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on May 3, 2013
This book was a cross between Jane Austen and Agatha Christie. I didn't think I'd like it or stick with it but I did. I found myself looking forward to reading it each night. Some sections are slow but it is well written and I enjoyed it.
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on February 6, 2013
Set in what must be at least the late 1800's, this is a story of chivalry at all costs set against the murder of a man who seemingly "deserved" it. The hidden details are what makes the plot come to life. Good read!
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on September 7, 2012
Unfortunately if you are ever to find this you'll, like me, be looking in the last place you'd think to find it. Mystery is it's flavor, not thyme. This is a very solid old mystery (1918), Though there were times it dragged a tiny bit. Mr. Magnay does this genre proud. If you like older fiction you'll like this.
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on November 8, 2012
This book took me longer to read than most because I had to keep backing up to review what I had previously read! In other words, it didn't flow or "hang together" for me. Perhaps it was because of the setting and the characters living in a time and style that didn't appeal to me and, so saying, might appeal to someone else for the same reasons it didn't appeal to me! If you like a fox-and-hounds sort of book, this might be for you.
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on April 23, 2014
An oldie that was surprisingly absorbing. Characters were interesting. The murder was a good puzzle. I honestly can't explain exactly why I found it so interesting. It drops you back into a different historical period. I think it's because I cared about the characters. I definitely recommend this book.
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on July 12, 2014
Written by Sir William Magnay and published in 1918, this book is a classic Country House Mystery - not too difficult to guess at, but not so easy as to instantly make the reader lose interest, either.

Two friends, Gifford and Kelson, are invited to attend the annual Hunt Ball at a country house and arrive at the nearby small town in the afternoon in time to change into their evening clothes. At the same time, a stranger to whom both friends take an instant dislike arrives, claiming to have been invited to the ball as well, and insisting on sharing the same carriage from the train station to the hotel.

Because one of Gifford's cases has been accidentally forwarded on the train to another town, he has to stay behind at the hotel and wait for the case with his evening clothes to arrive.
He decides to make use of this unexpected extra time by going for a walk to the manor, which he fondly remembers as the place of many holidays during his boyhood, when it belonged to relatives of his. Later, he is described to the reader returning from his walk and clearly very upset about something.

He makes it to the ball eventually and finds Kelson, but does not see the unpleasant stranger anywhere. When the friends return to the hotel late at night, they learn from the owner that the stranger has not been seen since he set off for the ball earlier.

The next day, the hotel owner still has not heard or seen the missing guest, but the friends are not worried - he just seems to them to be the type to go adventuring with some lady. However, the stranger's adventure turns out to be a lot less fun - he is found dead in a room at the manor, with the only door locked from inside.

At first, the verdict seems to be suicide, but the stranger's brother soon arrives on the scene, convinced that his brother would have never taken his own life. At least two of the people who were present at the ball fall under suspicion; then a surprise witness turns up, a case of blackmail becomes apparent, and finally, the reason for Gifford's upset mood when he returned from his walk the previous evening is revealed.

The story would not be complete without a (very obvious) love story, but it is not a romance novel as such. The main emphasis lies on solving the mystery of how and why the stranger died - a combination of the classic Country House and the Locked Room mysteries.

I enjoyed "The Hunt Ball Mystery"; it was not very challenging (and therefore very good for my train rides to and from work), but suspension was kept at a level high enough for me not to lose interest after the first two chapters.

About the author: Sir William Magnay lived from 1855 to 1917. He was an English Baronet; his father was Mayor of London. Magnay wrote about 25 novels, most of which were published during his lifetime. "The Hunt Ball Mystery" and another two were published after his death. He was married and had a son, who was a First Class cricketer from 1904 to 1911.
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on October 17, 2013
The book is well written it leaves you guessing as a good mystery should. It was written back in a time when language was important and words were used carefully to fully convey intent. It did have moments where you had to stop and think about what was going on because the author didn't adequately connect things. Overall a good book and enjoyable mystery
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on January 26, 2014
This mystery proves that just because a book was written almost a century ago, that doesn't mean it Isn't an entertaining locked room story. One wanders back to a time when you wouldn't kiss a woman on the lips until you were engaged, unless you were a cad, of course. I'm glad to have read it.
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on October 29, 2015
Great mystery without all the graphic violence. This is perfect for those who want a cozy style mystery that is from a simpler time. This story is a well written mystery and has well developed characters and story line. It had me guessing for a while. I enjoyed it a lot and will look for more from this author.
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on November 18, 2013
I savor the prose in books such as this. The precise language, wonderful mastery of sentence writing, and beautiful flow of words. Contrast that to another book I started at the same time, "So I grabbed a diet soda to pep myself up and plopped down on the couch." Anyway, this is a fun story to read. The story is set in Britain some time ago and it's fun to peek into life during a different time. Yes, they mention hounds a few times, of which I know nothing, but none of that had anything to do with the plot. You should know that the huge English manor houses typically had such huge grounds that they were referred to as "the park." The writer had a great talent for creating emotion about the characters; I definitely loved a few, liked some, and detested a couple. And the plot, though not really all that complicated, was interesting and not at all cheesy some some free reads. And overly-complicated plots aren't that much fun either. Most of us read mysteries for entertainment, to escape into a different world, and to try and "figure it out." This book met those 3 objectives. This book also had old-fashioned romance in it that made you wish our world would bring back just a little bit of the honor, respect, and discretion that were vital values in a bygone era. It seemed a short read to me, but very enjoyable. I do recall it getting off to a slightly slow start, so persevere! It's always hard at first when you're trying to figure out who is who. Recommend.
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