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An English Murder

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  491 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Warbeck Hall is an old-fashioned English country house and the scene of equally English murders.

All the classic ingredients are there: Christmas decorations, tea and cake, a faithful butler, a foreigner, snow falling and an interesting cast of characters thrown together.

The murders and detective work are far from conventional though ...
Mass Market Paperback, Perennial Library P455, 175 pages
Published August 24th 1978 by Harper & Row, Publishers (first published 1951)
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Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha ChristieThe Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha ChristieCupcakes, Paws, and Bad Santa Claus by Pamela DuMondThe Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle by Arthur Conan DoyleThe Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers
Christmas Mysteries
79th out of 265 books — 104 voters
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha ChristieThe Hollow by Agatha Christie4 by Agatha ChristieThe Body in the Library by Agatha ChristieThe Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne
Country House Mystery
30th out of 37 books — 15 voters


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Community Reviews

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Miriam
Oct 29, 2012 Miriam rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
I wasn't sure what to think when I read a British mystery written in 1951 that actually acknowledges that the Holocaust happened and even includes a sympathetic Jewish character. It was refreshing to read a book that didn't have all of the crude anti-foreign stereotypes that I've come to associate with Christie, Heyer, and other British writers of the period. One of the characters does use offensive anti-Semitic language, but it is actually supposed to be a negative character trait (what a ...more
Kathleen Dixon
Jan 23, 2015 Kathleen Dixon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kathleen by: ***Carol***
A Goodreads friend reviewed this and it sounded like something my mother would enjoy so I checked if the library had it in Big Print. They did, she borrowed it, and then passed it on to me. I have to say I felt a bit self-conscious reading a Big Print book - people will think I'm "elderly" (if they don't already, that is - which of course depends pretty much on the age of the person doing the thinking .... to my grandchildren I'm ancient). But, on the other hand, it's actually easier to read a B ...more
♬Christmas Carol!
Jan 10, 2015 ♬Christmas Carol! rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ♬Christmas Carol! by: Leslie
3.5 stars.

I really liked this murder mystery, which was also a study of the British social order & anti-semitism. Dr Bottwink owes a lot to Hercule Poirot, but otherwise for me this was quite an original tale & I will be happy to read more by this author.
Emmett
Jul 01, 2012 Emmett rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This was notably different - refreshing even - from the usual mysteries with an obvious main character who naturally takes the case upon him/herself. The main 'detective' here I felt wasn't formally introduced, at least in the way Hare writes this book. He remains one of the central characters, albeit with a more deliberate focus into his thoughts, but is barely distinguishable from the others, except at the end where everything falls into place thanks to his deductions. I liked how it was more ...more
Leslie
Dec 03, 2014 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, british
Very enjoyable country house mystery set at Christmas time during a snowstorm. However, if you are looking for a holiday book, this might not be a good choice as Christmas really plays no part in the story except as a reason for the people to have gathered together (and become stranded) at this country house.

Despite the presence of a Scotland Yard man, this is actually a cozy mystery since the solution of the mystery (and much of the detecting) is done by one of the guests, (view spoiler)
...more
Susan
May 01, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it
Lord Warbeck is dying. But he wants one last Christmas with his family on hand for a house party. He invites his son, founder of a neo-fascist group, and his cousin, the next heir, who is the Chancellor of the Exchequer (and a socialist). There are also two women, who have ties to the family, present. Also on hand is a refuge professor who's searching the muniment room for documents about the 18th century. When the party is snowbound, and one of the guests is murdered, only Professor Bottwick ...more
Tamara
Apr 26, 2015 Tamara rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
A reread but I do like Cyril Hare's books. A country house, a limited cast of suspects, and weather-induced isolation. All the ingredients of a classic British murder mystery. The solution, when one arrives at it, is uniquely English and is delivered by the quintessential foreigner -- an academic and scholar who is interested in the seventeenth century not the 1950's.
Sonia Gensler
Quintessential English country house mystery. Clever and cozy. Wish someone at the BBC would adapt it for television!
Susan
Dec 09, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, mystery, british
It's all here -- a snowed-in Christmas party at an aristocratic estate, murder, questions of legacy, a faithful butler, and more...

A very enjoyable read.
Amy
Aug 11, 2007 Amy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: mystery fans, anglophiles
Shelves: read2007
This mystery is a bit grueling, I don't usually care for multiple murders in a serial fashion. But I do love a good English culture fix, and this was certainly that.
Summer
Nov 17, 2016 Summer rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
Dr Bottwink, a Jewish historian who narrowly escaped fascism in several different countries, witnesses the murder of the fascist heir of an English lord, and quietly remarks that the detective investigating the suspects "has to choose between a cabinet minister, a young lady of the aristocracy, the wife of a rising politician, a trusted family servant, and a foreign savant of mixed parentage and doubtful nationality."
He wryly concludes, "How fortunate, then, that there should be ready to hand a
...more
Julie
Dec 03, 2014 Julie rated it it was amazing
A small gathering of family and friends have gathered together for what will likely be the final Christmas of the good Lord Warbeck. He has been ill and is not expected to live much longer so the guests, who would normally avoid one another at all times, find themselves accepting the invitations out of courtesy. On Christmas Eve they are snowed in and have lost even phone contact with the outside world. Then the first murder occurs.

Quite an excellent traditional English country manor murder. I
...more
Scilla
Mar 29, 2010 Scilla rated it liked it
This 1951 mystery takes place at an English estate, Warbeck Hall, over Christmas. The elderly Lord Warbeck has been ill, and visiting are Dr. Bottwink (who is researching the Warbeck papers), Julius Warbeck (Chancellor of the Exchequer, cousin to Lord Warbeck and Roger his Scotland Yard protector), Robert Warbeck (the son and heir), Lady Camilla Prendergast (possibly in love with Robert), Mrs Carstairs (married to Julius' second in command), and of course the butler, Briggs. First the son and ...more
Berry
Jan 25, 2016 Berry rated it it was amazing
Originally read 9/13/12, 4 stars.

1/25/16: I'm bumping this up to 5 stars after a re-read. Superb distillation of the classic English murder in the form of a Golden Age detective novel. Snow-bound characters picked off one-by-one until... well, you get the picture. This book is head and shoulders above so many like it because it's wonderfully written and always makes sense. Perfect mystery for a wintry afternoon. You can't get more English than this.
Grouchy Editor
A gathering of hoity-toity Brits is cut off from the outside world by a snowstorm, trapped in a decrepit manor house as a clever killer picks them off, one by one. Thank goodness an eccentric little “foreigner” is on hand to save the day. If that sounds a lot like Agatha Christie, well, that’s because it is. But if you find this kind of piffle irresistible -- and I confess that I do -- you can do much worse than "An English Murder."
Susan
Sep 05, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, books-i-own
Thoroughly enjoyed this British mystery. It incorporates so many of the elements that I love . . . the setting in an old manor house . . . snowbound and cut off from the world . . . a handful of eccentric characters, including a butler! Without giving away the mystery, I would just add that after reading the book you will realize just how aptly titled it is.
Lisa Kucharski
Feb 16, 2015 Lisa Kucharski rated it really liked it
More of a novella length mystery which is a perfect link for this murder which happens right at Christmas. The various classes of British culture are on display here as well as a visiting foreigner who in the end is able to understand the motive- which will be plain to those up on English history.

Fun read.
Dave
Oct 12, 2014 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-reread
One of the best Cyril Hare mysteries. It's a snowbound Christmas country-house mystery, but not in the Christie convention--at least, this country house is on the way out (in 1951), and the post-war political types ruin all the Christmas sentiment very nicely. Rather melancholy, but not sentimental: historically minded, like the hero, Dr. Bottwink. Very readable.
Jaye
Sep 09, 2015 Jaye rated it really liked it
Could you ask for anything more classic for a British mystery? Chirstmas, snow, large ancestral Hall, butler, lords and ladies, historian, the list goes on. It was a delightful story of the fifties genre~a 'locked house' murder or two or three. Cyril Hare is a master of detective fiction.
Madeline
Mar 17, 2016 Madeline rated it really liked it
Interesting plot for an English mystery - a constitutional twist! I didn't find any of the characters particularly sympathetic but the setting was very English country and there were enough suspects to make it interesting.
Veldi
Jan 22, 2016 Veldi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england, mystery
A murder happened inside an English manor in an English village among a group of English with the motive that only the English can comprehend. That pretty says it all.
Susan Jo Grassi
Feb 29, 2016 Susan Jo Grassi rated it really liked it
History, politics and murder, sounds perfect for an election year. The story drug a little in the beginning but, once it got going, it moved right along.
Cc
May 12, 2015 Cc rated it liked it
A good quick read with enough quirky characters to keep me interested. Plus I didn't really figure out the murderer until the end. A fun read.
Elizabeth
Sep 24, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: already-own
WONDERFUL whodunit!!! I will have to search out more from this author and hope I hit the jackpot. A must-read for any cozy/mystery reader.
Olesia
Olesia rated it really liked it
Aug 29, 2016
Margot Silk
Margot Silk rated it it was amazing
May 23, 2013
Ana
Ana rated it liked it
Sep 15, 2015
Linda Dunn
Linda Dunn rated it it was amazing
Nov 24, 2015
Susan
Susan rated it it was amazing
Nov 29, 2013
Brenda Ryan
Brenda Ryan rated it liked it
Apr 02, 2014
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Cyril Hare was the pseudonymn of Alfred Alexander Gordon Clark who was the third son of Henry Herbert Gordon Clark of Mickleham Hall, a merchant in the wine and spirit trade in the family firm of Matthew Clark & Sons.

Having spent most of his formative years in the country where he learned to hunt, shoot and fish, he was educated at St Aubyn's, Rottingdean and Rugby, where he won a prize for wr
...more
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