this is the 167th in my series of seldom read or forgotten books
Watson’s Choice by Gladys Mitchell, London: Michael Joseph, 1955
After reading a review – or at least a mention – of this on a blog recently, for one of Patti Abbott’s Friday Forgotten Book sets of posts, I thought I hadn’t read one of Mitchell’s books in a very long time and so should do so.
This is a Golden Age type mystery story, in which Mitchell’s series protagonist, Mrs Bradley, investigates the murder of a young woman following a Sherlock Holmes themed party in a country house.
One of Sir Bohun Chantrey’s great passions in life is the stories of Sherlock Holmes. To celebrate the great man’s anniversary, he throws a party at which the guests are instructed to come as characters from the detective stories. But several of the guests, particularly relatives, are more interested in Sir Bohun’s money. When he announces that he is to marry a poor governess, there is both surprise and consternation.
During a mystery hunt, in which guests roam from room to room searching for items which appear in Holmes stories, people roam into almost every room, making their whereabouts impossible to track later. Soon afterwards the body of the governess is found in an abandoned railway station, and the events of that night hold the clue to her murder. Mrs Bradley, and her secretary Laura, are amongst the guests and investigate the deepening mystery.
The book, by the way, concern’s Watson in only the most vague way. I liked it well enough, though I thought the ending somewhat pale.