Murder Underground, by Mavis Doriel Hay (1934, 2016)

Murder Underground by Mavis Doriel HayFans of Agatha Christie may be familiar with this British author who published three mysteries in the 1930s, this being the first one. The British Library has now released all three, leaving this one till last, and perhaps that says something. It’s a classic British whodunit from the era of Miss Marple, though this lacks a central character to nose out the clues. Instead, clues are slowly unveiled by the victim’s neighbours, family, and other connections, giving it an original approach that makes for a lively if somewhat convoluted read. It all begins when Miss Pongleton is found murdered on the deserted stairs of the North London underground station, strangled with her own dog’s leash. Suspects abound, from a young and infatuated first-time thief to her irresponsible and exasperating nephew who provides a certain comic relief with his troublesome interfering. (What his fiance Beryl could possibly see in this fool is beyond me.) A careful reader experienced with cozies will probably deduce the murderer’s identity two-thirds of the way through but that doesn’t diminish the enjoyable unveiling of the clues and motive. Not for everyone – there’s no gore whatsoever, and the class lines are nicely shored from start to finish – but for fans of the genre, an enjoyable, gentle and generally satisfying read. My thanks to publisher Poisoned Pen Press for the advance reading copy provided through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

One Response to Murder Underground, by Mavis Doriel Hay (1934, 2016)

  1. I’d never heard of Hay, but this sounds perfect for me, as I love “Golden Age’ mysteries.

    Thanks for letting me know about it.

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