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An English Murder
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Buddy reads > An English Murder by Cyril Hare

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Susan | 10021 comments Mod
The snow is thick, the phone line is down, and no one is getting in or out of Warbeck Hall. With friends and family gathered round the fire, all should be set for a perfect Christmas, but as the bells chime midnight, a mysterious murder takes place.

Who can be responsible? The scorned young lover? The lord's passed-over cousin? The social climbing politician's wife? The Czech history professor? The obsequious butler? And perhaps the real question is: can any of them survive long enough to tell the tale?

First published in 1951, this is a Golden Age setting, but set in a time period when 'Big Houses,' were becoming hard to keep up and this is definitely a theme within the novel. An unsettled, post-war, time and an author, Cyril Hare, that we have not read in the group before. Here is an article about the author: http://www.martinedwardsbooks.com/cyr...
This is his only attempt at a country house murder and we look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Please do not post spoilers in this thread.


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8950 comments Mod
This thread is now open for discussion of this Christmas murder story. Who is reading this one? I have an old green Penguin and will be starting today.


message 3: by Sue (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sue (mrskipling) | 250 comments I'll be reading this one - I have a Kindle version and will probably start in the next couple of days. I like the idea that this is set at a time when country houses were becoming harder to keep up. I think that's an interesting twist on the normal country house party murder story.


message 4: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 2789 comments Mod
I won't be reading this one as it is unavailable in my libraries (and I'm NOT at a loss for reading) but will be following the conversation.


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8950 comments Mod
I took a quick glance inside this one and am now absolutely hooked - I've already read 58 pages! A great twist on the country-house mystery so far and so well written - all the characters are distinct and it's very atmospheric. Strikes me this would make a good film or TV mystery, so I'm wondering if it has been adapted.


Susan | 10021 comments Mod
I agree, Judy. I like the post-war setting. A country house with an air of neglect, the idea of heredity beginning to wane and staff hard to get hold of...


Roman Clodia | 812 comments I enjoyed this, too, and saw it as half homage to, and half spoof of, the vintage country house murder mystery.

As people are still reading I won't give away spoilers - but the contemporary politics of the Holocaust, a socialist government and neo-fascist groups draw attention to how the genre generally avoids the political.


message 8: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 805 comments I probably won’t be able to read this till the end of the month, when I will be traveling and using my Kindle. Two door-stopper hardcovers to read before!


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8950 comments Mod
Roman Clodia wrote: "I enjoyed this, too, and saw it as half homage to, and half spoof of, the vintage country house murder mystery. "

I've finished this now and agree with you about half homage, half spoof. We can discuss this more over in the spoiler thread, RC!


Roman Clodia | 812 comments Duh, I'd forgotten we have a spoiler thread!


message 11: by Doris (last edited Dec 15, 2018 07:20AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Doris (webgeekstress) | 40 comments If anyone else was puzzled by Dr. Bottwink's reference to 'the famous dictum of Sir Robert Walpole on dinner-table conversation' at the end of Chapter VII, I found this:
'When I complained of having dined at a splendid table without hearing one sentence of conversation worthy of being remembered, he said, "Sir, there seldom is any such conversation." Boswell: "Why then meet at table?" Johnson: "Why, to eat and drink together, and to promote kindness; and, Sir, this is better done when there is no solid conversation; for when there is, people differ in opinion, and get into bad humour, or some of the company who are not capable of such conversation, are left out, and feel themselves uneasy. It was for this reason, Sir Robert Walpole said, he always talked bawdy at his table, because in that all could join."
Boswell: Life' (emphasis added)
Reference: https://www.samueljohnson.com/convivi...


message 12: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8950 comments Mod
That's really interesting - thanks for finding the reference, Doris. It explains why Dr Bottwink suddenly starts "talking bawdy", which seems a bit out of character for him, I thought.


message 13: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8950 comments Mod
Is anyone thinking of reading more by Cyril Hare? I really enjoyed both this and the Colin Watson - two more authors that this group has introduced me to who I look forward to reading more by! Thanks to Susan for suggesting this one.


message 14: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8950 comments Mod
Not sure if this is a special offer, but, for anyone wanting more Cyril Hare, the first in his Inspector Mallett series, Tenant for Death, is currently £1.50.


Susan | 10021 comments Mod
I would like to read more. I have downloaded the fist Inspector Mallett novel, Tenant for Death.


Frances (francesab) | 384 comments I would certainly consider reading more of Cyril Hare, but unfortunately cannot even keep up with the series I have on the go already!


Susan | 10021 comments Mod
I know what you mean, Frances!


message 18: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 805 comments I wanted to read this but could not find it on Kindle, sigh.


Susan | 10021 comments Mod
No, I think we didn't use it as a group read, as it was available on kindle in the UK only. I think I recall that is why it became a Buddy Read instead, Abigail.


message 20: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 805 comments And to think I used to have a complete set of his mysteries in paperback! Why does it always turn out to be a mistake when I let books go?


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

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8950 comments Mod
How annoying, Abigail. It’s a shame that so many books seem to be on Kindle in some countries but not in others. With Christianna Brand it’s the other way round and her books aren’t available in the UK.

I have actually started reading another Cyril Hare book, Tenant for Death, and am enjoying it so far.


Susan | 10021 comments Mod
I think Cyril Hare only appeared on kindle in the UK fairly recently. Last year, if I recall correctly, this title came out for Christmas, after the surprise popularity of a couple of GA titles.


Rosina (rosinarowantree) | 760 comments I have just finished Tragedy at Law, which I enjoyed, especially for the judge on Circuit - something I've read about in other books, but with more explanation here - and the little details about the war and its ripple of effects.


message 24: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8950 comments Mod
Rosina wrote: "I have just finished Tragedy at Law, which I enjoyed, especially for the judge on Circuit - something I've read about in other books, but with more explanation here - and the little ..."

I will look forward to that one, Rosina - I really enjoyed Tenant for Death.

Susan just posted a link to an interesting article about Cyril Hare in another thread:
http://www.martinedwardsbooks.com/cyr...

This article includes some interesting background about the writing of An English Murder:

Its origin was a half-hour radio play entitled “The Murder at Warbeck Hall”, one of the six penned by members of the Detection Club broadcast at weekly intervals during January and February 1948. (Hare is also credited with a play, “The House of Warbeck” which looks like another version of the same events, but we have not seen a script. At all events a play version of An English Murder was produced at the Theatre Royal in Margate in 1955.)


message 25: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8950 comments Mod
It's also mentioned in the article that Hare had started to write a second novel with Bottwink as his detective when he died in 1958, but hadn't got very far with it.


Diane Lending (dianefromvirginia) | 22 comments I just realized that An English Murder is available on Kindle for 2.00 in the US but not under the pen name Cyril Hare. It's under the author's real name Clark Alfred Alexander Gordon. A few other of the Cyril Hare books are also available under the Gordon name. It's a great Christmas read so look for it. I'm pleased to buy it since my old paperback has print so small I can barely read it.


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