Thursday, 29 July 2010

Murder at Graverly Manor by Daniel Edward Craig

Novels set in British Columbia aren’t a frequent occurrence in British libraries, so it was a happy coincidence that in the week when I followed up on a comment and ordered a crime novel by L.R. Wright, I happened across another while browsing the crime section at the library. Daniel Edward Craig sounds a bit like a lesser Hollywood star, but is in fact a hotelier moonlighting as a crime novelist, with three books featuring Trevor Lambert, hotel manager par excellence.

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.

9 comments:

  1. It is rather! Good holiday reading, unless you're staying in a spooky-looking B&B!

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  2. Sounds fun, I must look out for this author. Re Canadian novels - have you read the books by C.C.Benison? Three of them I think, Death at BUckingham Palace; Death at Windsor Castle; Death at Sandringham House. Starring the Queen as sleuth, along with her Canadian housemaid! Great fun, and I do hope someone gave copies to HM, as she comes out very well in them.

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  3. Nicola, I hadn't! An absolute must for my trek through the lighter side of Can Lit, I think. To quote Lady Graverly, thanks ever so much! (if the Queen says that, I shall shriek...)

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  4. I always wonder with covers like that, do they advertise 'wanted: woman to appear as corpse on book cover.' :<)

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  5. Oh Nan, absolutely! I very nearly put it back on the shelf without looking any further - I *think* in this instance it was tongue-in-cheek, but I'm not altogether sure!

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  6. A spooky mystery with lots of laughs. What more could one ask for.

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  7. Love the 'wanted woman' idea, Nan! My next cosy crime novel has a pair of legs on the cover! Legs, blood and trumpets, to be precise, but I don't know where the artist found his inspiration for the legs. ('Murder Fortissimo' - out next year - a contemporary one for a change; and one lovely early reader says it's 'rather like a Mrs Malory mystery'!)

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  8. Mystica, I do like mysteries to be, if not funny, then at least to have amusing touches. If they are funny, then all to the good!

    Nicola, you know how to make your readers happy! :)

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