Tuesday, March 06, 2018

The Magic Chair Murder by Diane Janes

There are a lot of creepy people in Diane Janes' The Magic Chair Murder. Who would guess that the mystery, set in the 1920s in England, would revolve around the author of children's poems and stories?

The Robert Barnaby Society is having a conference. Robert Barnaby was a poet who wrote about a magic chair. Child characters in his poems would sit in the chair, and be transported into the past for a series of adventures. Barnaby died in the Great War, and now adults come together to address the serious subjects in his poems. Some dress in costume, but the overall intent is to discuss Barnaby and his writings. And, Linda Dexter, who is to speak to the group on a topic she suggested may be controversial, doesn't show up.

Most people at the conference don't seem at all upset that Linda Dexter isn't speaking. But two of the younger members find it disturbing. Fran Black and Tom Dod team up to find the missing woman. Before they can do much, Linda's burned out car and her body are found by the police. But, the amateur sleuths are curious as to why the society wants to shut down all mention of Linda's involvement. They may prove to be unpopular with the group, but Black and Dod want answers.

The Magic Chair Murder is written in the style of 1920s mysteries. It's leisurely paced and intricately plotted. The story is character-driven with a great deal of conversation. It will be a little slow-paced for some. Even the humorous bits were a little old-fashioned. When Black and Dod were mentioned, I didn't trust the book to be accurate, so I researched to learn that Dod does mean death in Scandinavian. The amateur sleuths are Black Death, or Black and Death.

The mystery was a little slow, a little too involved for me. But, there are already hints of a new mystery for Black and Dod.

Diane Janes' website is http://www.dianejanes.50webs.com/

The Magic Chair Murder by Diane Janes. Severn House, 2018. ISBN 9780727887597 (hardcover), 215p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


Gram said...

Wow....this sounds interesting and different. I think I will see if the library has a copy. Thanks.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Gram. It is different.

Heard about Decking Ipe for sale said...

One of the pleasures in reading this type of crime novel is trying to guess the culprit and while I won’t claim to be particularly good at it, I can report that I didn’t guess whodunit, yet the murder and why it was committed made complete sense. I came to really like Frances and I’m going to be looking out for more books in this series – luckily it seems that Diane Janes is a prolific author. Yippee!