'I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.' L.M. Montgomery

'There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.' Irving Stone

Friday, January 6, 2012

Murder at Shots Hall

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Originally publishes as 'Green December Grows the Graveyard' and written in 1945 by Maureen Sarsfield. Ms. Sarsfield wrote 3 novels, two of which are mysteries and then dropped from sight. What a pity! I thoroughly enjoyed her writing and Inspector Parry was a very promising character. Great thanks to Rue Morgue Press for bringing this character back to life!

This British mystery was well written with lots of 'barmy' characters, to borrow the word used in the story. The plot moved at a nice pace with bits and pieces of humor sprinkled in. I loved the half bombed out old manor house and the wind and rain and the countryside.  I'm looking forward to reading the second and last in the Inspector Parry books (Murder at Beechlands).

Book description:
  Flikka Ashley and her outspoken Aunt Bee Chattock live in the ruins of a formerly great manor house called Shots Hall, located near a Sussex village named after it. Two-thirds of Shots Hall was destroyed by German incendiary bombs, leaving only its grand old tower, a cavernous great hall, the kitchen and a small drawing room. However genteel, poverty is still poverty, and the two women have been forced to make ends meet by selling off the occasional bottle of vintage port or prewar whiskey from the hall's legendary cellars. Whatever their taste in architecture, the Chattocks thankfully knew their liquor.
  Thirty six year old Flikka also brings in some money as a sculptor, but so far her talent far exceeds her commissions. Those commissions have been even fewer of late since Flik began work on her masterpiece, a lifesized mermaid she is carving from a giant sea-green stone hauled to Shots Hall from Wales. She is as secretive about this project as she is about her personal life. There are any number of rumors about Flikka's past, all of which she refuses to discuss. When Molly Pritchard, an old family retainer, is murdered, a loathsome local policeman - whose attentions ere spurned by Flik - sets out to measure her lovely neck for a noose. Scotland Yard's Lane Parry doesn't think Flikka is guilty, but he has to admit that she is doing little to prove her innocence.

If you love mysteries, especially vintage, you will enjoy this book. You'll also love Rue Morgue Press, check it out!


  1. At your suggestion I checked out Rue Morgue Press for my husband the "I read only mysteries" man. He was thrilled to see that they have Stuart Palmer's books - we both thank you!

    This book sounds like something I actually might enjoy -- I don't read alot of mysteries, but I am all for "barmy" English characters, lol.

  2. Book Girl, check on Amazon first for used editions of the rue morgue. I just got 4 R.M. books like brand new for very little from Amazon and thrift books!

  3. I hadn't heard of her before but her books sound right up my street. Thanks.

  4. This sounds like a great book-- just up my alley. thanks!

  5. Oooh! Excellent story. I like vintage mysteries, and have never heard of Maureen Sarsfield. Sounds quite intriguing!

    Thank you for linking up in Sharing Our Bookshelves!
    ~ Tarissa


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