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Thirteen Guests

(Inspector Kendall #1)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  782 ratings  ·  148 reviews
On a fine autumn weekend, Lord Aveling hosts a hunting party at his country house, Bragley Court. Among the guests are an actress, a journalist, an artist, and a mystery novelist. The unlucky thirteenth is John Foss, injured at the local train station and brought to the house to recuperate – but John is nursing a secret of his own.

Soon events take a sinister tu
Paperback, British Library Crime Classics, 256 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by Poisoned Pen Press (first published 1936)
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Average rating 3.61  · 
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 ·  782 ratings  ·  148 reviews

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mark monday
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to mark by: Ivonne Rovira
Shelves: murdertime
J. Jefferson Farjeon puts it all together like a classic navy blazer paired with a blue gingham shirt, offset by indigo heather trousers and a pair of dark brown leather monk-straps, along with appropriately colored tie, belt, and socks of course, and topped off with a bracelet matching the blazer's brass buttons. Which, quite coincidentally, is the exact outfit I will be wearing tonight. I will be channeling that fashion-forward Thirteen Guests style. It's a good look!

I love the way
Ivonne Rovira
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Golden Age cozy lovers
Recommended to Ivonne by: NetGalley
In Thirteen Guests, first published in 1936, disillusioned John Foss suffers a fall from a railway train when alighting in a small Suffolk town and, thanks to an exquisitely beautiful but mysterious young widow, gets spirited to a grand country house, Bragley Court, to recover. There, Foss finds himself in the midst of a weekend stag-hunting party, one of 13 guests. He finds, in addition to the alluring widow Nadine Leveridge, an affable baron with a wandering eye as host, the baron’s high-strung daugh ...more
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
This novel was written by J. Jefferson Farjeon (1883 – 1955), who wrote many mysteries, including the recently republished, “Mystery in White.” “Thirteen Guests” was original published in 1936 and has a traditional Golden Age country house setting.

Twelve guests are headed for Bragley Court, the country house of conservative politician, Lord Aveling. They are joined by a surprise visitor – a young man called John Foss, who trips leaving the train at Flensham station and hurts his foot
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
3 1/2 stars for this classic English Mystery - an enjoyable read.

On a fine autumn weekend, Lord Aveling hosts a hunting party at his country house, Bragley Court. Twelve guests are invited, but an unlucky thirteen arrive, one quite by accident.

Soon events take a sinister turn when a painting is mutilated, a dog stabbed, a man is found dead and another goes missing.

Who among the guests is not quite who he or she claims to be?

Bravo to Poison Pen Press for repub
May 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Do you know, Nadine, we haven't talked about us since the evening you brought me here?'

'Two evenings ago,' she reminded him as she sat down.

'It seems more like two years ago,' he answered. 'Lord, what a lot has happened since then! Have you reckoned up the tragedies?'

So say two of the protagonists on page 252 (of 256) of Jefferson Farjeon's country house whodunnit or, perhaps more appropriately his whathavetheydunnandwherehavetheydunnit tale of intrigue 'Thir
Oct 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, 2015, new-to-me
Lucky for some...

Twelve guests are invited to the country house of Lord Aveling for the weekend. They're a mixed group – Lord Aveling has political ambitions so some are people he hopes will back him, there's an influential newspaper columnist he hopes will give him some good publicity, an artist who's painting his daughter, an actress for whom he has... ahem... other plans, and a couple of people he doesn't really know, but has invited along at the request of others in the party. When John Fo
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2-stars
A mediocre "country house" mystery in which more than half the book is spent on set-up for the misdeeds and the Inspector who shows up has very little to do with regards to questioning suspects and examining evidence. Too much time is spent diverting the reader's attention and not enough clues are dropped (red herrings or otherwise) in order to make the resolution seem plausible. I didn't care about any of the characters or their motivations, and I certainly didn't care whether any of them would ...more
Emmett Hoops
Oct 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
I have almost every book in the British Library Crime Classics series. I've read nearly all. This one, by J. Jefferson Farjeon, is impossibly boring.

Yes, I say boring even though I have read some very slow starters. But none have taken fully the first 1/3 of the narrative to get the mystery started. I found myself re-reading the first 50 pages because I thought for sure that I'd missed something important; in fact, it was nothing that I'd missed but endless palaver on the part of cha
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
One of the re-published crime novels of the 1930's in the British Library Crime Classics series.
A bit dated, but fun and easy to read. Plot a bit thin compared to modern crime stories, but enjoyable for its simplicity.
Twelve guests arrive to Bragley Court for a hunting weekend with Lord Aveling and his family. Among the guests are an actress, a journalist, an artist, and a mystery novelist. John Foss makes an unexpected thirteenth guest when he is injured at the train station and, with no where else to go, brought to the estate to recuperate. Laid up on the couch, John becomes an outside observer of the party. Soon events take a sinister turn when a painting is mutilated, a dog stabbed, and a man strangled. D ...more
Robert Vanneste
Feb 07, 2019 rated it liked it
3.0 - 3.5 . The first half seemed to drag with overly wordy sections . The second half saved it . Entertaining nothing more .
M.R. Graham
Jul 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, mystery
The Premise:

Being as brief as possible:

John Foss falls off a train and is scooped up by a ridiculously alluring widow, who drags him against his will to Bragley Court to recuperate. He’s stuck in a conveniently-placed anteroom, where he hears quite a lot of compromising conversations while the mystery blooms. A dog is murdered, a painting is vandalized, a man is found at the bottom of a cliff, then a blackmailer is murdered, and it just gets worse from there. There is a p
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, mystery
Reviewed for The Bibliophibian.

Like Seven Dead, this actually includes a love story as well, although of a rather different stripe (and maybe a bit less of the focus, since neither party is seriously suspected of the murders). It’s less prominent than the love story in Seven Dead, and thankfully less creepy as well, with some rather good scenes between the two of them negotiating their relationship. At the same time, there’s a convoluted mystery going on with several deaths, complex interrelationship
Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this fun mystery! Loads of interesting characters and possible suspects. I especially enjoyed the banter between the artist, Pratt, and the journalist, Bultin. Sneaky blackmailer, ruthless politician, simpering actress and strong, gorgeous socialite among the guests. And poor John Foss, the stranger from the train station, laid up in the ante-room on a couch missing all the action but hearing everything! Inspector Kendall is a grand detective and the culprit was not who I though ...more
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
John Foss suddenly decides to get off a train at the last minute and catches his foot in the door. Fortunately he is spotted and rescued by one of his fellow passengers who decides to take him with her to the country house at which she is a weekend guest. Foss is reluctant to go along with her at first but if he is honest with himself he has fallen just a little in love with the enchanting Nadine and anyway the pain in his foot has already caused him to pass out once.

He is the thirte
Tracy Shephard
Jul 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a book that could be easily be mistaken for an Agatha Christie classic..

It has all the right elements, a murder, a ruined painting, a dead dog and a terribly upper class vibe.

Set in a country house, John Foss unexpectedly finds himself one the thirteen guests at Lord Avelings weekend party.

The other twelve guests are a mixture of people, a widow, a painter and a gossip columnist among the few. When one guests suggest the old superstition that death bef
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a very complex story with a huge amount of protagonists. Apart from the 13 guests in the title there are the hosts' family and servants and various others. The first half of the book, I found to be hard going and quite difficult to follow as all these characters had to be introduced and their various relationships explained in the context of the plot. However, when the police arrive in the second half it livens up nicely and becomes a great page-turner and thoroughly enjoyable. I liked I ...more
Leyla Johnson
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
The book kept me reading well into the night, thirteen people and a few sub plots that I didn't see coming. I did enjoy the character they seem accurate for the times. I am so pleased that some of these author are being reprinted for us to read. I love the way the introductions give a very interesting bio on the author - that in itself add to the pleasure in reading the book.
This book was provided in return for a honest and unbiased review.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: detective
3.7 stars and 4 by rounding off.This was somewhat oddball of a mystery.The writing style is very nice ,there are quite a lot of suspects, the police inspector is no fool and the book is quite enjoyable but yet the finishing is somewhat abrupt.
The buildup took half the book but except the long-winded conversations between Foss and Leveridge ,rest is smooth and nice.But some will probably consider this slow build up as a weakness but it's not IMHO. The murder investigation by the police is sharp
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thirteen Guests is a classic mystery by T. Jefferson Farjeon. Lord Aveling is hosting a hunting party at his estate and due to an injured stranger has an unlucky 13 guests at his estate. It isn’t long for the bad luck to strike and then there is a murder to solve. Well crafted characters, from John, the injured stranger, to Pratt,the society painter, Nadine, the widow, and several others, who round out this rather full cast to give the reader many suspects to choose from. This is very much a cha ...more
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of the half dozen of these British Library Classics I’ve read so far, I think this has been my favourite. The country house weekend setting has been well-used but it does limit the number of suspects and encourages the reader to try to work it out. Some scenes did drag on, particularly between the invalid John Foss and Nadine, but the characters are well developed and intriguing and it’s pure escapism.
Mar 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, kindle
Secret Pal gift, on sale | Built well, but the conclusion was unsatisfactory. | Even if I'd not been disappointed by the solutions to the murders, I would have been annoyed that they were mostly explained by a police timetable.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Not a bad read. The writing is almost lyrical. I read him because this was a book club read and would do so again if the book club wanted him again. It's a classic for the time it was written and would be so different today with cell phones, and general modern technology.
Shawn Thrasher
Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Strong country house murder mystery from the Golden Age, with a large cast of characters, and a pretty good whodunit. With so many characters, red herrings abound, and the mystery plot wasn't always easy to keep track of of - but great fun nonetheless.
girl writing
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it
An enjoyable British country house mystery. Not a lot of action but lots of deducing.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Pros: discreetly risque female lead
Cons: solution is laid out in a minute by minute timetable.

Also "velly" inscrutable "Chinaman"
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-murders
I'm a sucker for this sort of thing. Country house murder mystery? Yes please. This is the book that I'd hoped Mystery In White would be (but with considerably less snow.)
Fran Irwin
Mar 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Written in 1936, this is a golden-age of mystery also-ran novel, where a dog, two men, two women and a stag bite the dust.
Not exactly an Agatha Christie puzzle, but worth a read if you're in the mood for an English country-house weekend.
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thirteen Guests re-issued by the British Library Crime Classics has all the ingredients of an excellent mystery. A large group of people gathered in one place, vandalism, sudden death, secrets and superstition. J. Jefferson Farjeon was an extraordinarily prolific writer – the list of his works on his Wikipedia page is certainly impressive. I have previously read just one of them – A Mystery in White – which was very good indeed and would be perfectly suited to the weather the UK is currently exp ...more
Tiz. T.
May 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
There are books written fifty, one hundred, two hundred years ago that are still as enjoyable today.
Others suffer the change not so much in society as in writing conventions. Things that were commonplace to explain situation or to ease the reader into the book become out-of-date, and the reader perceives it as a stiffness of the plot which stumble instead of progressing smoothly.
I am afraid this is one of the second kind of books.
I am a GREAT fan of Golden Age mysteries. I have
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Joseph Jefferson Farjeon was always going to be a writer as, born in London, he was the son of Benjamin Leopold Farjeon who at the time was a well-known novelist whose other children were Eleanor Farjeon, who became a children's writer, and Herbert Farjeon, who became a playwright and who wrote the well-respected 'A Cricket Bag'.

The family were descended from Thomas Jefferson but it was his maternal grandfat

Other books in the series

Inspector Kendall (2 books)
  • Seven Dead
“The death of a dog may not by some be regarded as a tragedy, but some dogs are more worthy than some men, and can be more justly mourned.” 0 likes
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