L C Tyler’s first novel The Herring Seller’s Apprentice was recommended to me, and so earlier this year I ordered a copy. At first it seemed that it was a superior cosy mystery, but it soon proved to be something much more interesting – and excellent.
I was pleased to find that the author’ s second book was completely different – and every bit as good. But that realisation did make me start to wonder. What became of Ethelred and Elsie, the central characters of The Herring Seller’s Apprentice?
And so I was delighted to find that book three – Ten Little Herrings – picks up their story again.
Underachieving crime writer Ethelred Tressider had vanished. But Elsie Thirkettle, his agent, is determined not to lose her asset. He may not be that valuable an asset, but he is her asset after all!
She soon tracks him down. Agent and author are reunited in a French hotel. And then things get interesting. Two hotel guests are murdered, and Elsie and Ethelred find themselves in the middle of the modern day equivilant of a classic country house mystery.
Elsie’s urgent need for chocolate leads her into trouble, but she still sets to work detecting.
Ethelred is more laid back, pondering his life and career as Elsie charges around. His contemplations make wonderful reading, but it does seem that something is amiss. Might Ethelred be a man with something to hide?
It sounds simple maybe, but it isn’t. Ten Little Herrings never flags – detail, wit and wonderful characters make the story sing from start to finish.
Ah yes, the finish. It’s wonderful! Elsie goes for a classic denouement with all of the suspects assembled to hear the truth. But of course, it couldn’t be that simple!
And just when you think everything is wrapped up there is another twist – and the kind of twist not usually found in murder mysteries. It makes you think again about what went before and it makes possibilities for Ethelred and Elsie even more intriguing.
The cover bears the slogan “An Elsie and Ethelred Mystery”, which certainly suggests a series of more than two books.
I do hope so – future installments are eagerly awaited!