MURDER UNDERGROUND BY MAVIS DORIEL HAY
(A BRITISH LIBRARY CRIME CLASSIC)
I’m a big fan of old books being brought to a new reading audience with gorgeous, updated and collectible covers. The British Library Crime Classic series has done just that. However, after reading my second book from the this series I am fearful that the covers may just be the best thing about them.
Reading Murder Underground I could not help but think that this should have been a short story instead. The murder mystery centres around the boarders at the Frampton Hotel who muse on the killer in their midst when fellow resident- the disliked Miss Pongleton – is found strangled with a dog leash on the steps of an Underground station.
The maps and family tree illustrations did go some way to helping, but I found there were an infuriating number of characters wrapped up in this mystery. I had to keep checking back to see who was who and what their motives might be which interrupted the flow. They seemed an indistinguishable bunch to me right up until the last few chapters when many of them suddenly sprung to life. It was from there that I enjoyed the curious scrap-booking habits of Mr Blend and some excellent lines from the snobbish Mrs Daymer; “But not all the inhabitants of a manufacturing town are susceptible to its debasing influence.”
The plot was cluttered with too many suspects and the middle chunk was repetitive in the characters sat around surmising. A short story would’ve made for a much more enjoyable read for me although I did like her dry expressions and the Northern Line underground setting.
SOUTHSEA BOOKWORM RATING: 5/10
Notes on the author – Mavis Doriel Hay
- 1994 – 1979
- She had 3 detective novels published in the 1930s