Thursday, 21 February 2019

And Death Came Too by Richard Hull

And Death Came Too by Richard Hull
First published in the UK by Collins Crime Club in 1939. Republished by Agora Books on the 17th January 2019.

Featured in Cover Characteristics: Blood, one of my Classics Club Challenge reads and a 2019 New Release Challenge read

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After three nights of celebration in the humid heat of August, four friends weigh up a very particular request to visit Y Bryn House. Tired and restless, they begrudgingly accept the invitation…

But upon their arrival, their host is no where to be seen. A man plays an odd game of solitaire, a strange woman wafts in and out of the room before fleeing out of the back door. Becoming all the more concerned for their host’s welfare, their worst suspicions are confirmed when a police constable saunters in, has a drink, and announces that Mr Yeldham has been found stabbed next to a lit fireplace.

Who had the motive and means to kill Yeldham? With the odd woman missing, the clock is ticking to solve this case before the four friends are accused of murder.

And Death Came Too is another golden age mystery from the sardonic and sly Richard Hull. Master of the inverted mystery, here he weaves a true-to-style, classic whodunnit.

I requested And Death Came Too as a Decade Challenge read because of its original 1930s publication date. However, by the time I got around to starting it, I had already read Salt Of The Earth so this is now only a two-challenge book! Hull's writing feels very much of its time and I can easily imagine Agatha Christie fans enjoying getting their teeth into And Death Came Too. I loved the first chapters which set up a quirky scenario peopled with some refreshingly odd characters. Unfortunately this style isn't maintained and the narrative settles down into a more traditional crime story.

Hull keeps up a good pace throughout and I appreciated his diversions into genuine clues and clever red herrings. The settings are good too, but I wasn't overly enamoured with any of the characters. The central quartet of louche young things mostly irritated me and I would have preferred to have spent more time with the bickering policemen! And Death Came Too is set at a time when forensic investigation methods are new to this provincial town. Two police officers have been trained in the modern art of Fingerprinting and take their new skills very seriously!

Although I enjoyed the read, this novel wasn't ideal for me because I wanted more depth to the characters and greater exploration of their motives and actions. I did guess the murderer, but then talked myself out of my conclusion so I probably can't make any claims about having solved this whodunnit before it was revealed.

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  1. Sounds interesting, thanks for the honest review.

    1. Not a perfect fit for me, but I'm glad to have been able to try Hull's work

  2. I have talked myself out of a right answer solution as well. I always try and remember to go with my gut and stick with it..but alas....

    1. I was too quick to doubt myself with this one!

  3. I have done that so many times too, knowing the right answer but then talking myself out of the person I think is guilty. Great review!

  4. I see what you mean. The set up of the novel when I was reading the synopsis made me really think of the set up in And then there were none. I like the sound of this one well enough but I worry that I wouldn't be able to stop drawing similarities...

    1. I've hardly read any Christie - one or two maybe - so I miss where other books are similar!


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