Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Herring-Seller's Apprentice

L. C. Tyler, The Herring-Seller's Apprentice
Felony and Mayhem 2009
(Original publication, Macmillan New Writing 2007)
ISBN 978-1-934609-23-1
I'm not sure why I had not heard of these books before, nor do I remember exactly what called them to my attention.  But I am extraordinarily glad to have made the acquaintance of Ethelred Tressider (author of three series of novels under three names) and Elsie Thirkettle (his agent).
Ethelred, on returning from a holiday in France, is asked by the police in his west-of-England town to identify a corpse, strangled, whom they suspect may be his wife.  After a rather circuitous path, we reach the resolution of the murder and of several, shall we say, difficulties in Ethelred's life.  Elsie leaps at the chance to assist in the solution of the murder (and to narrate parts of the story).  One of the aspects of the book I thought I would not care for is the attempts Ethelred makes at starting the new Inspector Fairfax book, but they work beautifully (most especially the last one). 
The resolution is entirely fair-play and (for me) not exactly a surprise, but it is well-done and emotionally satisfying.  The only thing I can't figure out is how we will from where Book 1 (this one) in the series ends and Book 2 (of 4 so far, Ten Little Herrings; book 5 is due out next month) begins.  But I'll find out, and quite soon--maybe tonight.  The Herring-Seller's Apprentice is a gem.  (And all the titles, so far, are plays on the titles of other mysteries, not very hard to figure out.)

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