Monday, October 13, 2014

Only a Matter of Time: Mini-Review

Dr. R. V. Davie, professor of poetry and sometime amateur detective, has come to Kings Lacey for its annual festival featuring a bit of opera, a bit of jazz-inspired poetry (or is that poetry-inspired jazz), and a bit of madrigal singing. He didn't expect to land himself in the middle of a bit of murder as well. But on the Friday afternoon, the directors of Bexminster Electronics gathered for a top-secret meeting to discuss the dates for the roll-out of their next electronic masterpiece. By Saturday night, Robert Copplestone, one of the men in the meeting was dead.

Robert had two passions in life--he loved fine china and he was a champion of honesty and truth. So when he was browsing in a local antique shop and just happened to find a company secret tucked into the teapot in a pretty little gold and white tea service, he rushed to phone a trusted board member with the news. But someone made certain that Robert never got a chance to share the secret. When the owner of the antique shop also winds up dead--killed in a similar fashion--Dr. Davie can't help but get involved. He had become friends with Jiri Vanasek and he needed to help find his killer. But will Dr. Davie be able to discover the false clue hidden among the true ones?

Only a Matter of Time is the third of five detective novels written by V. C. (Victor Vaughan Reynolds Geraint Clinton) Clinton-Baddeley featuring the scholarly amateur detective. I have to admit to a bit of disappointment with this one--I felt as though the culprit had a huge neon arrow pointing at her/him the entire time. And there really wasn't much attempt to muddy the waters at all--as soon as Dr. Davie started burbling on about the "false clue" and what kept bothering him, it was pretty obvious who must have done it. There was also another clue--something that I thought must have been done on purpose (although Clinton-Baddeley really didn't explain it that way) that first drew my attention to Mr./Ms. X. I kept hoping that perhaps there would be a final twist (there was the teensiest bit of a hint of one) to make things interesting...but, alas.  

A bit of a let-down from my beloved academic mystery sub-genre. Clinton-Baddley does a much better job with mystification in the rest of the series--particularly the first (Death's Bright Dart) and final (To Study a Long Silence). I did enjoy the characters, especially Miss Jesmond, the Bexminster company's confidential secretary, and Dr. Davies is always a delight.  ★★ and a half for a less than best effort.

This fulfills the "Amateur" square and my fourth Bingo on the Silver Vintage Bingo Card.


Anonymous said...

Not read any of these but did see them on the bookshelves way back when. "Hmm, maybe not" I think is my response now - thanks Bev!

fredamans said...

Sorry it was a let-down. Great review!

Bev Hankins said...

Sergio--Others in the series are better. Really!