Thursday, 29 July 2010
Murder at Graverly Manor by Daniel Edward Craig
Back in Vancouver after a distressing incident in LA, Trevor is looking for a new job and finding himself overqualified by local standards – his interview with Mr Chagani of the Vancouver Harbourside Hotel, Conference Centre & Spa, “a four-star hotel with five-star aspirations” is reminiscent of some of the more painful moments from The Office. What has really begun to interest Trevor is the thought of running his own B&B, and Graverly Manor looks just the thing from the outside. Inside, however, is a cross between Fawlty Towers and Arsenic and Old Lace, and Trevor is thrown straight in at the deep end with a month’s probationary period before eccentric owner Lady Elinor Graverly will agree to sell the property to him. Homicidal cats, luscious hotel guests and elderly retainers all conspire to throw him off his stride, while a tenuous connection with romantic poet Pauline Johnson and stories of a mysterious double drowning in the Lost Lagoon take his mind off the everyday running of a guest house.
It doesn’t take a great investigative talent to work out what’s going on (through Trevor is agonisingly slow on the uptake – no wonder his sisters are so dismissive of his abilities) but it’s all amiable stuff. The author is fortunately sounder on the hotel trade than he is on the ramifications of aristocratic inheritance, and there’s an unintentional red herring in the tendency of his titled lady to say “thank you ever so much” (for future reference, Mr Craig, very common) but in filled in a couple of hours on a Saturday quite pleasantly and is the first of my frivolous contributions to the Fourth Canadian Book Challenge.