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Missing or Murdered
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Group reads > Missing or Murdered - SPOILER thread

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Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9287 comments Mod
This is our SPOILER thread for Missing or Murdered. So, if you haven't finished yet and don't want the ending spoilt, please just post in the general thread until you've finished.


Rosina (rosinarowantree) | 819 comments I read this after seeing that it was going to be the discussion this month. However, I did have one problem.

It seemed to me that someone forgot to put Checkhov's gun on the mantelpiece in the first few chapters. Did anyone else think that Forsythe forgot to tell the reader about the bandaged wrist?


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9287 comments Mod
Rosina, I also wondered about this - I wasn't sure if I'd failed to spot it.

Another plot problem for me was the previously unmentioned lookalike cousin - this is very close to breaking the "rule" about identical twins! I really enjoyed the book overall but felt it didn't play fair over these potnts.


Susan | 10353 comments Mod
Phyllis put up a link to the Classic Mysteries podcast in the Introductions thread: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/class...

It is also available on iTunes and there is an episode on, "Missing or Murdered," if anyone is interested.


Rosina (rosinarowantree) | 819 comments Judy wrote: "Rosina, I also wondered about this - I wasn't sure if I'd failed to spot it.

Another plot problem for me was the previously unmentioned lookalike cousin - this is very close to breaking the "rule..."


I had the book as Kindle, so could search for 'wrist' and 'bandage'. I'm sure it wasn't mentioned at all!

I suppose the idea of someone masquerading had been raised, which makes the identical cousin not too much of a push. But still! Quite enjoyable, but not fair.


Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 104 comments I felt the same about the wrist and the cousin.


Susan | 10353 comments Mod
In the podcast, it is mentioned that the author breaks a couple of the 'rules' and I think that is a fair point.


message 8: by Betsy (new)

Betsy | 170 comments I have only got started with the book. I certainly like Algernon. I will be interested in finding the heavy tread on the rules that you've all mentioned.


Rosina (rosinarowantree) | 819 comments The point about the wrist isn't of course a spoiler - since it isn't mentioned until the killer is revealed, the reader won't know who has the bandaged wrist ...


Susan | 10353 comments Mod
I don't really mind a few rules being bended, or broken, if the book holds my attention...


message 11: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9287 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "Phyllis put up a link to the Classic Mysteries podcast in the Introductions thread: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/class...

It is also available on iTunes..."


I enjoyed this podcast episode, Phyllis, thanks again! Just realised that all the episodes are also available to listen to at the website www.classicmysteriesnet - this also looks like a great resource.


Phyllis Judy wrote: "Susan wrote: "Phyllis put up a link to the Classic Mysteries podcast in the Introductions thread: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/class...

It is also available on iTunes..."

I enjoyed th..."


I am glad that you are enjoying it. It was a great find for me, too.


Susan | 10353 comments Mod
I love podcasts, Phyllis and am always happy to find a book related one :)


message 14: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 540 comments Deborah wrote: "I felt the same about the wrist and the cousin."

Me too, or three, or maybe four or five.

I definitely didn't see the wrist bandage on (Gideon? Book is upstairs). I think he forgot to go back and put that in.


message 15: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 540 comments I found it mediocre as a mystery. After awhile I got bored with Vereker's self-absorption. I did enjoy his banter with Heather, but realizing all the while that it was totally unrealistic for the inspector to josh him so much, especially since they weren't previously acquainted. I don't think a police officer would be that casual with someone who really ought to have been included in the suspects list (his motive? maybe to get control as executor over Bygrave's estate and loot it, or maybe Bygrave had discovered something to Vereker's discredit and V had to get rid of B to avoid ruin or even prison.


message 16: by Jill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2146 comments Everyman wrote: "I found it mediocre as a mystery. After awhile I got bored with Vereker's self-absorption. I did enjoy his banter with Heather, but realizing all the while that it was totally unrealistic for the i..."

I agree . I did really enjoy the banter between the two of them, but found it highly unlikely. It did however, make for good reading


Susan | 10353 comments Mod
Everyman, you make a good point - why wasn't Vereker considered a suspect? Obviously, he wasn't at the inn where our missing minister was staying, but that did not necessarily rule him out. He was a close friend, he had a possible motive (being executor of the will) and he could have certainly been involved. At one point, I did wonder if this was a bluff (shades of Roger Ackroyd...) and he would be involved.


message 18: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9287 comments Mod
I got it into my head that Vereker and Heather were already friends, but clearly I made that up! Agreed that really Vereker should have been on the suspects list, but this didn't strike me while reading.


Susan | 10353 comments Mod
The more genteel background of many of these GA novels can lull you into that sense that characters are friends, when really they are not. That is, though, part of their charm. Vereker and Heather liked to share a pipe and, like the readers, treated the possible crime as a puzzle to be worked out. You never really got much sense that Vereker was particularly worried about his 'close' friend. There was the odd mention of his concern, but the focus was on the plot - clues and suspects.


message 20: by Betsy (new)

Betsy | 170 comments I just finished the book and I see now about the various rules that were certainly stretched if not broken in the story. I, too, liked the banter between Algernon and Heather, but two things that really bothered me and are extraneous from the broken rules: if he has the beautiful name Anthony then why would he put up with Algernon (I know he explained but that seemed weak), and heavens why did they have to introduce a love interest? Mrs. Cathcart (another alias) might have been beautiful, but give us a break, can't writers write mysteries without romance?
Once again too many characters with too many names (plus aliases for almost everybody and even hidden characters) made this a somewhat confusing book. Keeping the focus on the mystery is what I look for in a mystery and this one strayed from that, even Ricardo added to the distraction.


message 21: by Jill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2146 comments Heather did get to some of his information before Vereker (due to the size of the police force) but didn't tell Vereker until Vereker put it to him. I did wonder if that meant that Heather still had an open mind about whether he had ,had a part to play in the disappearance.


Susan | 10353 comments Mod
I thought Heather was remarkably tolerant of Vereker, but both men seemed to regard the investigation as little more than a game, or puzzle. Perhaps that was the author's way of talking to the reader though.

I do agree that all the aliases made things confusing - not to mention houses which seemed to suddenly become abandoned or change overnight. It was a little like The Moving Toyshop at times :)


message 23: by Betsy (new)

Betsy | 170 comments Good point. In confusion the two novels are similar. I think that it is strange that a lawyer like Algernon is so ready to engage in investigation and that Heather was quite willing to exhange information with him?


Sandy | 2927 comments Mod
Vereker is an amusing character and his banter with Heather is one of the best aspects of the book. I agree their relationship is unrealistic, but at least Heather doesn't tell Vereker anything until he discovered it for himself. I was really annoyed by the look-alike criminal cousin introduced so very near the end and the thieving employee was almost as bad as we knew nothing of his background. (Unless I missed something; that's always possible.) Interesting that the bandage wrist clue was missing - I assumed I missed it. Not one of my favorite books.


Susan | 10353 comments Mod
Sandy, you make some interesting points. Just veering off from this actual book a bit, what do you all think about publishers bringing so many GA novels back into print? It is good for us, obviously, but after the surprise success of a couple of Golden Age mysteries, it seems as though many publishers are searching their back catalogues for any books they may have forgotten about. Do you think there is enough quality control going on? In other words, are some of these books/authors forgotten simply because they were not good enough to stay in print?


message 26: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9287 comments Mod
Interesting question, Susan. I had wondered about this, but I think all the GA reprints I've read so far have been of a high quality, unless there is something that has slipped my mind!


message 27: by Betsy (last edited Jul 12, 2016 06:02PM) (new)

Betsy | 170 comments Considering the "quality control" of a great many of the cozy mysteries which are being thrown out at us in today's world, I believe that, for the most part, the quality of those novels of the past can hold their own against the heroine who just happens to run into umpteen murders, feels she must investigate, and then promptly falls in love with the police investigator - the plotting boggles the mind. The only thing clever about some of them is the pun that you can with find with almost every title.


Sandy | 2927 comments Mod
I don't expect the reprints to uncover any true gems; I imagine those authors remained in print. However the second tier authors are quite good and I enjoy the discovery. I assume that reprints are cheaper to publish than new novels so seeking them out is a good business decision. And, as Betsy said, there are so many cozies written with silly themes (cupcakes!) that the GA mysteries shine in comparison.


Susan | 10353 comments Mod
I tend to agree about the formulaic 'cozies' (cats, coffee shops, cupcakes, quilting?!), although I also think many try to base themselves upon GA novels in style. I was just interested in our thoughts and I am also enjoying discovering some long out of print authors.


message 30: by Jill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2146 comments I tend to think of the type of cozies you are talking about , as light entertainment,and do in fact suit a lot of people's taste.


message 31: by Sandy (last edited Jul 13, 2016 04:29AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sandy | 2927 comments Mod
Jill wrote: "I tend to think of the type of cozies you are talking about , as light entertainment,and do in fact suit a lot of people's taste."

I agree. I haven't read any of those cozies but Stephanie Plum remains a guilty pleasure - perfect evening's escape. But I am amazed at all the different cozy themes.


Susan | 10353 comments Mod
I have no objection to them individually - there are some good cozies on the market. They do tend to be formulaic though and I just find it interesting how many often pay homage to GA novels. I'm thinking of characters, like Agatha Raisin, which is obviously a nod to Christie. Also, just a general point about the quality of the long out of print novels being resurrected. It is certainly a good time for readers, such as us, who are mystery lovers.


message 33: by Gina (new)

Gina Dalfonzo | 15 comments I tried to read a cozy once. It made me twitchy. :-) It's not so much the small-town setting (I really like the Mitford novels, for instance.) as the quality of the writing and the general cutesiness.


Susan | 10353 comments Mod
Small towns and villages are always best avoided in crime novels, Gina. They can be dangerous places :)


message 35: by Betsy (new)

Betsy | 170 comments You're so right. Can you imagine someone trying to learn about American culture in rural places by only reading cozies? Sigh!


Susan | 10353 comments Mod
Well, Betsy, we would know to avoid coffee shops (or bookshops for that matter) as the chance of stumbling over a body is pretty high ;)


message 37: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 540 comments Susan wrote: "Well, Betsy, we would know to avoid coffee shops (or bookshops for that matter) as the chance of stumbling over a body is pretty high ;)"

Also avoid Cambridge or Oxford university campuses. They are, at least in the mystery story genre, absolute death traps!


Susan | 10353 comments Mod
My nephew is at Oxford, Everyman, and it does look like the ideal setting for a murder!


CatBee (ecospirit) | 3 comments I really enjoyed this book BECAUSE it was not a formulaic cozy. It seems like a number of the characters, such as Ricky, were not really necessary to further the mystery, but I enjoyed the rich description and eccentric personalities of the numerous characters with whom Vereker comes in contact. Perhaps their interactions give us a feel for cultural reality in that period, some of which is surprising. I liked it because it developed this broader context.


Susan | 10353 comments Mod
Catherine, you make a good point and, as we've touched on before, I wonder whether certain books went out of print because there was a 'winning formula' and so publishers concentrated on those, most popular books. Gradually, over time, lesser books (in terms of sales) may have fallen by the wayside and only just be being re-discovered. I agree that this was slightly unusual and I thought the author himself sounded very interesting.


Elinor | 37 comments I've just finished it and I liked it - though not as much as Duplicate death by Georgette Heyer, but I think prefered it to Patricia Wentwoth's Danger Point.
I agree with you upon the unfairness of the sudden appereance of the cousin, and about the wrist (but I thought I had simply miss this one). I also agree with the unlikeliness of Heather and Vereker's relationship, tought I really enjoyed it. I quite like the characters, and I found the plot interesting too - maybe because I only have a small experience with mysteries ?
I will read the sequel to this one, because it was quite a good read for me ! I just hope that there won't be that many rules broken in this one.


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