Gerald Lansley, his fiancée Patricia, her brother Martin and Patricia’s friend Barbara have an invite to Y Bryn, the home of one Arthur Yeldham. With nothing better to do, they arrive to find two other guests, Mr Salter and a nameless woman and no host. As things become more awkward, the local constable arrives and then… you’ve guess it, Yeldham’s body is discovered.
As tensions rise between the foursome as they come under suspicion and motives begin to reveal themselves, will the various investigating police officers be able to pin down the killer?
The Murder Of My Aunt is not a conventional mystery. Nor is Murder Isn’t Easy. Nor is Keep It Quiet. And it’s not without good reason that those are the three best books by Hull that I’ve read. With The Ghost It Was, Hull seemed to be channelling John Dickson Carr, and it was a difficult marriage of styles. Now in this, the seventh book, he seems to have decided to attempt a conventional whodunit.
There’s another difference with those three aforementioned titles. Long periods of the narrative are from a single point of view and Hull gets the chance to build up character. Character is definitely his strength, and with a small cast he can do very well. With a larger cast and a more frequent change of point of view, it has the effect of never really settling the narrative down.
Let’s be clear, this is a perfectly fine mystery. The killer becomes a bit obvious as the finale approaches, but there’s a nice central idea in the execution of the crime. The character work is good, but as I said, it would have benefited by fewer points of view.
It’s really good that another long lost author is getting the exposure that he deserves, and while this isn’t his best work – let’s face it, Murder Isn’t Easy is one of the finest mystery novels I’ve ever read – there’s still plenty of interest here.
Availability: It was re-issued as an ebook on 17th January 2019 – I’m assuming that a paperback will follow.