Picture Miss Seeton (A Miss Seeton Mystery Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 224 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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"First published by Geoffrey Bles in the UK in 1968. Note that this edition follows the text of that original UK edition. A US edition published by Harper & Row the same year introduced additions to make it darker in tone to make it fit in with their 'Harper Novel of Suspense' imprint. However, the additions were discarded with Berkley's 1988 US paperback and subsequent editions."
The removal of material added to make this book something it was not initially intended to be thus restores it to its original intent and tone. The reader of this ebook edition is not getting an abridged or expurgated version; he or she is instead getting the real thing.
Upon Heron Carvic's death, the Miss Seeton series was continued by Roy Peter Martin and later by Sarah J. Mason (writing, respectively, as Hampton Charles and Hamilton Crane). Perceptive readers of this series may thus detect subtle stylistic differences between the three.
As noted at the onset, this a lightweight time-passer, but it is fun even if it isn't classic or profound; one can do worse with one's time.
It all begins with Mrs. Seeton poking a rude young man in the back with her umbrella on a dark London street, unaware that she's interrupting a murder in progress. After she's able to make an identifying sketch of the culprit, Scotland Yard determines to keep a protective eye on her in case she's in danger, as the only witness. Miss Seeton heads off to take up residence in her newly-inherited cottage in a quaint country village—where it turns out there are some odd goings-on that just might be connected with the original murder.
This is the clue-hunting romp type of mystery—author Carvic manages to keep a deft balance in tone between some genuinely nasty murders and the hilarity that results from Miss Seeton's being mixed up in them. (I laughed until I cried at the scene where the village rumor-mill gets going on the events by the pond.) The cast of supporting characters is wonderful, particularly a pair of very likable detectives, Superintendent Delphick (a.k.a. the Oracle) and his assistant Sergeant Bob Ranger; and Sir George and Lady Colvedon and their young son Nigel, a delightful family who participate in some of the book's best moments. (Bob and the Colvedons are my favorites in the book.) Also Dr. Knight and his family, who arrive on the scene a little later but do it in style.
There's a few little loose ends—e.g. the fact that (**slight spoiler**) one part of the criminal ring is never caught; and it does seem a little bit of a cheat that we don't get to see everybody's reaction to the information revealed in the last few paragraphs! But it's not too far out of keeping with the tone of the book to be unsatisfying. I'm already looking forward to the next books in the series!
The missing parts involve Mrs. Venning's barn and the "boy's club" there, and a visit from Miss Seeton's headmistress. The latter gives some character development and the former adds some violence and sexual talk.
Did the copyright holder do this since 1977, perhaps in order to "cozy" up the book? Or does Kindle just look at the books as starting points and improve them.
I ran into a very minor occasion of this earlier this year in another vintage British mystery - Ngaio Marsh's Night at the Vulcan. A character named Helena is mysteriously given the knickname "Ella" in part of the book. I also had the old paperback of that and checked it out, and sure enough that was an innovation.
I find this disturbing. It's bad enough with fiction, but if I download non-fiction can I count on it?
This review by Kathy Deupree
The interaction between the police and Miss Seeton is entertaining. The exaggerated opinions about Miss Seeton formed by her fellow villagers and local criminals arise irrespective of what Miss Seeton believes she is doing. Somehow she survives through all this with the world a better place as a result. There is some well-observed writing about the reaction of certain jealous, perpetually gossiping villagers in the way which even a meek person like Miss Seeton can polarise a population.
I think the basic premise could wear thin after a while e.g. in the third book of the series. There are now 15 books, five of which were written by Carvic. I'm rather curious to see how the two other authors manage to keep the Miss Seeton character going.
Miss Seeton is excellent reading fare while exercising on the treadmill although, if one is self-conscious, the frequent involuntary loud guffaws might be a problem in the gym setting.
Most recent customer reviews
Sometimes Miss Seeton seems a bit too active for her age.
Think of it as a fit Miss Marple.
A nice read for a lazy Sunday