Tuesday, June 19, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Lonelyheart 4122 by Colin Watson

I received this book free from Netgalley. This did not influence my review.

Thanks to Netgalley, I’ve discovered British mystery author Colin Watson. (See book one in the Flaxborough Chronicles: Coffin Scarcely Used.) The books largely follow the work of Inspector Purbright, a small-town investigator whose polite, persistent detective skills have solved several murders already.

Book four in the series is Lonelyheart 4122. When two middle-aged women, one unmarried and one widowed, go missing within a short span of time, relatives become concerned and bring the matter to the police. After some gentle questioning, Purbright is convinced there has been foul play and he begins looking into the matter. One thing they both had in common was that they were customers of a match-making agency, the Handclasp House Marriage Bureau. Each had a bit of money that also may have gone missing. Could they have been conned? Were they murdered?

Coincidentally, a con-woman, Miss Lucy Teatime, arrives in Flaxborough, presumably because things have become a bit hot for her back in London. Seeing an advertisement for the Handclasp House, she signs up. Soon, she is matched with a charming old seaman. It’s quite evident that each is trying to con the other. Their mercenary courtship is a delight to follow.

However, Purbright is following also, concerned for Miss Teatime and unaware that she is more than a match for an unscrupulous suitor. But is she a match for a murderer?

With his usual care, Purbright pieces together the clues and hurries to head off disaster.

Lonelyheart 4122 is an entertaining cozy mystery with a splash of dry British humor. This series is a lot of fun!