Sunday, January 3, 2016

Hunt with the Hounds: Review

Hunt with the Hounds (1950) by Mignon G. Eberhart is meant to be an edge-of-the-seat romantic suspense story. It's set against the backdrop of the Virginia fox-hunting country (who knew fox-hunting was a thing anywhere but England). It opens with Jed Bailey on trial for his life--accused of murdering his wife in order to be with "the other woman." The other woman is apparently Sue Poore. Credence is given to this supposition when Sue provides the evidence that Jed couldn't have killed Ernestine Bailey...because he was with her, proclaiming his love and telling her that he planned to divorce Ernestine. And later--that she had seen him sitting in his car when the shot was fired.

Jed is duly acquitted, but it never occurs to Sue that the police will focus their sights on her as suspect number two. She (along with the faithful Fitz Wilson) spends the rest of the story trying to prove her innocence. The police have decided that if Jed didn't do it, then she must have--especially when she is present at the scene of a second killing. And not even a bullet that scars the wall beside her will convince them that she, too, is in danger from a murderer they would never suspect now.

Eberhart tries very hard to build up suspense and atmosphere in this one. But, for me, it just fell flat and doesn't represent her best work. I have to admit to a bit of bias here--I much prefer her stories with Nurse Sarah Keate and I tend to hold The Mystery of Hunting's End up as the stick by which I measure her mysteries. Hounds isn't even close in its abilities to mystify the reader. And Eberhart's usual fine description and dialogue seem to be missing here. There were sections where, quite honestly, I just didn't follow the conversations. Everybody has an off day here and there--Eberhart definitely spent a few on this particular outing. ★★

This fulfills the "Damsel in Distress" item in the Golden Vintage Cover Scavenger Hunt--just look at that poor dear running around in the shrubbery.

This is also my first entry in Rich's January 2016 Crimes of Century feature. Got any 1950 mysteries on tap this month? Come join us!

Full list of Challenges fulfilled: Mount TBR, Vintage Scavenger Hunt, 100 Plus Challenge, What An Animal, Cruisin' Thru the Cozies, Cloak & Dagger, Charity Challenge, Outdo Yourself, 100 Plus Challenge, A-Z Mystery Author Challenge, Mystery Reporter, My Kind of Mystery, Lady Detectives, Reading Road Trip, Crimes of the Century, Women Challenge

1 comment:

fredamans said...

Sorry to see this missed the mark for you too. It's especially unsatisfying when it's an author you enjoy.