Tuesday, April 29, 2014

For Old Crime's Sake: Review

When Jane wins a two-week luxury trip from a somewhat shady London tabloid in For Old Crime's Sake [aka Lucky Jane] (1959), Jane and Dagobert Brown find themselves on a madcap, murderous journey via ferry, limo, and private yacht to the Spanish island of Tabarca.

The story opens with Dagobert lamenting their lack of funds (despite a recent fifty pound bonus on one of Jane's premiums) and Jane telling him that some people make money by going to work. Dagobert is open to new ideas and promptly starts investigating the want ads. He gets distracted by a contest ad that reads: "Win our fascinating competition and BE YOUR OWN BOSS!" The next thing Jane knows he is filling out contest forms right and left for everything from a thousand pounds cash to "double your salary." She's still a bit flabbergasted, however, when Bobby Marcovitch from the Home Truth tabloid arrives on her doorstep with the news that she, Jane Brown, has (along with six other lucky contestants) won a fabulous two-week vacation that will end with attendance at the wedding of Princess Juana of Tabarca to multi-millionaire H. H. Hutton, Jr.

None of the winners seem particularly ecstatic about winning, but the group sets out on their journey determined to enjoy themselves anyway. But it isn't long before a shadow falls over the festivities....Juan (one of the winners) disappears on the ferry ride from England to Spain and it is feared that he has gone overboard--but whether accident, suicide, or....worse, no one is sure. The remaining contestants pile into a limo for a reckless drive through the Spanish countryside and Jane notices a rather familiar figure dogging their tracks on a motor-scooter.  How sweet of Dagobert to miss her and want to follow.

It winds up that Dagobert is a bit suspicious of the contest and when another of their number is found suffocated on board the private yacht his suspicions are proved to be valid.  But who murdered harmless Flossie, the typical British housewife? Was it Bobby--because she wouldn't play along with the mysterious plans he's laid ? Or perhaps it was H. H Hutton--whose past won't bear much investigation.  It could have been the Colonel--who seems rather too much of the hail-fellow-well met type. Or any of the other passengers, really. It's up to Dagobert to use his amateur skills and find the real killer so he and Jane can return to England all in one piece.

This book is a jolly holiday, indeed. Fast-paced. Witty. Great fun all round. I really enjoy the Dagobert and Jane Brown books (this is the third I've read so far--other pre-blogging) and I look forward to more (and I have them--sitting on the TBR pile). There were clues provided that I just managed to ignore completely while I waited for the next outrageous thing to happen. Well played, Mr. Ames.  Well played.  ★★★

This fulfills the "Mode of Transportation" [ferry/limo/private yacht] square on the Golden Vintage Bingo card.

Challenges fulfilled: Vintage Mystery Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, Bookish TBR, European Reading Challenge, Adam's TBR Challenge, How Many Books, My Kind of Mystery, 100 Plus Challenge, 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Book Bingo, Century of Books, Crusin' Thru the Cozies


neer said...

This seems real fun.

fredamans said...

I agree, I see a lot of fun while reading this one. Great review!