Thursday, March 6, 2014
In the seven years I've been blogging, I don't think I've ever mentioned the fact that I love mysteries.Perhaps I've felt a bit frivolous after reading the book lists, filled with deeply spiritual tomes, of other bloggers. I do read those books. Nevertheless, I confess. The only thing I like better than a good cozy mystery is a good cozy mystery series.
My shelves are filled with Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, Katherine Hall Page, Alexander McCall Smith to name a few. Some of them are brand new hard covers and others are paperbacks whose pages have yellowed with age. All of them dear friends.
I love searching through used books stores for the old mysteries that have been relegated to the clearance tables or piled in corners to collect dust. One of my best finds was a full dozen Anne Morice mysteries. I nearly did cartwheels in the aisles. I love Anne Morice!
It isn't easy to find her books any more. She was born in 1918 and died in 1989. Her first mystery, "Death in the Grand Manor" was published in 1970. She went on to write twenty-two more Tessa Crichton mysteries. Did I mention the fact that I especially love British cozy mysteries? Anne Morice perfectly fits the bill.
The heroine/sleuth is a young actress named Tessa Chrichton. Tessa is married to Robin, a detective with the British C.I.D., which comes in very handy when you are forever tripping over dead bodies.
Tessa tells the stories in her own delightfully witty way. It isn't unusual to find yourself chuckling while reading about the death of the old Nannie. She has a definite way with words.
I just reread for the I don't know how many times "Nursery Tea and Poison." It loses none of its charm in the retelling.
On a visit to her godmother Serena Hargrave's home, Tessa finds herself in the middle of family upheaval. Pelham Hargrave, twin brother of Serena's late husband, has returned to England with a very young and rather neurotic bride. Has he some darker motive for returning after all these years than merely visiting the old estate?
Serena's ungainly daughter has harbored resentment for years over the loss of what she considered to be her rightful inheritance. She is decidedly unhappy when the heir and his young wife return.
At the very center of all the trouble, ensconced in her nursery suite upstairs, is Nannie. She rules the household, has for three generations, and is the keeper of far too many secrets. She tries desperately to reveal the darkest of those secrets to Tessa with her dying breath.
Someone has poisoned poor, old Nannie, and before Tessa, with Robin's help, can unravel the mystery a member of the family is found shot to death.
Morice gives us plenty of cleverly placed clues and any number of suspects, but it's never easy to figure out whodunit.
If you're looking for a well written mystery series, I highly recommend this one. You may have to do a bit of detective work yourself to find them, but it is absolutely worth the effort.