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Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Going Concern, by Catherine Aird


A Going Concern
By Catherine Aird
1993


You could say that there are some similarities between Catherine Aird and E.X. Ferrars. Both are Englishwomen of a certain age - though Ferrars is no longer with us. They both write, for the most part, slim, deliberately paced mysteries in which there's not a whole lot of action. So why did I find the two Ferrars books that I've read lately to be a bit of slog, while I zipped right through Aird's A Going Concern?

Simple one - Aird managed to create a mystery that was sufficiently intriguing to make me keep turning the pages. And kept dribbling out bits and pieces of the puzzle in measured doses until it was finally all tied up. Which, I suppose, is the whole point of this mystery business, but I found this to be an especially skillful exercise.

The mystery, by the by, is why an elderly lady who knew she was soon to die would appoint a great-niece whom she barely knew as her executrix. And why did she specify that her body be examined closely after her death and ask that the police attend her funeral? Now, it that's not enough to keep you reading you're made of stronger stuff than I.

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