By Graham Thomas
As nearly as I can tell, Graham Thomas has written three or four books in his Malice series thus far. I read a few of them some time ago, before starting this site, and I thought I'd revisit one, just for the fun of it. For whatever reason I find the Moors to be an enticing setting for mystery fiction, as have a number of authors going back at least as far as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. So I thought I might as well reread Malice on the Moors.
The series concerns the exploits of Scotland Yard's Chief Inspector Erskine Powell. This time around his hunting vacation has been shot down even before it started. Ironically enough, he is called out to Blackamoor Estate, where he tries to untangle the events surrounding the murder of one Dickie Dinsdale during a grouse shooting party.
Dinsdale had taken over the running of the estate and a thriving family business when his father became unable to carry on and wasted no time in racking up an impressive number of enemies, any one of whom might have had a hand in bumping him off. Which (apparent) murder seems to have been carried out by the unusual method of setting a poisonous snake upon him. It's up to Powell and his attractive young assistant, with whom he's never worked before, to get to the bottom of it all.
I'd put Thomas's book in the same company of those of E.X. Ferrars and C.S. Challinor, who I've become quite a fan of lately. All of the aforementioned write short, solid books that are not particularly flashy or fancy but are almost always worth a look.