Assassins at Ospreys: A Country House Crime
R. T. Raichev
Soho, 2008 (2008)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Tim Davis
ealthy Ralph Renshawe is dying of cancer and languishes in his old English manor house, Ospreys, which he has not-so-lovingly but rather accurately called his very own
House of Usher
. As he grudgingly prepares himself for death, the rather unpleasant Renshawe has several compelling concerns: one, he wants to make sure he changes his will so that his ne'er-do-well nephew is completely disinherited, and two, he wants to make amends for pain and suffering he inflicted upon two women during an automobile accident more than thirty years earlier.
ne of those women is Beatrice Ardleigh - the woman who had been in love with Renshawe more than three decades earlier - and the other woman is Ingrid Delmar, a woman who pregnancy was tragically terminated because of the automobile accident. To describe both women as eccentric would be an understatement. To further describe both woman as having an overwhelming interest in Renshawe's state-of-health and his imminent demise is an even larger understatement.
ut readers of
Assassins at Ospreys
- by giving careful attention to the implications in the title - must not focus all of their attentions on Beatrice, Ingrid, and Renshawe; the soon-to-be-disinherited nephew, the '
idler and waster
' Robin Renshawe, and Renshawe's priest, Father Lillie-Lysander, as well as the nurses who take care of Renshawe will each play important roles in all that happens in this highly recommended whodunit.
oreover, and more importantly, the central characters of the novel, the charming mystery novelist Antonia Darcy and her husband Hugh Payne, are the sleuths who find themselves drawn into a top-notch murder mystery at a country house in which the absurd, the inexplicable, and the menacing all add up to '
a pervading sense of strangeness
' and - for readers - a whole lot of fun.
illed with literary allusions, loaded with tongue-in-cheek critiques of the conventions of mystery novels, littered with red herrings, and topped off with a classic denouement at the end wherein the sleuths explain the solution,
Assassins at Ospreys
is an old fashioned, first-class puzzle in the excellent traditions of Agatha Christie, Josephine Tey, and Dorothy Sayers. The author R. T. Raichev has served up an irresistible winner here. So don't miss it!
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