Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Corpse in the Snowman - 37/81

The Corpse in the Snowman by Nicholas Blake, from Library Thing or Good Reads category

What could be more harmless and childish than a snowman? But the menace present from the beginning of the book makes it clear that this is not your ordinary snowman. There is indeed a body inside. Whose body is not revealed until the end of the book, but there's plenty of trouble before then. Nigel Strangeways is called in by an acquaintance of his wife's. She is disturbed by the behavior of a cat. Strangeways goes along to humor the old lady, but he soon agrees with her that something is seriously wrong at Easterham Manor. And the very next day after he arrives, the body of a young woman is found hanging in her bedroom. 

This has all the makings of a Golden Age Stately Home murder - the kind like Poirot or Inspector Alleyn would investigate. But the feeling soon changes to one of the more modern mysteries, with the introduction of sex, drugs, and well, not rock and roll, but definitely Not Quite. It's sort of a bridge between one type of mystery and another. Modern readers might find the beginning and the style a little old fashioned, but I did enjoy it. It is set, in fact, right on the beginning of World War II, so it's not really modern. In fact, I was prepared for revelations of a different sort and thought I knew exactly where the story was going, but I found myself surprised at the end. A great read and a good story.

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