Tanis Lyle has a certain something that drives men mad. She herself is immune to falling in love. She finds it more fun to steal other women's boyfriends and break up marriages. We sense she's setting herself up to be murdered by a rejected admirer or a jealous wife. So it's no surprise when she's shot dead.
As it happens Miss Silver is a guest in the house. And the superintendent investigating the murder was a young charge of hers when Miss Silver was a governess (before she become a private investigator). So the investigation is full of fun exchanges between these two. It's amusing to hear Miss Silver gently chiding the Superintendent over his hasty judgments.
There are hostile undercurrents in the household, fueled by a complicated family feud. Love at first sight plays a big part in the plot, as do mad infatuations and resentments that date back over twenty years. Misbehaving servants also play their part. Eavesdropping is rampant.
I found The Chinese Shawl a thoroughly enjoyable Miss Silver mystery. The plot is clever. And Patricia Wentworth does a masterful job of misdirecting our suspicions. As the tension mounts, Miss Silver's knitting is seriously challenged. Some of her stitches actually go wrong.
First published in 1943, The Chinese Shawl has a certain wartime atmosphere, which fascinated me.