The White Cottage Mystery–Margery Allingham

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I chose to read this novel because it’s by an author that J.K. Rowling highly recommends.  I loved the straightforward prose and plot of this novel.  Constable W.T. Challoner and his son Jerry investigate a murder of a neighbor hated by everyone by gunshot in a locked room at waist level that everyone heard, but no one saw.  Cue beautiful mysterious women, trips to Paris, and lots of misdirection.  Now you have a perfect British cozy.

W.T. is the consummate professional and Jerry the promising, but naive, pupil.  W.T. questions suspects for entire chapters, revealing key details of the murder, while Jerry listens, impressed and slightly confused at the method behind his father’s madness.  W.T. then questions Jerry about his impression of the interview and corrects his errors.

Add a romantic subplot or two, international intrigue between Challoner and the Parisian authorities, as well as a disabled husband in a wheelchair and an adorable young daughter and the ingredient list is nearly complete.  The last piece is an ethical dilemma–what to choose between what is right according to the law or according to our good sense.

The careful craft of a cozy is on excellent display in The White Cottage Mystery.  Even the title is a model.  Thank goodness, however, that when J.K. Rowling chose to delve into the cozy genre, she added greater complexity and layers to her mix.

Thanks to NetGalley and Bloombury for a review ebook.

 

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