Lee's Reviews > A Man of Some Repute

A Man of Some Repute by Elizabeth Edmondson
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really liked it
bookshelves: series, cosy-mystery, english, historical, mystery

It’s 1953 and the impressively named Hugo Hawksworth is having to undergo a slight career change after injuring his leg in a ‘bicycle accident’. His government employers send him from London to the fictional English town of Selchester. Here, he’ll be working as a ‘statistician’. Soon after he arrives at his lodgings, the local earl's castle no less, a skeleton is found and his former field work is put to good use. (If I'm not being obvious enough with my punctuation, let me just tell you he is a spy -- this isn’t a spoiler, it’s pretty much stated from the beginning.)

Hugo partners up with Freya, the niece of the Earl of Selchester, to try and solve the mystery. Freya has probably got better spy credentials than Hugo, considering no one knows her past or present career, compared with the whole town knowing what Hugo does!

As leads, Hugo and Freya are very likeable. I hope we get a chance to read more about their war time activities. I also wouldn't complain if their relationship eventually grows into something a little more romantic.

The book also features an array of [cliched, I guess] sidekicks including Hugo’s school aged sister, his learned uncle who is a priest, Freya's bluntly rude aunt, and the feisty housekeeper.

The book suffers a little with having to establish all these [what I assume will be] regular characters. I am looking forward to reading the next in the series without the awkward [at times] introductions. 

The murder/mystery plot is solid enough. There’s the plethora of suspects, all with valid reasons for committing the murder, red herrings, and twists. The book isn’t completely original obviously, but for me it pretty much works due to the time and location setting.

I loved that aspect of the novel. The PTSD so many suffered post WW2 is a fascinating subject and I enjoy it being explored in literature or film. The book also uses the beginning of the Cold War, and the final remnants of the servant class and the powerful structure of the nobility. 

The only real disappointment I had with the book was the climactic scenes and their far too speedy resolution. The build up was excellent but it felt like the tension was cut far too short and I really didn't fear for the characters as much as I should have. I’m pretty sure Edmondson should have dragged out the drama for a couple more chapters. 

I would still highly recommend the book. Its blurb says it’s a mix of Downton Abbey, Agatha Christie and Le Carre. I’d actually say that’s pretty spot on.

4 out of 5
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Reading Progress

December 1, 2017 – Started Reading
December 1, 2017 – Shelved
December 1, 2017 – Shelved as: series
December 7, 2017 – Shelved as: cosy-mystery
December 7, 2017 – Shelved as: english
December 7, 2017 – Shelved as: historical
December 7, 2017 – Shelved as: mystery
December 7, 2017 – Finished Reading

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