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Freddy Pilkington-Soames Adventures #5

A Case of Suicide in St. James's

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When Douglas Westray, the son of an eminent aircraft manufacturer, is found shot dead in a locked room at a society ball, it seems obvious that it’s suicide—after all, he had two failed engagements behind him, and had lost the family firm a prestigious prize through his own neglect. But not everybody is convinced—including Freddy Pilkington-Soames, who soon discovers that there are still questions to be answered. Why was Douglas wearing the wrong shoes when he was found? What is the connection with a near-disaster at an air show? And was Freddy’s narrow escape from death under the wheels of a car an accident or something more sinister? Assisted by his old friend, the wayward and irrepressible Lady Gertie McAloon, and pestered at every turn by rival reporter Corky Beckwith, Freddy finds himself drawn into a world of sabotage, blackmail and shady deals which threaten to scupper the success of a new fighter plane before it even gets off the ground. But there’s more at stake than just money, and now it’s up to Freddy to untangle the clues and unravel the dark secret of a murderer who has already killed at least once and will think nothing of killing again.

268 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 10, 2019

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About the author

Clara Benson

33 books303 followers
Clara Benson is the author of the Angela Marchmont Mysteries and Freddy Pilkington-Soames Adventures - traditional English whodunits in authentic style set in the 1920s and 30s. One day she would like to drink cocktails and solve mysteries in a sequinned dress and evening gloves. In the meantime she lives in the north of England with her family and doesn't do any of those things.

If you want to be the first to hear about new releases, and to receive a free, exclusive short story, sign up to her mailing list at clarabenson.com/newsletter.

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5 stars
168 (43%)
4 stars
145 (37%)
3 stars
68 (17%)
2 stars
5 (1%)
1 star
0 (0%)
Displaying 1 - 23 of 23 reviews
Profile Image for Elisa.
3,191 reviews27 followers
July 15, 2019
Another wonderful volume in the Freddy series. Shady suspects, lavish parties and great ambiance that makes me wish to be a lady of leisure back in the day. I love the chemistry between Gertie and Freddy.
Profile Image for Nichola.
708 reviews3 followers
October 20, 2021
The pacing of this one didn't make a huge amount of sense. This is my least favourite of the series.

But I really do love these characters.
Profile Image for Heatherinblack .
602 reviews7 followers
August 7, 2019
great mystery. felt slow.

while i had some suspicions as to who the murderer was near the murder itself, the solution was great. it all could have been circumstantial, it lead them to the right places. the beginning drag for me, it wasn’t a “cannot put it down” book until near the end. well written, clever and entertaining.
Profile Image for Debbie.
369 reviews8 followers
September 15, 2019
Loved this latest Freddy mystery, especially with the indomitable Gertie as his sidekick!
Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Amanda Jane.
1,201 reviews8 followers
July 25, 2020
A more apt name would be "The Wrong Shoes"

Douglas Westray is unhappy, he's lost his fiancée to his best friend, in his father's bad books for having forgotten to register a patent and lost not just a big prize for the company but rights to their own design.

It doesn't feel like things could be any worse but now he's at the engagement party for his exfiancée, Tatty, and best friend, Tom, and he's drunkenly interrupted the speeches to warn Tatty that Tom is a cad!

She takes him off to calm down and he seems to be better when she lets him go but hours later his body is discovered in a locked room with a gunshot wound to the head.

Freddy and Gertie were at the party, Gertie briefly dated Doug after Tatty and knows him well, and neither is totally convinced that he committed suicide.

When the wrong shoes, the wrong size and style, are returned from the mortuary it starts to affect Tatty and Gertie. Roping in Freddy they are seeking the truth.. who killed Douglas and why?

Much better than previous books.. with plenty of nefarious goings-on to try and make sense of.. eventually the truth will out but can Freddy and Gertie remain safe and in one piece while they try and dig up the truth?
Profile Image for Bruce E..
Author 6 books4 followers
May 12, 2020
This is sort of a review of all five to which I gave three five-star and two four-star ratings. I must say I liked the fifth book the best mostly because of the addition of Gertie. The five books are carried by Fredy. While I read the books in strict sequence I was always looking forward to another hour or so with Fredy He was fun and comfortable He was not like Lara in "Dr Zhivago", with whom I was madly in love as a young man. He was just a good friend. I ws a little surprised to like the characters so much since I am usually put off by upper-class snobbery. In these books I was more amused by it.
The mysteries themselves were enjoyable and posed fun puzzles. I was right in my solution three out of five times. Freddy's interactions with women were interesting if not James-Bond like. If you're looking for heavy sex, you won't find it here. If you're looking for interesting and diverse female characters, you will. I f you are looking for dark and psychologically twisted drama, you won't find it here If you are looking non- soul bending, but interesting twists and turns, you will.
I definitely recommend the whole series.
Profile Image for Susan in NC.
912 reviews
May 26, 2023
3.5-4 stars - Always fun to visit with Freddy & co. for a light-hearted, fun and funny adventure. His slimy nemesis, fellow reporter Corky Beckwith is back, always good for laughs, and Lady Gertrude (“Gertie”), his rambunctious friend, draws Freddy into his latest investigation.

Freddy and Gertie are attending the engagement party of two friends, when the lady’s former fiancé is found in a locked room with a gunshot wound to the head. He had been visibly inebriated and upset at the party, so the official verdict is suicide. Gertie is sure it was murder, and convinces Freddy to look into it; he begins asking questions, and someone tries to run him down as he crosses the street.

Freddy and Gertie uncover a few “accidents” were murders, all linked to industrial espionage in the budding airplane industry. Corky, meanwhile, is following them around, gumming up the works pursuing his own scoops - one serious, about a former WWI flying ace’s involvement in the espionage, and the other, any dirt he can dig up on Gertie and her latest romance - apparently her frequent engagements and exploits as a Bright Young Thing make good copy.

Entertainingly quick read, as always.
Profile Image for Susan.
2,698 reviews594 followers
May 23, 2023
This is the fifth in the Freddy Pilkington-Soames series. The series is light-hearted and the characters are fun. In this addition, Freddy is taken to a ball where Douglas Westray, the son of an aircraft manufacturer is found dead in a locked room. The shooting is considered a suicide, but there are questions and motives to be considered. Firstly, he was dumped by the girl whose engagement party they were at, secondly, he failed to patent an aeroplane part which was later used by the family of the man who his ex-girlfriend had become engaged to and, thirdly, why was he wearing different shoes?

There is no real sense of danger, but it is the characters that make this series worth continuing with. Freddy, of course, manages to unearth the truth and, of course, best rival journalist Corky Beckwith and ensure that the Clarion gets the story.
92 reviews1 follower
December 20, 2020
I preferred book 4 but...

I preferred book 4 and in fact rated it 5 stars which may be why I was a bit disappointed in this. I even dallied with the thought of making it a 3 but then it was a solid 3.5 so brought it up to 4 since I think my main complaint about this book is that there is less Freddy in it cos Gertie and Corky take far too much space. I don't like Gertie. She's annoying and I get bored reading about her. I don't like Corky either. (Although in this book he's not that irritating.) Other than that the book was fine. Freddy is growing up to be rather more sensible than you'd think. I simply love reading his escapades and I hope the future books (I hope there are future books) continue to focus on him and his perspective.
Profile Image for Panda.
555 reviews36 followers
August 30, 2022
A step back for the author.

Rich people are doing rich people things and then a "locked room" murder?/suicide happens.

All the women are feather brained, all the men are misogynists, all their actions prove the other right in their low low Loooooooooowwwwwww opinion of them.

To call the characters two dimensional would be giving them two dimensions too many. The pacing here is weird and the mystery is just too obvious.

My least favorite from the series, even the authors usually enjoyable writing style couldn't save it.
Profile Image for Stella.
59 reviews24 followers
February 2, 2023
I’ve just come across this series and my first time reading anything from Clara Benson, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Freddy is such an entertaining character to follow and Gertie has my heart. This was a fun read, though it did drag a bit in the beginning. I enjoyed this enough to dive into the rest of the series! I hope we see more of Gertie in the next instalments!
Profile Image for Karen.
318 reviews
November 26, 2020
3.5 stars. Another enjoyable entry in this series; a bit slower to get going than the first four, but still a good well-written mystery. Freddie is his usual self and Gertie is a great foil for him.
Profile Image for Valerie.
310 reviews
March 6, 2021
Another interesting entry in this series. It has a little more sense of the era than some of the others, and had me guessing till the end.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
2,682 reviews36 followers
January 18, 2023
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
1 review1 follower
December 5, 2019
Very enjoyable.Looking forward to the next in series.
Profile Image for Jill.
1,056 reviews
June 16, 2023
Although the book does have a murder within, it is still written in a lighthearted way, with plenty of humour,as the story goes on. It is the fun character of Freddy, and the circle he mixes with. In this it is Lady Gertrude who pals up with Freddy , both determined to prove that the deceased did not commit suicide, but was murdered inside a locked room. During the investigation an attempt on Freddy’s life , makes the case of murder even more likely. As the book goes on it also encompasses sabotage, blackmail, along with patent stealing.
Profile Image for Pauline Ross.
Author 10 books305 followers
September 19, 2019
This was a whole heap of fun. I’ve been following along with Clara Benson since the very first Angela Marchmont book, and after ten Angela adventures, here we are with the fifth of the spin-off series, featuring insouciant man-about-town Freddy Pilkington-Soames. Freddy is very funny, and he’s a much more active investigator of murders than ladylike Angela, but he also lacks Angela’s mysterious past (or perhaps I should say, if he has such a thing, it’s keeping a low profile). Nor does he have Angela’s faithful and very useful servants, her French maid and chauffeur. His sidekicks vary from book to book, but this time we get two old favourites, rival journalist Corky Beckwith, and giddy socialite Gertie McAloon. I like Gertie’s have-a-go spirit, and it looks like there’s some welcome romance in the offing, too. At last!

The plot is a rather tasty locked-room mystery, apparently a suicide, but of course it can’t possibly be that simple. And why was the dead man wearing the wrong shoes? The background is the newly-burgeoning aircraft industry, mingled with the usual upper-class social events, much consumption of alcohol and a snogging competition. Unusually for me I actually spotted the murderer early on, although there were plenty of red herrings along the way. A lovely light-hearted read with a twenties settings that I found very authentic, loads of delightfully eccentric characters and some laugh-out-loud humour. And that hint of romance, although I’ve been disappointed in Freddy before in the romance department, so I’m not holding my breath. Five stars and recommended for fans of golden-era murder mysteries.
Profile Image for Irene Vartanoff.
Author 27 books11 followers
September 17, 2019
Taking place in the lighthearted 1920s in London's upper crust, this is a good "locked room" mystery that is lighter in the solving than usual and helps balance the unfairness of the main murder. Sometimes the most obnoxious person in the book gets killed and one is interested in knowing who did it, but it seems like rough justice regardless. In this case, not so, a true tragedy. Amiable Freddy and his friend Gertie, whom we've met before, team up to prove that an apparent suicide was actually a murder. Entertaining reading. One does not have to have read the other books in the series to enjoy this one.
12 reviews60 followers
September 12, 2019
I adore this series!

While I loved dear Angela, Freddie has become my favorite “not a Cotswold Baker with a policeman boyfriend” sleuth.historically accurate, details oriented, quirky and cute and still mysterious enough - this has it all. Start with the Marchmont series and meet our hero properly. It’s worth it.
Profile Image for ShanDizzy .
1,063 reviews
August 2, 2022
Freddy saves the day again and gets beat up along the way. He solved his friend's murder because he simply could not believe that his friend committed suicide.
Displaying 1 - 23 of 23 reviews

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