In 1922 a blind WW1 veteran and former intelligence officer attends a weekend with his aristocratic wife and her family at a country house in the New Forest, Hampshire, England. Fourteen people sit down to dinner on the Friday night; by the end of the weekend there are two murders, an attempted murder and a suicide.
This is book one in a series of humorous murder mysteries and introduces young sleuths The Hon Melissa Charters and her war veteran husband Major Alasdair Charters.
The pair collaborate using Melissa’s powers of observation and Alasdair’s old skills gained in the Secret Intelligence Service to investigate the events unfolding over the weekend. A murder mystery with a spy plot told from many different points of view in the tradition of Simon Brett, M C Beaton and Kerry Greenwood.
Will our investigators discover who is behind the murders?
Hey all, sorry for this being a bit late in the day, but, I can assure you it’s worth the wait, this book was SO MUCH FUN to read. Seriously! The only time I get this crazy about murder mystery books are Agatha Christie ones, so, the fact that I’ve loved this one so much speaks volumes. The Charter Mystery series, promises to be a fantastic one.
I enjoy my murder mysteries with the sort of gusto that I enjoy eating, sooo…A LOT. But that being said, I tend to enjoy them on a rather ‘average’ level, but this one not only kept me intrigued, Goldie’s writing style did such a good job of setting you up in the era that you wouldn’t have known this was written in this decade let alone this century. At the same time, she doesn’t over-clutter with old fashioned language, keeping it solely to the vernacular of the characters which means you’re not weighed down by prose.
But let’s get to the heart of the matter. You’ve got a fantastically smart aristocratic woman with what seems to be a natural affinity for sleuthing and her husband. The one with the permanent alterations from the war, used to such an independent life and secretive role, finally able to return to what he does best, observations.
The fact that our Mr. Charter doesn’t have eyesight doesn’t deter him and in fact our sleuth uses it to his advantage. He’s living in a time when people sadly equated disabilities like blindness with other assumptions about how their brains work. But, this means they don’t tend to censor what they say within proximity, and when a carefree weekend turns to murder, this point works highly in our ex-Major’s favor as he tries to figure out who the murderer is.
Goldie uses the experiences and knowledge of her husband to write a character that we don’t see often enough; a blind one. There’s no over-exaggeration of the Major’s abilities and the struggle he deals with due tot he fact that he was not always blind and it was a war injury, well, it really hits his experiences home for the reader. She does a good job of conveying his PTSD and feelings on losing his independence in his mind.
The couple work together but without being joined to the hip, they each have their strengths and it’s great to see them separately in action and I really enjoyed that.
The fact that this book opened up with the first case involving their family meant that we were able as readers to get to know a good deal about the background without deterring from the plot and story and I thought this was rather clever of Goldie.
The mystery itself is really well done, I didn’t see that twist, and the tidbits that were used to throw you off the scent were well planted as I didn’t see them for what they were until the last moment. The reveal was exciting and the ending came too quickly in my opinion, it’s such a quick and enjoyable read!
Overall I could gush about this all day but I won’t, just know if you like Agatha Christie, or murder mysteries set in the golden age, I definitely recommend this book to you.
Four HUGE cups of coffee from me!
Thanks to Anne Cater, Vicki Goldie, and Victorina Press for a chance to read and review this honestly as part of the blog tour!
About the Author
Vicki worked as a Chartered Librarian for the Royal National Institute of Blind People and then for the past 19 years in public libraries in Bournemouth and Poole. There she enjoyed arranging and attending writing courses and author events, including such luminaries as Fay Weldon and Peter James. With the Reading Agency and other librarians round the country she reviewed and selected books for The Radio Two Book Club. All the time writing away in her spare time.
Born in California but brought up in England she was introduced to the Golden Age of crime authors at an early age by her mother. She is married to a blind physiotherapist, and it is from his mother, born in a large country house in Devon (now a hotel), educated by governess and with a cut glass voice like the Queen, that she absorbed real life stories about the twenties and thirties.
She has always had a fascination with the Art Deco period and the Golden Age of crime writing. She has been filling her house with Art Deco inspired artefacts and clothing for 40 years.
Blind Witness is her debut novel and is the beginning of the Charters Mysteries Series featuring Major Alasdair Charters and The Honourable Melissa Charters.
The Rest of the Tour