepy. Not that I've any objection to cats, mind you. Far from it. In fact, if I had to be bothered with any sort of animal, I think I should choose a cat.'
- If there's one thing that wears me out quicker than anything it's having to choose a lot of food for someone else to eat.
© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews