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

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,076 Ratings  ·  108 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 2,270)
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Mary Ronan Drew
Jan 17, 2011 Mary Ronan Drew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 16, 2015 Ivonne Rovira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 really liked it  ·  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.
Aug 31, 2015 Lisa rated it liked it
A fun and cosy murder mystery that reminds me of a cross between Poirot and Columbo set in an English country manor house.
There are several intricate mysteries that weave together to a satisfying conclusion.
Mar 13, 2011 Ali rated it really liked it

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
Aug 11, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
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
Mar 22, 2010 Gerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 26, 2010 Shauna rated it really liked it
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 really liked it  ·  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: .
Jan 16, 2015 Katy rated it really liked it
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
Light-hearted country house murder mystery in the tradition of Agatha Christie. British aristocrats rub shoulders with foreign diplomats until somebody ends up dead. Twists, turns and red-herrings all over the place. I really enjoyed it.
May 16, 2010 Annie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maureen Feeney
Apr 17, 2015 Maureen Feeney rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
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
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I really liked the first part of this book but then it started to grate. I know the last thing you can do with a period cosy written by someone 40 years after the period is take it seriously. And this thing verges on parody. But even with tongue in cheek, it has its problems.

I knew when I saw that list of Dramatis Personae in the front that it was going to be confusing, but Anderson takes the biscuit. Far too many secondary characters; even he forgets all about two of them and only trots them ou
Jun 02, 2015 robyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
What did I like?

I liked a passage toward the end of the book, after (spoiler alert here) the murderess has been revealed. It's not the line where the hero says he's going to marry her. No, it's the bit before that, where he says that a woman of her qualities is just what's needed for behind the lines work during the war. And IF she survives, he's going to marry her.

I liked that, because I'd liked her, and I liked that her ruthlessness and planning ability could be channeled, rather than her bei
Apr 12, 2014 Sx rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
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
Jul 30, 2012 Barbara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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.
Oct 07, 2014 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
"I am not sanguine. I am not sanguine, at all." So says Inspector Wilkins of his abilities to solve the puzzling crimes. You can't help but hear the voice of Columbo, as he's much cleverer than his suspects think. What a fun send-up of the Golden Age country manor mysteries of the '30s, though it was written in 1975. I couldn't help but smile at the end of this book. Every loose end is tied up (no matter how outrageously). Includes spies, jewel thieves, gun collections, hidden identities, and of ...more
Nina Jon
Jan 31, 2014 Nina Jon rated it liked it
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
Jan 23, 2014 Jann Barber rated it really liked it
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
Mar 06, 2011 Bev rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vintage-mystery
I love country house cozies and this send up of the Golden Age is wonderful!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Feb 18, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
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
Nov 01, 2012 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 28, 2016 Hayley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are a lot of things that don't work for me, and it can be primarily boiled down to a lack of detail in the clues and the extent to which the audience's knowledge is undermined by poor characterisation. At the same time though, it is still an enjoyable read. If you're a fan of the cosy mystery, then this should make a harmless enough addition to your reading list. Just don't pick it up if you want an equal chance of solving it at the same time as the detective.
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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)

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