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The Affair of the 39 Cufflinks (Burford Family Mysteries, #3)
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The Affair of the 39 Cufflinks

(Burford Family #3)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  721 ratings  ·  72 reviews
Who ever tires of the zany British country house murder?

"But Lavinia, I don't want people staying here," said the Earl. "After the last two house parties, we agreed no more."
"This wouldn't be a house party, George, it's nine guests for one night."
"But the last two times we've had people here it's been disastrous."
"This is quite different. These people are family, not spie
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 1st 2006 by Poisoned Pen Press (first published February 1st 2003)
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3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  721 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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Dec 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2011
I wish James Anderson had written more than three books in this series!

I loved the 1930s setting and the twisty plot - admittedly the ending didn't catch me by surprise as much as the previous book, but the numerous red herrings, the wonderful Wilkins, and the Earl of Burford and his entertaining family kept me happily occupied for a couple of hours.
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: england, own
The final installment of the Burford Family is as good as the first two. I am sorry that there are no more because I really enjoyed the characters, ambiance and for this one, just a teeny hint of a haunting by a beloved and favorite family member. More zany characters in the guise of family, and really, the crazy family members are the best.
There are only three of these books due to the passing of the author.
All around, a great read. I highly recommend this wonderful, if unintended, trilogy.
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm so disappointed this is the last book in the series! The characters are fun and interesting. Light reading, humor, bit of a drama and scandal, lots of clever explanations for inexplicable goings-on.
Nick Duretta
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The last of Anderson's Alderley novels is possibly even more enjoyable and clever than the previous two. Again we have a disparate group of people spending the night in Lord Burford's country manor; and sure enough, one is murdered. What follows is a deliciously complex and comic puzzle, full of secrets and lies, ultimately solved by the unassuming Inspector Wilkins. Anderson pushes the limits of the classic British country murder dangerously close to satire, without ever crossing the line. It i ...more
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, tbr17
An expected death leads to murder in this enjoyable recreation of a Golden Age mystery with a sense of humor. Set in a country manor house and featuring a complicated family with myriad characters, the book comes with floor plans and a family tree to help the reader keep track.
Apr 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Burford family pile at Alderley is once again the setting for misdeeds. A funeral and the reading of a will bring a rather disparate selection of folk to Lord Burford's country estate.

Everything starts off well but then things go downhill and after some threats are uttered at the will reading, a murder takes place. Chief Inspector Wilkins arrives, as usual, and after Lady Burford offers her apologies for having to call him once more he says, "That is quite alright your ladyship. I, for one,
Rebecca Tayles
Oct 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective
A thoroughly enjoyable detective murder mystery of the traditional variety - set in the 1930s, Lord Burford is playing host to some distant relatives after the funeral of Great Aunt Florrie. He's a little wary, because the last two times his family had houseguests people ended up dead and he had to call in Inspector Wilkins, but surely lightning couldn't strike three times...

This book kept me guessing throughout, with multiple plot twists and red herrings. A little hard to follow at first, with
Richard Thomas
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
As with the previous books this is a good page turner which gallops along well. The characters are nicely drawn with a good balance between the stereotypical British nobs of the 1930s and a dash of realism. Unlike the two previous books I did spot the murderer at the discovery of the body but it did not spoil my enjoyment of a rattling good read.
Jul 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In some ways the best of the trilogy, as there are less complicated motives and people under false pretences. Instead we have the extended family arriving at Burford for a funeral and the reading of the will.

He victim, as in all the books, is signalled early. Cleverly and sadly, the murderer is the one I had deepest sympathy for.
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
James Anderson's three books about Inspector Wilkins and the Saunders family are fun - all in the country-house murder tradition (indeed, all in the same country-house).

The blurb on the back has a nice quote from the author: "I prefer villains to be nice, refined people. The sort who quote Shakespeare and knock off their nearest and dearest between rubbers of bridge." Hear, hear!
Not as complex or as tongue-in-cheek as the first two installments in this trilogy, The Affair of the Thirty Nine Cufflinks also commits the cardinal sin of the "murder in an English country house" genre: the identity of the murderer is obvious from the get-go.
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a great book !
Even better if possible than the previous two!
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If only there were more in this series!
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Always a good, fun read.
Mar 06, 2011 rated it liked it
The Affair of the 39 Cufflinks is the third in a series of country house mystery send-ups by James Anderson. Real Golden Age mystery fare with a humorous twist. Lord Burford has misgivings about his wife's planned house party. That's perfectly understandable. After all, during the last two country house gatherings there had been "unfortunate incidents"--that is to say, murders. Lavinia assures her husband that this time it's different. This time the people are family. But, of course, this time t ...more
John Marsh
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It is the first book I have read by James Anderson and the third in a triology of books with the same detective. Unfortunately, the author has passed away so there won't be any more. I don't usually read the third book first, but this was the only one the library had.
Anyway, the story takes place in England during the 1920s (?) back when they kept the telephone in a separate closet and everyone smoked. Most of the action takes place in the country mansion of an Earl and center
James Anderson – 3rd in series
Alderley, the 17th-century country house of the Earl of Burford, provides the setting for Anderson's third 1930s madcap mystery (after The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cozy and The Affair of the Mutilated Mink). The somewhat batty earl is reluctant to open his house to visitors again, but his wife convinces him that this time will be different. The guests are coming only for one night and will all be family attending the funeral
Jules Jones
Third of the Alderley series. Once again a disparate group of people spend the weekend at Alderley, the country mansion of the Earl of Burford, and once again it leads to murder. This time it's for the funeral and will-reading of an elderly relative who has asked to be buried at Alderley. The second wife of Florrie's long-dead son feels entitled to the major share of the money after bringing up her orphaned stepdaughters. When she gets a deliberately insulting pittance, she accuses the others of ...more
Jun 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I liked this book! After not caring for the first two at all. I'm going to have to give them another chance.

I think the difference here is that Cufflinks was given the Agatha Christie treatment, starting out by introducing us to each of the suspects in turn, letting us see them in their own environment, their problems and characters on display, before throwing them all together. Uniting feature was a will reading, another Christie classic, and of course the estate, family, and sleuth are all old
Dec 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
This is the first book I have read by James Anderson. I don't usually read the third book first, but I didn't know that it was last in the series when I bought it at the library sale.

The Affair of the 39 Cufflinks is a send-up of a British country house murder mystery. It took me a while to get the characters sorted out until I gave them nicknames of P.G. Wodehouse characters (blatantly obvious since Tommy is compared to Bertie Wooster and Wodehouse is mentioned elsewhere in the book). No more
Anton Mifsud
Oct 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who want a change from Agatha Christie in crime.
Shelves: favorites, muder
This is my fist James Anderson book, and was recommended becuase James Anderson writes in the style of Agatha Christie.

The start, middle were really well written the way events occured before the murder kept you interested through the whole start and middle. I did think James Anderson had a few too many characters in the book, but still really enjoyable.

The end just kept on going and got really boring after a while. If the end was cut in half, then it would be 5 stars. I also thought it was co
May 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's hard for me to review this book fairly, given that I waited about thirty years to read it! I loved Anderson's Affair of the Mutilated Mink, and kept an eye out for a sequel for many years... but I gave up long before 2006, when the third book was finally published. (I have a feeling it was written back in the day, but rejected by the publisher for some reason.)

Anyway, I'm glad I found it, and it's delightful. Our third visit to Adderley seems a little less fresh than the first two books, ma
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Yes, I did get these last 3 in an omnibus edition! The Earl of Burford reluctantly agrees to host another house party, after the last 2 ended in murder. But surely the reading of Great Aunt Flossie's will to a few distant relatives can't cause any problems... I wish the author had written a few more of these - you've got interesting, well drawn characters, and delightfully convoluted mysteries, in a setting reminiscent of Downton Abbey! I think they really need to be read in order, but would rec ...more
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
So much fun. This is the last of 3 books about Inspector Wilkins ("I'm not sanguine, not sanguine at all") and the manor house at Alderley.

Anderson is witty, tongue in cheek (two sisters named Agatha and Dorothy, for instance), and he obviously had a fantastic time writing the series.

This one may not be quite up to the first two (the culprit is somewhat easy to deduce, even if the "how" isn't), but it's still an enjoyable read from start to finish.

Recommended for: fans of Christie, Sayers, &
Nov 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Even though his last two parties ended in murder, the Earl of Burford reluctantly opens his stately home once more to an assortment of distant cousins attending his great aunt’s funeral. After the will is read, a slighted beneficiary declares her intent to ruin all of them, then is killed. Baffling incidents abound, such as thirty-nine scattered cufflinks, stolen toothpaste, and a poltergeist. Luckily, the incomparable (though never sanguine) Inspector Wilkins is on hand to cut through the red h ...more
Sep 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'm listening to this on audio book and really enjoying it. It captures the Agatha Christie flavour without the self-consciousness of a lot of other imitators. It has humour and style. Not regretting spending the money. will be looking out for more James Anderson in the future.
I've now finished it and loved it. A fun mystery, good characters, nice light touch! I'd recommend it to any Christie fans.
Apr 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
While I enjoyed this third (and, I think, final) installment of the Burford mysteries, for me it lacked the tongue-in-cheek quality of the first two that made them so fun to read. There's even another theatre friend posing as another dead relative, a plot point that figured heavily in the second book. I'm also sorry to say I figured out whodunnit fairly quickly. Still, for what these books are, they're well done and I'm sorry to see them end.
Kristen Kurzawski
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
The poor family at Alderly has another house party to host the out of town guests from a family member's funeral. As one might expect, this party ends in murder too. This book is funny, intriguing, and clever. The servants and inspector Wilkins get better with every book. Also, the characters talk continuously about the absurdity of all of these house parties ending in murder, and that just lends to the humor of the story. I really wish there were more books in this series. I just love them.
Jenn Estepp
I liked the other books in his series much more, but am glad to have read it. Still somewhat witty and clever mystery, but our grumpy detective seems more subdued and I sussed things out pretty quickly. When it took the key players much longer to do so, I was a bit annoyed by them. And, I thought some of the players and moves in this reveal were a bit too stock and less interesting than I would've liked.
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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

Other books in the series

Burford Family (3 books)
  • The Affair of the Blood-Stained Egg Cosy (Burford Family, #1)
  • The Affair of the Mutilated Mink (Burford Family Mysteries, #2)