The Villa of Death: A Daphne du Maurier Mystery

Joanna Challis, Author
Joanna Challis. Minotaur, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-36717-6
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4299-3888-4
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Young Daphne du Maurier is determined to solve a murder or two and write her first novel in Challis’s diverting third mystery featuring the future author of Rebecca (after 2010’s Peril at Somner House). When Teddy Grimshaw, a prosperous businessman, is fatally poisoned on his wedding day at his Cornish manor house, suspicion falls on his bride and Daphne’s dear friend, Ellen, who stands to inherit a considerable sum, to the dismay of Teddy’s vitriolic first wife. Daphne puts her imagination into overdrive, and with her forbearing fiancé, Maj. Frederick Browning of Scotland Yard, they make a surprisingly able duo, combining her genteel guile with his old-fashioned legwork. Challis well renders the bucolic and socially stratified England of the 1920s, but readers should be prepared for stock characters (the grim inspector and his friendly sergeant, the motherly cook, the gossipy servants) and over-the-top dialogue (“My pretty! I ’ave ye now!”). (Dec.)
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