By far, the favorite was Eberhart's mystery. It was a Crime Club hardback with the man with the gun logo. I reread it I don't know how many times. And then, sometime between junior high and marriage, it disappeared. It's the only book I used to own that went astray and I have no idea what happened. A few have gone missing when borrowed....but Hunting's End? That one's a real mystery. It then became my mission in life to hunt up another copy. A few years ago I got my hands on a paperback copy, but I was still on the lookout for a replacement Crime Club edition. Thanks to John from Pretty Sinister Books I was able to get my hands on a copy this past October and I promptly put it on the list to reread and fulfill various challenges that allow (or demand) rereads.
Another reason I like Hunting's End so much is that it was my first locked room mystery. I also enjoyed the atmosphere--one of Eberhart's strong suits. Set in the rolling and desolate landscape of the Sand Hills of Nebraska, where Mignon G. Eberhart lived as a newlywed, this 1930 mystery revolves around a weekend party at Hunting’s End, a lodge owned by the rich Kingery family. Matil Kingery has invited a strange collection of guests to join her on the outing—the same people who were at the lodge when her father died of “heart failure” exactly five years ago. She knows that her father was murdered and intends to find out which of the guests is the guilty party. She has to find out....she's in love with one of the young men and wants his name cleared.
Added to the guest list is the dapper young detective Lance O’Leary who is posing as an acquaintance of Matil's. At his recommendation Matil has also engaged Nurse Sarah Keate to take care of Aunt Lucy while they're at the lodge—a fairly unpleasant assignment, as it turns out. Aunt Lucy is a crotchety old woman with a tongue as sharp as Nurse Keate's and who seems to know more than is good for her. In the course of the weekend, a November snowstorm hits the area and the group is stranded. The atmosphere is not made any cheerier by a jittery collie named Jericho and a stray cat who seems to able to herald new, clearly unnatural deaths. As the storm continues, nerves get frayed,the cook starts drinking heavily, secrets start leaking out, and the death toll continues to rise.
Nurse Keate is the same eagle-eyed, sharp-tongued, strong-stomached angel of mercy and sleuth who was introduced to mystery lovers in The Patient in Room 18. Her popularity
This reread was like greeting an old friend. I found myself nodding over familiar passages and anticipating others I remembered. No matter how many other Eberhart books I've read since my first acquaintance with her, Hunting's End has remained my favorite. The Patient in Room 18 is on deck for this year....it will be interesting to see how it measures up. Four and a half stars.