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The Key (Miss Silver #8)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  467 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
The murder of a government scientist demands the attention of Miss SilverMichael Harsch’s life has never been easy. A German Jew, he fled his country when Hitler came to power, escaping the concentration camps by the skin of his teeth. His wife and daughter were not so lucky, and he vowed revenge on the Fuhrer through science. He set to work on a marvelous new explosive th ...more
ebook, 338 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by Open Road Media Mystery Thriller (first published 1944)
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Mar 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"Because green changed to orange at just that time three people were to die, and the lives of four others were to be deeply and radically altered." - The Key

What a nice opening hook this was. I "bit", and was immediately drawn in to the story.

NOTE: This is pathetic, but I can't for the life of me remember who was the 3rd person to die. If anyone knows, please tell me. It's making me nuts!

It's the 1940s. World War II is raging and a Jewish refugee in England is working on a substance that could give Britain an edge in the war. Michael Harsch has worked for years trying to perfect his work and now he's finally ready to turn it over to the War Office. He calls Sir George Rendal to let him know of the success and makes arrangements to turn his findings and all his notes over the next day. It's an appointment that he'll never keep. Harsch goes to the church to relax with music and is ...more
Learnin Curve
Not the best one she's ever written. Plot seemed to be devised around war time propaganda and felt like she's churned it out for the war office without taking any real pleasure in it and didn't devise her usual twists and turns. I couldn't really theories who it was because the answer to the puzzle kind of came out of nowhere.
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Key (Miss Silver #8), Patricia Wentworth
Laurel Hicks
Miss Silver to the rescue—again.
Nov 04, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Pleasant, slightly uneven mystery involving Nazi agents in a small town. Unlike most British mysteries of this period, I found most of the characters moderately likeable. This is my first Miss Silver story and I plan to pick up one of the earlier installments eventually.
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
This 1944 mystery has all of the period details that make reading classic mystery novels fun for me.
The wartime setting details elegant breakfasts made from powdered eggs, garden produce as the centerpiece for an evening meal, evil Germans (apologies to all the good Germanic people--but this is a WW2 story), noble scientists working on secret projects. . . . and, a village murder.

This could be any period mystery story IF it didn't feature Miss Silver. The mouse-like, maiden detective who inevit
Jun 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first reading of the Miss Silver series. I learned a new word (or rather an old word)...forrader, which means 'further ahead'. The writing is very good, awfully wordy at times, but typical of those times. That's why I like reading stories written in the 20s through 40s. The lifestyle was in some ways simpler but more formal, more polite, more appreciative of what they had and made more so because of what they didn't have. This story takes place in a village in England during WW2 when ...more
Christine Cody
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful. One of those books that make me want to start the next book in the series immediately after finishing it. Miss Maud Silver, former governess and detective extraordinaire, is one of the best "amateur" sleuths in British crime fiction. Set in World War II Britain, this murder mystery takes place in an English village replete with German spies, finely drawn spinsters of every nature, young lovers, old drunks, and every other sort to round out a thoroughly delectable tale. Guess I'd bette ...more
Bryn (Plus Others)
This one comes close to deserving 4 stars, except that I found the mystery far too easy to figure out and was a bit frustrated by how long it took the characters to suspect the (to me) obviously suspicious person. Janice Meade is an excellent heroine, however, combining the nice looks & good morals of Wentworth's earlier young women with a good deal of backbone, a mind of her own, and the ability to act in crisis.
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought the pacing of this book with Miss Silver arriving sooner was perfect!
Carol Berkman
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Always reliable

The country cast of characters, the John Bull police detective, the romance, the big oak pin, those are the ingredients Wentworth mixes up for a pleasant read. Yes her books are formulaic but who cares?
Jun 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first encountered Miss Silver, in book #1 of the Series (Grey Mask), I was disappointed that her characterization was so wooden and she had such scant interactions with her client.

Now, having reached book #8 of the series, The Key, I see that Patricia Wentworth has had time (in about 15 years since the first book in 1928) to develop Miss Silver. I am completely satisfied now with Miss Silver's portrayal.

In The Key, she characteristically appears in the story around page 100 of the book.
Mystery set in small-town wartime England with the murder victim an escaped Jewish scientist who developed a "formula" for use against the Nazis. That sounds cool, right?
The characters, especially Miss Silver, our former-governess-turned-private-detective, are likeable. The descriptions of the physical specs of the town are overdone and drag the narrative. The murder-mystery itself is not twisty or turny, merely process of elimination.
Overall...Miss Silver herself is a charming character. But t
Sep 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I've now read 19 of the 32 Miss Silver mysteries. This is the 8th in the series. They are all pleasant cozy reads, with different plots and new personalities for Miss Silver to observe and analyze, but other than giving a synopsis of the plot, it is hard to give a meaningful review of each one. It does seem that each one has at least one really disagreeable character that either becomes the victim of murder or turns out to be the perpetrator, and in a way that makes them satisfying. Patricia Wen ...more
Nov 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In WWII, Michael Harsch is a refugee Jew in England, working on a deadly explosive to aid the war effort. The day he finishes it, he is found murdered in the church where he liked to play the organ. It looks like a suicide, but people talk in a village, and visiting army major Garth Albany gathers enough evidence to call in Scotland Yard--and Miss Silver.

This was a nicely tangled mystery, well-paced, with lots of red herrings, revelations, and the requisite young love. Miss Silver shares the det
Jun 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Karsch escaped Nazi Germany, but his wife and daughter did not. He's been in England for five years, developing an explosive that the Allies can use to win the war. Just as he completes his formula, by complete chance, he sees a ghost from his past. Did he really see one of his Nazi captors in Marbury, or was it just a trick of the light and his own exhaustion?

Before he has a chance to find out, he is dead.

Inspector Lamb and Sargent Abbot are on the case...and eventually Maud Silver ride
War-time novel about small village England. A local scientist, who has just completed work on the latest in explosive technology and is about to turn it over to the War Office, turns up dead in the church where he was playing the organ. Initially ruled a suicide, there are those who question the rightness of the coroner's jury -- and first Scotland Yard and then Miss Silver is called in to delve into the matter.

Events overtake Miss Silver's deductions, and the murderer is exposed without her di
Sep 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another"classic" style English mystery by Patricia Wentworth-very similar to Agatha Christie. A small English village, a closed social circle, eccentric characters, and murder most foul. Takes place during WWII. A scientist who had escaped from Nazi Germany but whose wife and daughter were killed, lives only to perfect a new explosive. The evening that he does, he is murdered while playing the pipe organ in the locked village church, a church for which there are only a very select number of keys ...more
Jan 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, kindle
Another in the better vein of Miss Silver mysteries, with characters that generally aren't tedious to spend a couple hundred pages reading about. More of an attempt at an action climax than Wentworth usually went in for, and surprisingly little racism considering the time and subject matter. I was prepared to have to grimace through a lot of comments regarding the victim, since he was Jewish, but that was very little addressed.
Allison Henle
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with all but the very early Miss Silver mysteries, these book features a very likable young couple, a gossipy small town, and the delightful Maude Silver herself. The plot depends a little too heavily on coincidence to win five stars from me, but is still a delightful example of Patricia Wentworth near the height of her story-telling powers.
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've been reading all the Miss Silver books, and I'll probably continue reading them. This was one of the weaker ones, I think; the attempts to guide the reader to suspect perfectly innocent characters was a little clumsier than it's been in the others. Still not a bad story; just not one of the better ones.
Sep 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Another gentle and well plotted Miss Silver mystery. Remarkably a book that is a product of it's time theme-wise (set during WWII) and yet does not devolve into racism against the enemy. The police are made to look rather dense and inefficient though.
Jun 27, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Miss Maud Silver
Dec 04, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This wasn't one of my favorites. The beginning and end were intriguing, but I felt like the middle got slow & not nearly as interesting.
Julia Hendon
Always enjoy these mysteries.
Robin Fletcher
This was a fun read. All the Miss Silver books have a certain pattern - and that's not a bad thing. I can turn to them when I want a pleasant story arc.
Katie Hilton
Miss Silver tackles a case involving murder and espionage during World War II in a neighboring English village. As usual, she gets her man!
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
For my full review click on the link below:
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Patricia Wentworth--born Dora Amy Elles--was a British crime fiction writer.

She was educated privately and at Blackheath High School in London. After the death of her first husband, George F. Dillon, in 1906, she settled in Camberley, Surrey. She married George Oliver Turnbull in 1920 and they had one daughter.

She wrote a series of 32 classic-style whodunnits featuring Miss Silver, the first of wh
More about Patricia Wentworth...

Other Books in the Series

Miss Silver (1 - 10 of 32 books)
  • Grey Mask (Miss Silver, #1)
  • The Case Is Closed (Miss Silver, #2)
  • Lonesome Road (Miss Silver, #3)
  • Danger Point (Miss Silver, #4)
  • The Chinese Shawl (Miss Silver, #5)
  • Miss Silver Deals With Death (Miss Silver, #6)
  • The Clock Strikes Twelve (Miss Silver, #7)
  • She Came Back (Miss Silver, #9)
  • Pilgrim's Rest (Miss Silver, #10)
  • Latter End (Miss Silver, #11)