Saturday, May 1, 2021

Farewell My Herring (Herring Mysteries #9)

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Farewell My Herring is a stylishly clever classic mystery and the 9th Herring Mystery by L.C. Tyler. Released 22nd April 2021 by Allison & Busby, it's 227 pages and is available in hardcover and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. 

This hitherto unfamiliar (to me) series is a genuinely funny and surprisingly nuanced homage to golden age mystery in general, and Christie specifically. The author uses the classic tropes: inaccessible mountain writers' retreat cut off by a winter snowstorm, a murder and disappearance, atmospheric (creepy) house with a mysterious major domo... but he manages to avoid the pitfall of just riffing endlessly on canonical Christie which becomes boring in short order.

The plot is well engineered and the characters were well written and (although snarky and silly in places) mostly believable. The returning characters, hapless author Ethelred, and his sarcastic and cynical literary agent, Elsie are by turns earnest and cynical.  The story is told with alternating chapter point-of-views between Elsie and Ethelred which weren't any problem to keep straight since their voices were so distinct from one another (and the chapter headers are labeled). 

This is a neatly stylish, entertaining, and self-contained mystery. The character backstories are provided by the author and it wasn't obviously a series book. I had no trouble following along and the denouement and resolution were complete and satisfying. It was good enough that I fully intend to chase down the earlier books in the series. 

Four stars. Entertaining and well crafted.   

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.


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