The Murder Of Gonzago
By R. T. Raichev
Lord Roderick Remnant was a nobleman who was not so noble. He enjoyed causing heartache, consorted with the occult, and threw wild parties on his private Caribbean island. Any wonder he would be murdered? Those around him when he shuffled off this mortal coil are up to their eyeballs in conspiracy to keep the murder a secret. But when the new Lady Remnant receives a videotape of her brother in-law’s death, she hires detective Major Payne to ferret out the truth. Along with his novelist wife, Antonia, Payne is faced with a plethora of suspects. By using extraordinary deductive reasoning a’la Holmes, can Payne expose a murderer? You know he can.
Murder is fun again! Oh sure, it’s an oft used plot. With this type of murder mystery, there’s nothing new under the sun. But as of this writing, I’d been reading a lot of serious gritty murder mysteries, a few of them relatively average or below. It was such a delight to pick up this book and get back to the enjoyment of reading.
Hugh Payne: amateur detective, major in the army, exhibits a bit of Sherlock Holmes deductive prowess, owns a cat, smokes a pipe
Antonia Darcy: author, Pyane’s wife, was married before, comes across as mild-mannered
Lady Clarissa Remnant : 45, widow, was Lord Roderick’s second wife, had many lovers, smokes, short fair hair
Stephan Farrar: Clarissa’s son from a previous marriage, takes drugs and has psychological problems, slender, butter yellow hair, wide mouth, bright blue eyes
Gerard Fenwick: Roderick’s brother, struggling writer, the 13th Earl Remnant, married, likes scotch and soda, frozen Daiquiris, and cigars
Louise Hunter: moon shaped face, auburn hair, gold-brown eyes, double chin, overweight, married but sleeps a separate bedroom from her husband, owns dogs
Such wonderful people are the Brits. You are introduced to a slew of them in the prologue and it’s a bit overwhelming to get smacked with so many all at once. I had to concentrate a bit in the subsequent chapters to put everybody in their place. Once I did, the characters became distinguishable and ‘classical.’
Many characters are described and much of the story is told through conversations. The style is so typically British I found myself right there in the same room enjoying the tea and scones and the cakes and breathing the atmosphere.
Each chapter is titled. Relatively short chapters. Each parcels out just a bit more of the story, just enough drawing open of the curtain to reveal the picture behind. I liked the interview with Antonia and the way she describes her style of writing is how Raichev writes: a balance between setting, characterization, and plot. Several references to the murder mystery genre, other literature, and several authors, almost a sly poking fun, yet a mild salute to them. This is a mystery that harkens to the thirties or forties, but pays respect to modernity. A fast read. A thoroughly enjoyable story. A definite keeper.