Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Herring in the Library by L.C. Tyler

I wasn't familiar with L.C. Tyler's mystery series featuring third-rate mystery author  Ethelred Tressider and his literary agent Elsie Thirkettle, although the first two books in the series had been nominated for Edgar Awards. But, the latest book, The Herring in The Library, is a funny treat for those who appreciate traditional British mysteries.

The book opens with Ethelred and Elsie playing a game of Cluedo (Clue). As Ethelred tells the story, it's obvious that Elsie cheats. It's also obvious she's the stronger character of the two, very opinionated. When they are invited to dinner at Muntham Court, the new home of Ethelred's friend, Sir Robert Muntham, it isn't long before the set-up reminds Elsie of Cluedo. She views it as a classic puzzle, with the wealthy man dead in a locked library, while his wife and assorted friends are in the house. At times, Ethelred tells the story since he's asked by Lady Muntham to investigate, and it's clear he's being led in the direction she wants him to go. When Elsie takes her turn as narrator, it's obvious that she thinks Lady Muntham is the culprit, and has set up the entire scenario.

The Herring in the Library has so many elements that are common to British mysteries, from the odd cast of characters, the eccentric sleuths, to the "locked" room. There's even the plot within the plot as Ethelred wrestles with his latest mystery story, one that seems to contain very familiar characters. Tyler manages to turn all conventions upside down with surprises. The alternating narrators, with their very different approaches to the investigation, allows Tyler to have fun with the story, right up to the conclusion. Hopefully, readers will have just as much fun as the author did.

L.C. Tyler's website is http://www.lctyler.com/

The Herring in the Library by L.C. Tyler. Felony & Mayhem. ©2010. ISBN 9781934609767 (paperback), 240p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy, hoping I would review it.

11 comments:

bermudaonion said...

This sounds like a fun read! I'm sure my mother would love it! The cover is fantastic.

Liz V. said...

Thanks for another good lead.

Lesa said...

Kathy, I hope your mother does enjoy it if she picks it up.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Liz. Thanks for your insightful comments on so many of the blog pieces. I appreciate them!

Anonymous said...

What a great review! Thanks, Lesa!
Sounds like an ecellent book.

Chantelle Osman said...

I love the Herring series! I just picked up Herring on the Nile last night, and can't wait to read! Gem of a series that should be more popular than it is.

Lesa said...

You already knew them, Chantelle. I just discovered them with this series, but the publicist at Felony & Mayhem said I'll have more books coming from them. (smile) This one was fun.

Karen said...

I haven't read any British mysteries in quite awhile. The Herring in the Library sounds like a great place to start again. Thanks for the review.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Karen. I hope you find it fun.

Elizabeth C. Main said...

Sounds perfect for a fun summer read. Quirky and British go well together. Thanks for yet another good lead. Liz M.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Liz. You're right. Quirky and British do go well together.