Blurb: Lady Laura Boxford lives with her pug, Parker in the retirement complex of Wellworth Lawns, formerly her family home. One day she and her friend Venetia see the ancient actor, Sir Repton Willowby arriving. He’s Venetia’s cousin by marriage and Venetia says he murdered his wife. He lives at the Edwardian pile, Mount Cod and he says he’s being haunted by the ghost of an eighteenth century serving wench called Rosalind.
Laura is convinced he’s a charlatan using the ghost as a ruse for finding a new wife. She determines to get to the bottom of the mystery on account of Venetia’s daughter who stands to inherit Mount Cod. But did Sir Repton murder his wife and is the house haunted?
I thoroughly enjoyed this cosy murder mystery. In fact, so much so that I went in search of the previous book as soon as I turned the last page!
In Wellworth Lawns retirement complex, Nicky Stratton has created a genteel yet surprisingly vigorous setting for her unique cast of elderly eccentrics. I was particularly fond of Laura, our main character, and her best friend, Venetia; they make an elegantly comedic double-act that all friends could aspire to in their elder years.
The plot was a relatively complex mystery, featuring a large range of highly plausible suspects with very different motives. I was inclined to agree with her friends’ observations about Lady Boxford’s effect on the workload of the local constabulary! There were times when this plethora of, if not all villainous, highly unpleasant individuals made the plotline seem a little chaotic and muddly, but that might equally be down to my blind rage at the flagrant elder abuse. I believe I may have actually gibbered in audible outrage on at least one occasion!
Thanks to Laura’s sardonic wit and calm demeanour though, the story remained a riotous easy read which I would recommend to fans of Wodehousian humour and sensibilities who enjoy a mystery twist.
‘Unless I’m much mistaken, that is my cousin Repton Willowby,’ Venetia said.
‘Sir Repton Willowby, the actor?’ Laura focused more closely. ‘Goodness I believe you’re right. I remember seeing him in Hamlet, at least forty years ago. But what do you mean your cousin?’
Laura turned to Venetia. ‘Your cousin by marriage? You are full of surprises.’ She returned her gaze to the scene below. ‘He used to be so good-looking, of course his nostrils let him down – too wide for my liking. But would you look at him now; he’s positively haggard.’
‘That’s guilt for you; the murderous psychopath.’
– Nicky Stratton, The Haunting of Mount Cod
Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour (poster below) for more great reviews and content, and have a look here for my other Clink Street review in this tour!