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The Norfolk Mystery (County Guides Mystery Series #1)

Average Rating 3
( 17 )
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5 Star

(6)

4 Star

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(4)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(4)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Highly recommended!

Cozy English but dark, too. Writing has a retro (but not dated) feel to it. That, and the fact that the two main characters felt so very real, I had to check the copyright to make sure this was indeed a work of fiction! I can't wait for the next County Guides Mystery Se...
Cozy English but dark, too. Writing has a retro (but not dated) feel to it. That, and the fact that the two main characters felt so very real, I had to check the copyright to make sure this was indeed a work of fiction! I can't wait for the next County Guides Mystery Series to come out. Thank you, Barnes and Noble, for introducing me to what was for me a new author.

posted by 2203978 on December 10, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

3.5 stars A war-weary young man returns to England after learni

3.5 stars

A war-weary young man returns to England after learning that following the Communist dream is perhaps not so idyllic as he’d been led to believe, especially considering the particularly brutal nature of the Spanish Civil War. At loose ends, Stephen Sefton see...
3.5 stars

A war-weary young man returns to England after learning that following the Communist dream is perhaps not so idyllic as he’d been led to believe, especially considering the particularly brutal nature of the Spanish Civil War. At loose ends, Stephen Sefton seeks employment, having little interest in his earlier position as schoolmaster, and falls into what appears to be an innocuous occupation as assistant to Professor Swanton Morley who intends to write thirty-nine books in the next two years. Each of these books will focus on a single English county with the goal of memorializing the good things about those counties for future generations.

Seems harmless enough, right? Stephen thinks so until, in the very first county, a woman with the delightful name of Mrs. Snatchfold rushes out of a church having found the reverend’s body hanging from a bell-rope and the professor believes that what appears to be suicide is, in fact, something else entirely. When the police arrive, in the person of a very young constable named Ridley, it becomes painfully apparent that his idea of police work does not include bodies that are, er, dead. Thus, an engaging detective story of the whodunit sort and the fun (for the reader) begins despite the disruption to the professor’s tight schedule. The reader can only sympathize with young Ridley as he’s overrun by the fussy and somewhat pompous Morley.

Morley’s daughter, Miriam, has accompanied the two men to act as official driver and photographer and among the real pleasures of The Norfolk Mystery are the pictures scattered throughout the text. One of my favorites is “Mrs. Snatchfold, thoroughly recomposed”. What a very clever idea!

I’ve been a big fan of Ian Sansom ever since the first Mobile Library Mystery but The Norfolk Mystery appeals to me a shade less. In the final analysis, I think the problem—for me, probably not for others—is that I found it a bit ponderous in the early chapters. That’s largely because of the dated language, which seems to me to be more suited to a Victorian or Edwardian setting, but also because the pacing is slow, with perhaps too much exposition. That gets better as the trio sets out for the first county. Sansom’s trademark gentle humor is in full force here and it does have the cachet of a traditional English mystery, something I love. Despite the reservations I’ve mentioned, I’ll definitely be trying the next one in the series.

posted by BuriedUnderBooks on December 16, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2014

    Nonsense

    Determination alone got me through this book. Latin and whatever language phrases, obscure references and pompous vocabulary substituted for content. I don't know which I most disliked at the end: the main character or the author who penned him. Pass this one by.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2014

    Torturous

    Jumpy plot line. Did not hold my interest. Was torture to finish. End made zero sense. If this is the standard for the author do not bother with more, I know I won't.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2014

    Boring !

    The only thing good that can be said about this book. If you suffer from insomnia, this book is the cure.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2014

    I didn't care for this one.

    Too much jumping around in this book. It was a slow read.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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