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Jane and Dagobert: Nick and Nora with fewer martinis?,
This review is from: She Shall Have Murder (Jane & Dagobert Brown Mysteries) (Paperback)
There are few things I enjoy more than a good, old-fashioned British puzzle mystery. The kind with a limited number of suspects, and whose solution depends largely upon figuring out times and places, and picking up on small clues dropped in dialog. But the mystery also has to have an appealing sleuth. Delano Ames gives us all the elements of an excellent classic mystery, along with a bonus: TWO appealing sleuths.
Jane Hamish is a law clerk at the small London firm of Playfair & Son. Her fiancé, Dagobert Brown, is currently unemployed. A regular client, the extremely paranoid Mrs. Robjohn, has been found dead in her apartment. The death is ruled accidental, the result of the gas jet in the gas heater going on in the middle of the night when gas service is restored after an outage. Dagobert, who visited Mrs. Robjohn earlier that evening with Jane, realizes that the death was actually a murder. With his plentiful spare time, he begins an investigation.
Over drinks, tea and dinners, Jane and Dagobert compare notes about his sleuthing and what she has been able to find out in the office. They have quite a few suspects: Mrs. Robjohn's son, Douglas; his secret fiancée and Jane's office co-worker Sarah; Major Stewart, one of the law firm partners; Rosemary, another co-worker and someone who shares a secret with Major Stewart; Oates, the light-fingered office runner with apparent underworld connections; and old Mr. Playfair himself. Figuring out the culprit will take a lot of devious tricks by Dagobert, and some risky ploys by Jane.
Delano Ames's writing is delightfully wry, and Dagobert and Jane are a lively, smart-talking pair. They're not unlike Nick and Nora Charles in some ways. Dagobert delights in tricking suspects and driving them a little crazy with his antics, while Jane often tries to puncture Dagobert's bumptiousness with a well-placed dart or two. But, unlike Nora, Jane is an active partner in the sleuthing; a supremely intelligent young woman who is up to the challenge of solving the crime.
This is the first book in a 12-book series, originally published from 1948 to 1959. This Rue Morgue Press edition is nicely printed on good paper and is a pleasure to read. Rue Morgue has also published the next two books in the series, Murder Begins at Home and Corpse Diplomatique: A Jane and Dagobert Brown Mystery (Jane and Dagobert Brown Mysteries).