Skelton’s Guide to Suitcase Murders (Skelton’s Guides, 2)
It is late 1929 when a suitcase is found in a quarry near Wakefield, containing a dismembered corpse. The Suitcase Murder is an instant sensation – and, when the deceased is identified as the late Edna Aziz, the blame immediately falls on the victim’s Egyptian husband, a well-respected but definitely un-English physician. Even celebrated London barrister Arthur Skelton must admit that, as evidence goes, Dr Aziz’s case looks doomed… but, after meeting the man, Skelton is convinced of his innocence, and sets out to prove it with the help of his clerks – eccentric Edgar and plucky young Rose – and a small host of colourful characters. The question of course, is: if not Dr Aziz, whodunit?
This second instalment in a series boasts lovely writing, an abundance of dry humour, a lively recreation of the time period, and endearingly off-kilter characters. Truth be told, the mystery meanders about in a rather disjointed, not terribly plausible manner: coincidence abounds, evidence trickles by through a number of minor storylines, and it all seems to be resolved more by chance than logic. Still, the writing, setting, and characters are engaging enough to keep the reader’s interest to the end.