I’ve always been a fan of mystery books. My love for these began with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys mysteries.
Ann Granger has enthralled me with a humorous murder-mystery world. You may wonder how a murder can be humorous? Well, it’s not. But all the characters around the poor chap that’s been murdered can be.
In the book “Rack, Ruin and Murder” Ann Granger held me captive until the very end.
An old, crotchety man, who’s main meal each day consists of rye in its most liquid form, goes for a walk into town and back. He returns home to his remote, dilapidated mansion in cotswold to get his “meal” prepared in the parlor. Imagine his surprise when he finds that he’s not alone in the dark, dank chamber. Imagine more the surprise when his guest isn’t responding to questioning. Forced to call the authorities, this is the beginning of the end for Mr. Monty, as his neighbors lovingly call him.
When Inspector Jess Campbell arrives on the scene, Monty believes that the ghosts of his past have come to haunt him and he is more right than he knows. He is forced to leave the only home that he has ever known so that the police can investigate the death. This is more than an inconvenience for the aged gentleman. His “niece” comes to take him to her place so that he can recover from the shock. The shock of being sent to live with his “relatives” is worse, however, than the thought of having to spend the night in the same room where a stiff body has just been pulled out. He obliges nonetheless.
The search for the dead man’s identity and reason of death take the authorities and the inhabitants of two small villages way down memory lane… 150 years down memory lane and back into the present. Monty is forced to confront a family secret that he was sure had already violently changed his life once before.
Inspector Campbell gathers all the information available to her and listens to many theories about how and why the dead man came to be. She is convinced, however, that the main character is the old manor house and the people are set around it.
Despite being a murder-mystery, I found the book to be a light read and highly entertaining. The humor was punchy and dry where it should have been and left away when it wasn’t needed.
I was only slightly disappointed in the last few pages. As soon as I read the first few lines of the last section, I knew what was coming. Up until then, the plot had twisted and turned successfully, leaving me to ponder the true identity of the culprit and the victim. But the story had to end at some point, right?