Book Review: Miss Christie Regrets: Book 2 of the Hampstead Murders, by Guy Fraser-Sampson

Publisher:  Urbane Books

Publication date:  12th January 2017

miss-christie-regrets-my-review

miss-christe-regrets-kindle-coverMurder, mystery and a touch of political mayhem is unleashed in the outlandishly classic style of author Guy Fraser-Sampson.

Although you would be forgiven for thinking you had physically stepped back in time, this is very much the present day where someone has committed a brutal murder. Yet investigations appear to abandon the familiar reality of crime solving in favour of old school propriety. In fact, the reactions of the characters wouldn’t be out of place on a black and white movie set as police attempt to solve this ‘who and why dunnit’.

The detectives and fellow officers follow the strict protocol of terribly respectable policing and senior officers, at least some of them, are keen on delivering scholarly snippets to their targeted audience by dropping the names of prominent figures from the field of literature or true crime into their briefings. I’m afraid I couldn’t appreciate all of their identities and found myself Googling their existence to help me process their relevance to the story! Despite these curious offerings being wasted on an uncultured being like myself, their inclusion did enhance the reading experience of this unconventional tale.

Meanwhile, the most perfectly respectable love triangle continues with mastermind psychologist/profiler, Peter Collins, trying not to retreat into his Lord Peter Wimsey (A famous Dorothy Sayers fictional detective) persona in times of stress, DCS Karen Willis who on occasion supports the recovery of his ‘condition’ by dressing appropriately to suit that era, and then there’s DCI Bob Sanderson, the romantic interest waiting patiently in the wings and maintaining impeccable behaviour throughout the whole affair.

The most grand thing is that the true culprit doesn’t show their hand for the majority of the inquiry, practically anyone could be the murderer until Agatha Christie’s ‘regrets’ come to light. But if I do have one small grumble it would be the ‘telling’ descriptors tagged onto the dialogue exchanges. While I have no objections to people… musing reflectively, grunting non-committedly, proffering conversationally, or even choking quietly, I’d have preferred if these had been used sparingly. But please, please, please bear in mind this is purely my own personal taste.

With an intriguing scattering of literary musings Miss Christie Regrets is a cultured crime romp with a distinctive time warp twist, where anyone with an avid interest in the golden age of detecting will embrace its mild mannered approach.

Rating: 3/5

(I am grateful to the author and Urbane Books for kindly providing a digital copy of this title ,for which it is my pleasure to provide an unbiased review.)

My review for Death in Profile (Book 1)  can be found here.

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(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

“A neatly lacquered puzzle-box filled with golden-age trickery, as warm and timeless as crumpets and honey; a murder to curl up by the fire with on a winter’s night” – Christopher Fowler, author of the bestselling Bryant and May mysteries.

The second in the Hampstead Murders series opens with a sudden death at an iconic local venue, which some of the team believe may be connected with an unsolved murder featuring Cold War betrayals worthy of George Smiley. It soon emerges that none other than Agatha Christie herself may be the key witness who is able to provide the missing link.

As with its bestselling predecessor, Death in Profile, the book develops the lives and loves of the team at ‘Hampstead Nick’. While the next phase of a complicated love triangle plays itself out, the protagonists, struggling to crack not one but two apparently insoluble murders, face issues of national security in working alongside Special Branch.

On one level a classic whodunit, this quirky and intelligent read harks back not only to the world of Agatha Christie, but also to the Cold War thrillers of John Le Carre, making it a worthy successor to Death in Profile which was dubbed ‘a love letter to the detective novel’.

BUY THE BOOK

miss-christie-regrets-author-profile

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

GUY FRASER-SAMPSON is an established writer, previously best known for his ‘Mapp and Lucia’ novels, which have been featured on BBC Radio 4 and optioned by BBC television. His debut work of detective fiction, Death in Profile, the first in the Hampstead Murders series has drawn high praise from fellow crime writers as well as from readers on both sides of the Atlantic.

TWITTER   |   WEBSITE   |   PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

 

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