I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
I've been trying to read more Golden Age of Crime authors recently, and I came across this book. The story itself is not from the Golden Age of Crime, but the author is considered one of the original Detection Club members. He's also known for writing slightly more lighthearted mysteries, so that definitely made him a must read for me.
This was my official Halloween read and it was perfect; it was creepy, with its isolated, small village atmosphere, and it was a little chilling at times with the use of black magic and satanism being part of the plot. The events are told in retrospect, so while they are a tad disturbing, it's at a remove, making the read more enjoyable than confronting.
According to what I can find on the Internet, this is the 20th Carolus Deene mystery the author wrote. I had no problem however, with starting at this point; the book works perfectly fine as a standalone mystery.
I'm not sure what to say about the writing; it was good, and I found myself wanting to pick the book up, but the style is different; a lot of the information in the dialogue and story we are used to having nowadays is absent. Between this and being told in the third person, this is not a character driven book, but purely about the mystery, old-school style.
I'm also not sure about the plotting; the author seems to think that the reader had everything they needed to solve the mystery, but I think he is assuming an understanding of the characters' psychology, something that does not translate well over time. So when Carolus Deene performs his end of book explanations, it feels like he makes a lot of assumptions without actual physical clues, although by the end there are plenty of those too. In other words, it was good and I had no idea whodunit, but I'm not sure that was a failing on my part or his.
Either way, I'll definitely read more from this author.
I think this book might work really well for the first task in the 16 Tasks of the Festive Season, for the Welsh holiday, Calan Gaeaf.