Forgotten Murder (A Jack Haldean Murder Mystery)

Written by Dolores Gordon-Smith
Review by K. M. Sandrick

Jenny Langton is thrilled to be on her first assignment to view a property for the real estate firm Wilson and Lee: the detached Victorian house known as Saunder’s Green. She is surprised to find familiar surroundings—a jack-in-the-box in the attic toy chest, cornflower blue and yellow wallpaper in one of the bedrooms—and recognizes that some items are missing: a window seat absent from the sunroom, the tiles that used to frame the fireplace. She swoons as she places her hand on the bark of a cedar tree in the garden, feels herself looking downward, and revealing in her mind’s eye a monster: a black leather-clad figure with huge, square reflecting eyes.

This is the tenth in the Jack Haldean series of mysteries. Haldean is a former WWI pilot who writes mysteries and acts as amateur detective in 1920s Sussex, England. Haldean is skilled in ferreting out facts with the help of his wife, Betty, and Chief Inspector Rackham. The fact-finding route he takes in Forgotten Murder is more than the usual amount of red-herring distraction. The Q-and-A’s with potential suspects and witnesses do not give enough direction, so the reader is left with an “oh, that’s how it was done,” rather than, “I knew it.”

Haldean’s interviews uncover Jenny’s past and family history, resolve an old wrong, and lay the groundwork for understanding the killer’s motive. One could argue that there are other ways for the killer to act in the first place, and therefore no reason to murder in the second. Forgotten Murder is nonetheless an enjoyable read, and Haldean is likable enough to warrant another look at one of his mysteries.