Friday, June 10, 2016

The Secret of High Eldersham by Miles Burton

book cover
The Secret of High Eldersham
by Miles Burton

ISBN-13: 9781464205835
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Released: 1930; June 7, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
‘They’re terrible mistrustful of strangers in these parts.’ Samuel Whitehead, landlord of the Rose and Crown, is a stranger in the lonely East Anglian village of High Eldersham. When the newcomer is stabbed to death in his pub, and Scotland Yard are called to the scene, it seems that the veil dividing High Eldersham from the outside world is about to be lifted.

Detective-Inspector Young forms a theory about the case so utterly impossible that merely entertaining the suspicion makes him doubt his own sanity. Surrounded by sinister forces beyond his understanding, and feeling the need of rational assistance, he calls on a brilliant amateur and ‘living encyclopedia’, Desmond Merrion. Soon Merrion falls for the charms of a young woman in the village, Mavis Owerton. But does Mavis know more about the secrets of the village than she is willing to admit?

My Review:
The Secret of High Eldersham is a mystery/suspense novel that was originally published in 1930 and is set in England. Inspector Young can't make headway on the murder since no one in the village will cooperate. He calls a friend, Desmond Merrion, in to apply some of his encyclopedic knowledge to the situation. Merrion believes that someone has revived the customs of old witchcraft and that discovering who is the head of the coven will lead to discovering the murderer. Inspector Young leaves him to it and follows another lead which may uncover more secrets at High Eldersham. I enjoyed the main characters.

While there were some clues, the story was less about asking questions and more about Merrion and his butler, Newport, sneaking around risking harm to uncover more clues. The characters acted on the clues as soon as they fell into place, at which point the story turned into an action-packed chase. I had a good idea of what was going on by about halfway through. I wasn't surprised by whodunit, but I think the intent was to create suspense more than to hide whodunit.

There was no sex. There was occasional use of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable suspense novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

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