Second in Anderson’s series of affectionate parodies of the classic 1930s country house murder mystery. I thought this one was better constructed than the first, with enough there to make it possible to deduce who the killer was if you were paying attention. I did work out who the killer probably was fairly early on, but not his motive, which is very cleverly hidden. I missed some of the clues and was distracted by some of the red herrings, so wasn’t certain until close to the end.
Earl Burford has discovered the joys of the talkies, and is having a wonderful time being a starstruck fan. So wonderful that he can’t believe his luck when a Hollywood film producer wants to hire Alderley as a setting for his latest film, starring the Earl’s favourite actor. Naturally, the producer wishes to assess the building and grounds for practicality first, and to encourage the Earl to agree asks if he can bring his star along as well. Thus starts a weekend house party which snowballs, continually acquiring invited and uninvited guests until the house is full of people — many of whom are not quite what they seem on the surface. And when one of them ends up shot dead in the middle of the night, Inspector Wilkins has a job on his hands untangling the many motives which have brought the characters to Alderley.
Great fun to read, with some appealing characters. I’m being more ruthless about getting rid of books now, and this one isn’t a keeper for me, but it was well worth the time spent reading it.