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Mad Hatter's Holiday (A Sergeant Cribb Investigation) [Kindle Edition]

Peter Lovesey
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

“[A] gem, catching to perfection the social atmospherics of Victorian Brighton and at the same time telling an ingenious story of murder and discovery.”—Publishers Weekly

“His best yet.”—H. R. F. Keating, The Times (London)

“The sleuthing is neat and satisfying: in the meantime, Victorian pleasures, permitted and illicit, are rendered up with gusto.”—Guardian

Brighton in 1882 is the setting of this novel of crime and tangled emotions. Albert Moscrop, a visitor whose holiday is dedicated to peering through a telescope at the seaside scene, marches down Queen’s Road to the beach and draws us through a sequence of disarmingly trivial observations into a compelling drama, played in the fashionable haunts of the nineteenth-century resort: beach, piers, promenade, swimming bath, aquarium, and Devil’s Dyke.

A keen student of human nature, Moscrop concentrates his interest on one particular family of holidaymakers—the Protheros, and especially the beautiful Zena Prothero, whose husband appears to take her excessively for granted. Gradually Moscrop moves into the circle of the Prothero family, only to become involved in a sensational murder. All Brighton is horrified by the gruesome crime. The local police seek the help of Scotland Yard, which is provided in the persons of Sergeant Cribb and Constable Thackeray. These indomitable detectives soon find themselves challenged by the strangest case of their careers, one that is as mystifying as it is macabre.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 326 KB
  • Print Length: 225 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1569475601
  • Publisher: Soho Crime; Reprint edition (June 1, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004HYHAO4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #387,380 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder in Brighton Beach in 1882 May 21, 2002
Lovesey is a wonderful author. This book starts out slow, but the first 1/3 is the best description of holidaying in Brighton in the latter part of the 19th century that I've ever read. Then when Cribb and Thackery are called in to solve a grisly murder, the book becomes a cracking whodunit. The story is complex and has a surprising ending. At first I didn't understand the meaning of the title, but that too becomes clear when it is determined who the initial murderer is. Cribb is wonderful in this book. The more that I read this series, the more I wish there were more books than the seven that were written in this particular series. Mr. Lovesey could teach classes on writing tight plots, and ingenious mysteries. He also achieves a real sense of time and place that you don't often see, especially in murder mysteries.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quaint and quirky September 29, 2005
Albert Moscrop, owner of a London shop which sells binoculars and telescopes, is a voyeur, in the sense that he is a watcher, a man who lives his life vicariously through watching the comings and goings of other people. This summer he has elected to spend his holiday weeks at the seaside town of Brighton. The year is 1882, and the town is alive with the fashionable and the would be fashionable, who spend their days either promenading or taking part in the newly fashionable sea bathing, descending from bathing machines pulled right on to the edge of the water, and delicately immersing themselves for the good of their health. Moscrop becomes entranced by an attractive young woman, mother of a small child and step mother to an aggressive, thoroughly objectionable teenaged boy, and does everything he can to engineer an introduction to her. Her elderly husband, Doctor Prothero, is a flirtatious man who largely ignores his wife, and who makes sure that he is free in the evenings to pursue his amorous attentions to a local beauty, by insisting that his wife takes a dose of Chloral to make her sleep soundly. When the dismembered body of a young woman is discovered, buried in the sand of the seashore, the local police call on the services of Scotland Yard veterans, Sergeant Cribb and Constable Thackeray, and not only are the members of the Prothero family involved, but Albert Moscrop's voyeuristic tendencies come under the attention of the police.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Holiday Murder August 25, 2009
By CMBohn
Alfred Moscrop is looking forward to his holiday at Brighton. Like many other middle class Victorians, his two week stay by the sea is the high point of his summer.

But Moscrop has an unusual hobby. Today we might call him a Peeping Tom, but he would describe himself as an "optical enthusiast." He enjoys trying out his newest telescope on the bathers. He's not really looking for sexual secrets, he's just sort of, well, peeping. (Which honestly, how many of us do? You know, taking a look in someone's window as you drive by.)

This time, his spying has gotten him involved a little too deeply. He sees a remarkably beautiful woman. He can't help wanting to know about her. He follows her. He spies on her. He follows her stepson, her maid, her husband. And the more he watches, the more he gets tangled up in her life. He contrives a meeting with the family. He's convinced she's in the victim of a plot by her cheating husband. He sees himself as a rescuer.

What I enjoyed about this book was that I really couldn't tell where the story was going. Is Moscrop to be trusted? Is the woman? Are any of the characters really who they seem?

This is from a series featuring Victorian detectives Sergeant Cribb and was on the PBS show Mystery! But it wasn't quite like the others I had read in the series. I don't want to give too much away, so let me say that I really enjoyed it. There were some loose ends at the end of the book, but it felt like a realistic conclusion. Well done.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a Victorian-era book. July 8, 2009
First Sentence: Brighton this year!

Albert Moscrop sells fine telescopes and binoculars. He is on holiday in Brighton, assessing the quality of some instruments he has brought when him watching others on holiday. He is becomes fascinated by a young woman and arranges to make her acquaintance. The more he gets to know her and her family, the more distasteful things he learns.

When the woman disappears and a dismembered body is uncovered, he contacts the police. Sargeant Cribb and Constable Thackeray on are the case.

Although written in 1973, this is a gem of a Victorian-era book. Lovesey has captured the societal restrictions as well as the richness and formality of the language of the time. Where else does a character admire the perpendicularity of a pier. I loved Cribb's analogy of the pier to the city, being all sparking and fresh on top while slimy with weeds and black water underneath.

The story is very much plot driven, and well-plotted it is with some very good twists along with way. This was the fist Lovesey I had read, but it is not going to be my last

THE MAD HATTER'S HOLIDAY (Pol. Proc-Sgt. Cribb-England-1882/Vict) - VG
Lovesey, Peter - 4tht in series
Soho Constable, 1973, Trade paperback - ISBN: 9781569475607
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars LOONEY VOYEUR ON VACAY AT BEACH September 18, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This Victorian procedural is set in the seaside town of Brighton during summer holiday. The book spends the first 100 pages inside the mind of voyeur named Moscrop as he stalks, spies, and fantasizes about hot babes seen through the end of his telescope. It has been tedious reading 100 unadulterated pages from the perspective of a lunatic wherein the plot is not advanced. In the 2 prior Lovesey works I have read and reviewed THE DETECTIVE WORE SILK DRAWERS, and WOBBLE TO DEATH
I was not confronted with this odd style. Sgt. Cribb and Constable Thackery have just arrived on the 2:15 train from London. I am in suspense as to whether they can redeem this mystery from mediocrity. About 100 pages later Cribb has tied a bow around this package and solved the riddle. This is my least favorite Sgt. Cribb so far. The first pages are an elaborate red herring. There is little compelling action. My fave THE DETECTIVE WORE SILK DRAWERS explores bare knuckle boxing under THE LONDON RULES; is a better place to start. This one is good for an old ladies tea party.
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