As friends, the boisterous American Beryl couldn't be less alike than the prim and proper British Edwina. But as sleuths in an England recovering from the Great War, they're the perfect match....
Ah, the pleasures of Christmas...the hanging of greens, the traditional feast, the gathering families, a few secrets in the air...and a bit of murder, conspiracy, and theft....
Lady Amanda Golightly of Belchester Towers is a person in complete contrast to the stereotypical image of her upper-class breeding. She is short, portly, and embarrassingly forthright....
Selchester Castle in 1953 sits quiet and near-empty, its corridors echoing with glories of the past. Or so it seems to intelligence officer Hugo Hawksworth....
It's 1929, and Ticky Maltravers is the toast of London high society, adored by everyone - or so it seems, until somebody poisons him over dinner....
The superlatively analytical Inspector Hemingway is confronted by a murder that seems impossible....
It should have been a lovely English country-house weekend. But the unfortunate guest list is enough to exasperate a saint....
When George Abbershaw is invited to Black Dudley Manor for the weekend....
On a dark night, along a lonely country road, barrister Frank Amberley stops to help a young lady in distress and discovers a sports car with a corpse behind the wheel....
The reverend Dodd, vicar of the quiet Cornish village of Boscawen, spends his evenings reading detective stories by the fireside....
Jack's a retired ex-cop from New York, seeking the simple life in Cherringham. Sarah's a Web designer who's moved back to the village find herself...
In September 1925, Scotland Yard DCI Alec Fletcher inherits a large house on the outskirts of London from a recently deceased great-uncle....
The first of the classic mysteries featuring governess-turned-detective Miss Silver, who investigates a deadly conspiratorial ring.
Charles Moray has come home to England to collect his inheritance. After four years wandering the jungles of India and South America, the hardy young man returns to the manor of his birth, where generations of Morays have lived and died. Strangely, he finds the house unlocked, and sees a light on in one of its abandoned rooms. Eavesdropping, he learns of a conspiracy to commit a fearsome crime.
Never one for the heroic, Charles’ first instinct is to let the police settle it. But then he hears her voice. Margaret, his long-lost love, is part of the gang. To unravel their diabolical plot, he contacts Miss Silver, a onetime governess who applies her reason to solve crimes and face the dangers of London’s underworld.
I thought that Miss Silver was going to be a pivotal part of the plot but she barely plays into it. The story was engaging and the narrator, excellent but for me, the focus should have been more on Miss Silver and her sleuthing.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Grey Mask is not like any of the later Miss Silver mysteries. It's the very first (1929) and is complex and implausible to a degree that isn't forgiven in modern thrillers, but obviously was taken in stride in the '20s. Like another reviewer here, I had to start over to figure out what was going on. Unlike a different reviewer, I don't think Miss Silver was "barely there" --- she came in late, as always, after substantial character development early on, and if anything she had a more active, physical role than in any of the other twelve or so of these I've listened to --- she tracked people on the street, she searched a house! Well, she was younger then.
Remember that Miss Marple is not the model for Miss Silver: it was the other way around. Miss Silver was published first, and pretty annoyed Patricia Wentworth was about the "homage" Agatha Christie paid her. Killer character idea, though, as we can clearly see from the fact that both authors succeeded and are still popular, and many are their descendants, informal female detectives right down to the cozies of present time.
Grey Mask is well worth listening to for anyone who follows these easy-listen mysteries, to see how much more sensible Wentworth's plots became, and how much more charmingly predictable and knitterly Miss Silver became. And because ---------- however absurd the plot, it's GOT something. The story has life, you like the characters, you want to know what happens. Miss Silver has staged a revival and that's a good thing for those of us who want a little relaxation reading about an old friend we know well.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about Grey Mask?
The story was so good. I didn't want to put it down.
What did you like best about this story?
She kept me guessing until the very end.
Which scene was your favorite?
I would give away a surprise but the best scene is near the end.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Any additional comments?
If you can only read one of Ms. Wentworth's books, which is a very sad predicament indeed, but if only one, read this one. Her books are all on a high level of story, characters and flow. Someone who can write so many great mysteries of this type is amazing. Not since Christie herself I shouldn't wonder.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
I loved that Charles tried to save everybody without giving up his true love. However I wish Ms. Silver played a more prominent role in the book. It was great to go back in time when women were dainty and men are gentlemen.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I like this story and it's twists and turns. Unfortunately, I had to restart it 3 times before I could follow the beginning.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book from Patricia Wentworth and/or Diana Bishop?
I tried 2 more by Wentworth and found all three books to be the same story, just different names. Narrator Diana Bishop is superb.
What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)
In this first book, I was mildly surprised. But that's because if you pay attention, each most viable suspect - the poor relation, the jealous lover or competition, the disgruntled retainer - are all eliminated, one by one, until the LEAST LIKELY person is left standing. By the third book, I figured it out right away.
Which character – as performed by Diana Bishop – was your favorite?
If this book were a movie would you go see it?
Probably not. Mrs. Silver is not as well-developed as a Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot. She's just not very interesting enough to carry a feature film. Maybe a television series.....
Any additional comments?
There's nothing overall wrong with this series. Just don't fall for the description "like Agatha Christie" as I did. Because Wentworth is not even close. These books are good for their era and as long as you wait 6 months between each in the series. I can read Agatha Christie books one after another, even a second and third time each, and still not figure out the plots. I was looking forward to listening to all of this series. However three is enough for me!
11 of 18 people found this review helpful
Other reviewers have already mentioned that in this first book of the Miss Silver series, Miss Silver is merely a secondary character. I did not feel that this took much away from the story. Miss Wentworth is a wonderful whodunnit storyteller, pulling one in with just the right amount of suspense and well-delineated characters. I am now looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
Make that reading *and listening to* the rest of the series. Diana Bishop is a superb narrator, hitting just the right tone for each character and bringing this story to cracking life. She switches smoothly from petulant Margot to downcast Margaret to the very silly Archie Millar (her delivery of his ibid line left me chuckling). A highly recommended listen.
It's full of twists and turns. And Miss Silver is frightfully delightful! I can hardly wait for the next book!
This is a wonderful trip back to the England of Agatha Christie. Dianna Bishop brings the book to life with brilliant reading skills. She could read the telephone book and make it interesting!
Well read; decent period touches. I was disappointed that Miss Silver, the soft-spoken sleuth, is not much in evidence. She is on the job but off stage much of the time.
I grew up on Agatha Christie so I like the old style mysteries and it is worth bearing in mind that this was written in 1929. If you love a great deal of blood and gore and a hero or heroine who leaves dead bodies in their wake as they stalk the perpetrator, this is not the book for you. If you enjoy a clear thinking detective who, although surrounded by idiots who insist on stumbling into danger at every available opportunity, solves a puzzle without the benefit of any modern day devices, then this will be right up your alley. I will be getting the next one.