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Paperback St. Peter's Finger Book

ISBN: 0747402523

ISBN13: 9780747402527

St. Peter's Finger

(Book #9 in the Mrs. Bradley Series)

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. This is a vintage murder mystery. Rediscover Gladys Mitchell - one of the 'Big Three' female crime fiction writers alongside Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers. Mrs Bradley, renowned psychologist...

Customer Reviews

2 ratings

Death by Drowning Again

After reading the author's mystery Speedy Death (Black Dagger Crime Series), I wasn't sure I even wanted to follow up on her other books. Speedy Death, however, was one of the earliest if not the earliest of the works by Gladys Mitchell (dated to 1929), so I decided to read St Peter's Finger, written almost ten years later, to see if her style had matured. What a difference a decade makes! While the murder is rather straight forward and most of the book is red herrings, the characters are much more individually defined and interesting than in Speedy Death. I especially enjoyed Sister Bridget and her little mouse. Mrs. Beatrice Lestrange Bradley, although still described in very disparaging terms, has become more like the witty and provocative Mrs. Adela Bradley of the TV series The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries - Series 1 (Speedy Death / The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries) I enjoy so much, and therefore a more sympathetic character. Unlike the previous book, this one includes the chauffer George and his frequent observations which make the dynamic duo of the film series so piquent. The dialogues are in keeping with the various personalities, and while some of it seems a little stilted, it's probably no more so than it would be with a real person of the same kind in real time, and no more postured than some of the comedic characters of Noel Coward's plays Blithe Spirit, Hay Fever, Private Lives: Three Plays which can be very entertaining. Sometimes people just are affected; they attempt a persona, and their speech reflects it. The setting is much more particularly described and renders it vividly in the reader's imagination in this volume; there was none of the "stage set" feel as in Speedy Death. I was amazed by the author's very detailed depiction of the convent, its guests and inmates. I felt she was describing a setting and individuals that she actually knew, which is how novels should be. Good ones, anyway. I was still not quite as satisfied with the mystery itself. It seemed that the author had gotten a better handle on her story telling but still hadn't quite got a grip on the ins and outs of a well designed murder. She is definitely not an Agatha Christie; the latter came up with so many different ways of murdering people, I got to wondering if she'd ever run out of them! This is the second death by drowning, and I wonder if drowning was the author's personal bugaboo. Ms Mitchell does, however, seem to have approached Carter Dickson, The Arabian Nights Murder/a Dr. Gideon Fell Mystery, also known as John Dickenson Carr,The Judas Window: A Sir Henry Merrivale Locked Room Mystery (A Rue Morgue Vintage Mystery) for the locked door---or in her case, the unlocked door---mysteries. Definite improvement. I look forward to reading others in the series.

Smile Sweetly, Gentle Sisters ... and Kill!

The story is set in a convent, dealing, once more, with death by drowning in a bathroom - though not with the same denouement as "Speedy Death" or "Death at the Opera." The victim is the child heiress to an Irish-American millionaire, whose two other heiresses are also at the convent-school. Despite the fact that the school is a convent, the children are not annoying, though there is a trifle overdose of sentimentality, but the incidents and the story are interesting and well-told, with the search on the cliff especially well-done. There is a good grasp of psychology, with one of G.M.'s best-depicted psychological portraits. Not a cosy, despite the fact that all of the characters (with the exception of Mrs. Bradley (the eldritch detective)'s son, her chauffeur, and a priest) are women. In short, good atmosphere, good detection, but a bit too much sentimentality for my taste.
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