ffb: Watson’s Choice by Gladys Mitchell

this is the 167th in my series of seldom read or forgotten books

Watson’s Choice by Gladys Mitchell, London: Michael Joseph, 1955

watsons choiceAfter 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.


About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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9 Responses to ffb: Watson’s Choice by Gladys Mitchell

  1. I read WATSON’S CHOICE ages ago. I remember liking it. I also have a couple more Gladys Mitchell mysteries that I haven’t gotten around to read yet.

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I remember picking this one to read (I had the Penguin edition) for the Sherlockian connection, as I was raeding a lot of thse books then. I thought it was OK but wasn’t taken with it enough to read another. But this was 1976 so the details are sketchy.

  3. Richard says:

    Jeff, I thought you remembered everything, all the time, so I’m shocked at your statement. Still, almost 40 years ago is a long time.

  4. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I do remember a lot, that’s true. And I remember reading it and thinking it was (as Marv Lachman would say) good but not great. I’m not a big fan of Mrs. Bradley.

  5. Richard says:

    Ah. I’m not sure I’ll seek out more, myself.

  6. Steve Lewis says:

    I’ve read only one or two Mrs Bradley stories myself, so what I know about them is mostly hearsay. But I’ve been told that the quality of them varies all over the place. I’m also sketchy on the details, but I have a feeling that the ones I’ve read (not this one) were not among the better ones.

  7. Richard says:

    Steve, I’d probably classify this one as an average classic period mystery by a second tier author, which may not be fair to Mitchell, but communicates the quality fairly.

  8. fence says:

    I’ve never read anything by Mitchell; this series looks interesting, although average and second tier doesn’t make me want to rush out looking for it. Maybe I’ll stick with Sayers when I next feel the need for a detective story 🙂

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