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The Affair of the Blood-Stained Egg Cosy (Burford Family #1)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  901 ratings  ·  89 reviews
The theft of the diamond necklace and the antique pistols might all be explained, but the body in the lake - that was a puzzle. Inspector Wilkins is called in to investigate, but it's going to take some intricate sleuthing to uncover who killed whom and why.
Mass Market Paperback, 256 pages
Published 1978 by Avon Books (first published 1975)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,871)
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Mary Ronan Drew
Oh, boy! This is a good one. Written in 1975 and reprinted by the Poisoned Pen Press, James Anderson's The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy, set in the 1930s, has it all, starting with a classical-era detective who warns everyone at the very start that he's no good at this job and has been promoted above his abilities and that he yearns to be back on the uniformed force. But this modest, self-deprecating sleuth ("I'm not sanguine. Not sanguine at all" - think Peter Falk's Columbo) manages to ...more
Ivonne Rovira
In a re-release of this 1975 gem, author James Anderson has penned a lovely — and loving — send-up of that old chestnut, the British house-party cozy mystery. Gathering for a weekend party at the West Country mansion of Alderley, owned by the stereotypically bluff Earl of Burford, are his diplomat brother, two Duchy diplomats there to conclude negotiations with Britain, a Texan oil tycoon and his wife, a travelogue writer, an insufferable bore, a shadowy French baroness, and a plucky gal-pal of ...more
I'll tell you up front I'm not going to give a plot summary, there are enough of those out there. This book doesn't take itself too seriously but has a complex murder mystery and believable likeable characters. There are three loosely related books in this trilogy. They all take place in a British Earl's country mansion: Adlderly, between the world wars and within a few months of each other. I read the third one first but the order doesn't really matter. The house, family and detective are the s ...more
Dec 22, 2009 Penelope rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Agatha Christie and classic crime.
Shelves: crime
I really enjoyed this wonderful crime novel. It was very reminiscent of of a Christie novel and oozing with charm and and elegance. The characters were a delight, the plot intriguing and the denouement a surprise. I shall be reading the other books in this series, just a shame there are only 2 more.

I had this book for Christmas and have been looking forward to a bit of country house murder-mystery escapism. I wasn't disappointed - this novel really has all the ingredients of a goold old fashioned style who-dunnit. Aristocrats, people who are not whom they are supposed to be, diplomats. politicians, an American millionaire, a beautiful baroness. Two robberies and two murders, and most of the household creeping around a large country house, in the dark during a thunder storm. A clever intric
Completely mad but completely and utterly brilliant! James Anderson gently pokes fun at the country house murder mystery genre. I say gently because there is no malice here (Anderson's love of the genre clearly shines through) and it reads just as well as any Agatha Christie novel. The plot was quite complex but I would have been disappointed otherwise and it kept you guessing till the end - now that was a surprise! And I love a book that gives you a plan of the house and a cast of characters at ...more
A country house mystery set in the late 1930s at Lord and Lady Burford's country pad. Guests arrive, some unexpected, some from overseas and everything is set for an enjoyable weekend. But things go wrong, antique pistols go missing, murder is committed and suddenly everyone is a suspect. Inspector Wilkins, a reluctant inspector, arrives to sort things out but needs the help of one of the guests, who turns out to be not what he purports to be, as do some of the other guests. Wilkins eventually u ...more
This is a very fun English country house murder mystery. What I especially liked was how it puts forth a serious face, discussing Hitler, the war, and upper level political intrigue, but then it breaks out into an old fashioned comedy of manners. This contrast between light and heavy hovers in the background throughout. The mystery is complex with clues and motives all over the place, but there really is no way to solve it on your own. That does not lessen the satisfaction of having everything t ...more
Oct 25, 2008 Libbeth rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Libbeth by: Read It Swap It
Shelves: 2008, mystery
Although this book was written in the 70's it has the feel of the era in which it was set, a little before the Second World War. A good old fashioned country house murder mystery, with the emphasis on the mystery, and lots of twists and turns along the way.
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
A nice little cosy, the 1930s English country house murder as French farce.

For a further review: .
1930s country house mysteries, with these 2 books written in 1975 and 1981 respectively. As convoluted as anything written by Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayers, and in fact various characters mention meeting with both Poirot and Lord Peter Whimsey! In book 1, a small central European duchy is concerned by the rise of Hitler, and enter into negotiations with Britain for protection. The talks are arranged to be held secretly, under the guise of a weekend house party, at the estate of the Earl of B ...more
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Maureen Feeney
Tongue in cheek cosy mystery. As a cosy mystery, this has literally everything. Set in the 1930's , manor house weekend party, everyone with secrets, red herrings galore, dead bodies, and an old fashioned whodunnit. In my opinion Its aimed at Christie fans, same era , genre, etc...look, this isn't in the same league as Agatha Christie. Yet, it does mirror her books with settings, plots, in a fun way and I think her fans will like them. It's well written, good characters and a really enjoyable En ...more
For anyone who fancies a good ol' whodunit mystery, The Affair of the Bloodstained Tea Cosy would be right up your alley. Not only do we open with shady meetings between ministers and even shadier ones amongst businessmen, there are 5 separate 'crimes' to be solved here. This would keep any would be sleuths busy throughout the book.

With majority of the plot set in an old English home belonging to an Earl (what would a mystery novel be without royalty?), overnight, Alderly's guests and occupants
Fun, although I would have liked a bit more character (archetype?) development and a little less of who was where when.

I'm probably being too harsh as I'm currently also reading The Code of the Woosters by P. G. Wodehouse and any country house farce is going to appear average in comparison with the Master.
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Nina Jon
This is the first of the Inspector Wilkins Series.

That this novel was first published in 1975 and is still selling well with lots of fans all these years later, is a testament to it and the cosy mystery genre.
As a cosy parody, it has everything – literally everything. It becomes quite serious towards the end, and the answer is provided for pretty much everything.
I read it over a period of time which I think was a mistake, because I found it difficult to get properly engaged with the many storyl
Jann Barber
The title intrigued me; I had to request the book from Marina, as our local library didn't have it. I'm glad I did, as it was an enjoyable and intelligent mystery.

The characters were listed in the front of the book, along with a map of the sleeping accommodations. I did refer to both of these pages as I read and found them most helpful.

Political intrigue, blackmail, confusing identities (not a spoiler, as the reader is made aware of this in the opening pages), red herrings, and of course, murder
I love country house cozies and this send up of the Golden Age is wonderful!
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Peter Auber
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yes, yes, I know. What am I doing reading a book like THE AFFAIR OF THE BLOODSTAINED EGG COSY. In my defence I used to be quite a SPLASHER (4MA speak for somebody who reads a wide range of crime book "styles") although in recent years I will admit I've moved more and more to the dark side. But every now and then I like a bit of a splash around in the lighter side of the genre, and I do rather like the eccentric side of the classic English country house sub-genre. Chuck in a slightly batty Lord; ...more
I was looking through my recommended list for something knitting related (no, I won't explain), and was drawn to this title. When I clicked for more info, I saw the reference to the Burford family, and knew I must read this book. I am a Burford, well, sort of. All of that is to explain that I read this book almost solely due to its title, which is probably why I'm surprised I enjoyed it so.

Generally, I read two pretty distinct genres, nonfiction (a bit broad, yes, but distinct), and cosy detect
I was lucky enough to spend a week in London at the end of October. Last time in London, I read a Regency romance while having high tea at Fortnum and Mason. I decided to continue the tradition of reading a book set in England while I was there.

I went to the Waterstone's at Trafalgar Square and fell in love with this book cover and the title. The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy, what a perfect title! The book is set in England just before the start of WWII, at an old English manor. Oooh, lo
Wilde Sky
A 1930s country house is the setting for a secret meeting between diplomats, but murder disrupts the negotiations.

I really enjoyed this convoluted murder mystery, it had a good plot (full of spies / thieves / murders) and characters.

If you enjoy Agatha Christie books this is probably worth a look.
Armanda Moncton
Escapist manor house mystery set in the 30s - what's not to like? The ridiculous resolution took the story into a territory best suited to parody - I wish the whole thing had been done with tongue firmly planted in cheek, like Wodehouse's Jeeves series. Nevertheless, it made a good beach read.
Rebecca Tayles
My second read by James Anderson, actually his first in this sequence. A most enjoyable read, a classic whodunnit story with plenty of twists and turns, red herrings and strange clues. Turns out a lot of people at Alderley House have things to hide, but are any of them capable of murder? When the bodies start appearing one dark and stormy night it would appear so! But who...

Very good story, with lots of attention to the detail of the time period it's set in. I particularly like the delicate diff
Jules Jones
An affectionate and funny spoof of the classic 1930s country house murder mystery, with a great many nods to the masters and mistresses. Rather too many characters and their independent but interlocking intrigues for me to keep track of what was going on, and the characters and their intrigues aren't quite interesting enough for me to not care about that. I'd probably have enjoyed it more if I'd read all of the classic mysteries alluded to. And I'm not convinced that it *is* possible to work it ...more
Sherwood S Hughes
Disappointing ending, felt amateurish, technically OK but too many coincidental devices used in an attempt to make the story work, which ultimately it doesn't.
Mar 12, 2014 Jamesy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Beth Gonder
Why has the BBC not made this into a movie....why???? Ruddy brilliant and can't wait to read the other 2 in the series!
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James Anderson was educated at Reading University where he gained a History degree and although born in Swindon, Wiltshire, he lived for most of his life near Cardiff.

He worked as a salesman before becoming a copywriter and then a freelance journalist, contributing to many newspapers, house journals and specialist magazines. He later turned to writing novels, the first of which was 'Assassin' (196
More about James Anderson...

Other Books in the Series

Burford Family (3 books)
  • The Affair of the Mutilated Mink (Burford Family Mysteries, #2)
  • The Affair of the 39 Cufflinks (Burford Family Mysteries, #3)
The Affair of the Mutilated Mink (Burford Family Mysteries, #2) The Affair of the 39 Cufflinks (Burford Family Mysteries, #3) The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy/The Affair of the Mutilated Mink/The Affair of the Thirthy-Nine Cufflinks: An Omnibus Edition Murder, She Wrote The Murder of Sherlock Holmes (Jessica Fletcher, #2) Murder, She Wrote Hooray for Homicide (Jessica Fletcher, #1)

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