Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Chinese Shawl by Patricia Wentworth

The Chinese Shawl by Patricia Wentworth
I haven't been reading on my Kindle much lately. Usually, I read it while I'm teaching. So it took me a while to finish The Chinese Shawl by Patricia Wentworth. This book was published in 1943, and the War is present in the book. Blackout curtains are drawn at night, and Casey Desborough, one of the leading characters in the book was a pilot in the war. Laura Fane has just come of age, twenty-one, and she goes to London to talk to her solicitor. She has had an offer from an Aunt Agnes to buy the Priory, which Laura has inherited from her father. It seems that Agnes was once supposed to marry Laura's father, but he dumps Agnes and runs off to marry Laura's mother. Unfortunately, they are both killed in an accident. Agnes had been leasing the Priory for a long time, and now she wants to buy it. While in London, Laura meets her cousin, and Agnes' ward, Tanis Lyle, who is one of those woman who draw men to her like metal to a magnet. One of the men is Casey Desborough, but when Casey meets Laura, it is love at first sight for both of them. Laura is invited to spend the weekend at the Priory with a slew of others, including Casey. Agnes still thinks Casey is Tanis' fiancee, and of course, that puts Laura in a bad light. Is she stealing Casey from Tanis just as her mother stole her father away from Agnes? Of course, Tanis is playing fast and loose with other of the male guests and a married man who lives near the Priory. Then Tanis' ex-husband shows up and threatens her with a gun. When Tanis is murdered, the finger of suspicion points in many directions, especially at Laura and Casey. However, Miss Silver is also a house guest. She used to be a governess, but is now a private detective. Miss Silver and Randal March, her former charge and now Chief Constable, work together to figure out who murdered Tanis Lyle.

Although it took me a while to finish this book, it was not because I didn't enjoy the book. I thought this was one of the better Miss Silver books that I've read. Miss Silver is like a more active Miss Marple. They both knit, and they both have a keen sense of observation. One of the things that I like about the Miss Silver mysteries is the romantic overtones to the story. You know that there will be at least one couple in love, who has to fight through the stigma of accusation. The puzzle in The Chinese Shawl is a good one. I started to figure out the twist around the middle of the book, but that didn't ruin my enjoyment of the story. I have a few other Miss Silver mysteries on my Kindle that I hope to read soon. If you haven't read any of the Miss Silver books, you should definitely remedy the situation!

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