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The Murder at Redmire Hall by J R Ellis - Review

Thursday, October 7, 2021

I got round to reading the third in the DCI Oldroyd series at the beginning of September, I have previously read the first two and another one in the series and enjoyed them, and I really liked the premise of this book. It's a typical 'locked room' mystery and I thought it sounded really interesting. However, it didn't live up to my expectations. Not a lot happens, which I found annoying. There's a lot of annoying conversations between suspects which don't really further the story and which just lead to all the suspects suspecting each other. And it's overwritten - there's quite a lot of pompous language that I haven't noticed in the other books. So, maybe it's a blip. But those are my thoughts, so I'll write them down. But they do explain why I haven't given this as high a rating as the other books in the series. 

So, at the beginning, Oldroyd is invited to Redmire Hall to see the current Lord Redmire, Freddy, perform a magic trick that was previously performed by his father, Vivian, to great acclaim, in 1980 I think. Oldroyd asks Stephanie along. When they get there, there's a live TV crew there and many other people, including all of Freddy's family and close friends, including an ex business partner and an ex mistress. The trick involves a locked room - everyone is invited to examine it to make sure there's no way out of it, and then Freddy is locked in. The curtain is drawn back - and Freddy has disappeared! The idea then is that Freddy will reappear after the curtain is closed and opened again, but when he does, he is dead. He has been stabbed in the back.

Shortly after, an ex employee of the estate, Harry Robinson, is murdered in his cottage. Oldroyd and Stephanie immediately jump into action, forbidding the family and friends from leaving and starting their investigation. They can't work out the locked room trick, although they try hard to. All the family seem to have a motive for killing Freddy. He inherited the estate but has gambling debts and had been planning to sell off part of the estate. His son Alistair will inherit and become the new Lord. Freddy's daughter Poppy has had a lot of money out of her dad, and her boyfriend Tristram has gambling debts too - but would they have killed him? His brother Dominic has always been jealous that Freddy inherited the estate from their father, and his own business is not doing too well. Freddy was unfaithful to his wife Antonia, including with Alex, who is also present. Are either of them angry enough to kill Freddy? Alex's partner James was ripped off by Freddy in their business, so has he finally got his revenge? And what about all the estate staff? What did Harry Robinson know about the trick that led to his murder? 

I really liked the mystery but my criticisms are as above - there just wasn't enough depth in it for me. No mind, I will read the other and see what I think about them. But I'm giving this three out of five. 

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