Saturday, October 29, 2016

Book Review: Westmorland Alone by Ian Sansom

Ian Sansom writes a great traditional mystery series set in 1930s England. Kerry Hammond has fallen in love with the series and is here to tell us why.

Westmorland Alone is the 3rd in the County Guides Mystery series by Ian Sansom. It releases in paperback on November 1 by Witness Impulse. One of my favorite mystery genres is the British traditional mystery, and the best ones are set in the early 1900s. This book had both the time and place, and I was intrigued to find out more about the county guides that the characters were creating.

Swanton Morley is the renowned writer of the English countryside’s County Guides. He travels around with his assistant Stephen Sefton in a Lagonda, writing about the land and the people he encounters. Sefton is the narrator of the stories and offers up a no-nonsense version of events, in stark contrast with Morley’s effusive manner and Morley’s daughter Miriam’s drama.

Their travels take them to Westmorland and the small town of Appleby, where they are involved in a horrible train crash. Stranded in the town, they explore the county fair and an archeological dig. When a woman’s body is found at the dig, Morely can’t help but investigate the suspicious death, even when the local police order them to leave things alone.

Sansom’s County Guides series is unique in its premise and at the same time wonderfully familiar in its execution. If you’re a fan of the traditional British mystery of old, where quirky characters go about their business, stumble over a murder, and solve it using nothing more than their common sense and intelligence, you will join me in being one of the newest fans of this author.

Jumping into the third book is the series wasn’t a problem at all, I quickly became acquainted with Sefton, Morley, and Miriam. I wasn’t at a loss as to their history but did feel intrigued to find out about it. Sansom is also the author of the Mobile Library mystery series, and I plan to check those out next, no pun intended.

This book was provided to Mystery Playground by the publisher. The review was fair and completely independent.

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