cover image In the Crypt with a Candlestick

In the Crypt with a Candlestick

Daisy Waugh. Pegasus Crime, $25.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-64313-805-3

The literary in-jokes that suffuse this mildly amusing satirical mystery from Waugh (Honeyville) start with the name of the central family, the Todes of Tode Hall, one of England’s most famous stately homes and a lucrative tourist attraction because it was the site of a hit TV series, Prance to the Music in Time. After the death of nonagenarian Sir Ecgbert, his widow, Lady Tode, decides to pass off managing the estate to a younger generation. But instead of choosing any of their three oddball children, she selects her nephew Egbert , which naturally doesn’t sit well with his cousins. Egbert and his annoyingly flighty and narcissistic wife bring along Alice Liddell, whose grandmother once worked at Tode Hall, to manage it. When Lady Tode turns up dead in the family mausoleum, Alice investigates. The mystery doesn’t amount to much, and the subtle wit may be lost on American readers, especially those unfamiliar with The Wind in the Willows, Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time, the girl who inspired Alice in Wonderland, and much more. Fans of the author’s grandfather, Evelyn Waugh, though, may want to check this out. Agent: Clare Alexander, Aitken Alexander Assoc. (Oct.)