James Anderson - Shastrix Books

James Anderson

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The Affair of the Thirty-Nine Cufflinks

The Affair of the Thirty-Nine Cufflinks

James Anderson

31st October 2012

The third and final mystery at Alderley concerns the death of Lord Burford's great-aunt, and the turmoil and murder brought about by it.

It's just as good, if not better than, the two previous novels - very much in the Christesque tradition of country house and assembly of distant family members. The complex interaction of characters with history makes it stand out from the earlier episodes with random house guests and the recurring characters seem settled in their personalities. The chief inspector and the butler are particularly pleasing to read.

The mystery is similar is execution to the earlier stories, but this is all part of the charm. The investigation just as confusing, and the resolution just as satisfying. I easily managed to spot one of the smaller mysteries (though purely by chance rather than using the somewhat obscure clues), but the main solution escaped me all the way to the big reveal.

I've really enjoyed reading this trilogy and am disappointed that Anderson didn't have the opportunity to continue the series. I'm going to have to hunt out some of his other, seemingly out-of-print, works.

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The Affair of the Mutilated Mink

The Affair of the Mutilated Mink

James Anderson

13th August 2012

The second of the Burford Family mysteries sees a visit by the film industry to the Earl's home, scouting for a possible movie, but as before someone isn't going to survive.

As with the first book it's a classic whodunnit reminiscent of agatha Christie but with a more modern style. The setting remains the same but the majority of the character are new and make for an incredibly dubious collection of suspects. There's a mixture of light moments and serious investigation and more red herrings than you could shake a stick at.

It's a light and entertaining mystery that will have your brain spinning as you try to work it out. I really enjoyed it and am disappointed that there's only one more entry in the series for me to look forward to.

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The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy

The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy

James Anderson

10th May 2012

The first book in this series is a fairly light-hearted and modern take on the style of Agatha Christie. Set in a picturesque stately home filled with a wide variety of suspects, all of whom might have something to hide, everything is going swimmingly until a body shows up.

While the setting is similar to Christie, the style is much more contemporary and many of the characters seem to have a modern attitude. This doesn't distract though, in fact it almost certainly helps as the plot becomes complex to almost ludicrous proportions and threatens to confuse the reader.

Other than being completely baffling, the plot is rather entertaining and the main characters come across as all being fairly likeable. I did have to keep turning back to the list of characters and map of the scene that was at the front of the book in order to refresh my memory of who was whom, but did not think this got in the way of my enjoyment. I had a great time trying to puzzle out who was guilty - more so than with Christie's works I think as there was a little more available to get the teeth into.

Overall, an enjoyable tale that I found relaxing and refreshing to read. I'll definitely be reading the remaining two books in the set and looking up the author's other works.

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  6. The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy