Mad About the Boy?
Review: Mystery writer and former Royal Flying Corps pilot Jack Haldean investigates the supposed suicide of a young man at a festive event in Mad About the Boy?, the second mystery in this series by Dolores Gordon-Smith.
In 1923 Haldean, together with other family members and friends, are invited to his aunt and uncle's summer estate for a week-end of celebration in honor of their Silver Anniversary. During the evening ball when everyone is enjoying the festivities tragedy occurs. A young man, the secretary of one of the attendees, apparently commits suicide. Or did he? The police who examine the scene rule suicide. But Haldean finds it very mysterious, indeed, that a young man, seemingly very happy, would take his own life during a celebration ball. The following day, the dead man's boss, a reputable banker involved in lending money to foreign countries, is found stabbed to death in his locked room, clearly not suicide. This raises more questions for not only Haldean, but also the local police. Though all the rooms had locks, they were old and loose. As Haldean sees it, this is a case of the unlocked locked door. When everyone in the household is questioned, secrets are brought to the surface that begin to explain the tragedies of the weekend.
Mad About the Boy? is a generally enjoyable, even capricious, mystery being frequently amusing but also remarkably confusing. The country house aspects are well done with period detail and the grand panaroma of the English countryside. But the relationships between the guests aren't well developed, or maybe they're just not all that interesting, leaving the reader with a somewhat murky view of who did what to whom, when, and why. Though the book is clearly a whodunit, it's probably best not to read it as such but rather as a historical cozy populated with an eclectic cast of characters.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Mad About the Boy?.
Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided an ARC of Mad About the Boy? for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Mad About the Boy?: England
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Mad About the Boy? by Dolores Gordon-Smith — A Jack Haldean Mystery
Publisher: Soho Constable
Publication Date: July 2008
List Price: $24.95