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Hello! I'm looking for some great 'puzzle mysteries': that is, detective novels where the primary focus is on the whodunnit aspect, as opposed to a broader plot, deep characterization, etc. I like putting the book down periodically to work out my own theories (ex: suppose the killer were Mr. Smith...and he slipped out of the party an hour before he claimed he did, and then...but wait...that would mean...of course! etc.) The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Agatha Christie) was just about right (the specific layout of the house, the manageable list of suspects). The Nine Tailors (Dorothy Sayers) was excellent, and featured some puzzle-like aspects, but had decidedly larger themes and longer digressions. Then there was The Big Sleep (Raymond Chandler). Again, I enjoyed the novel, but there was hardly any puzzle at all. To me, it was more like an action film than a detective story, with constant activity but very little in the way of logic to work out. What would you recommend? I've heard The Five Red Herrings (Sayers) fits the bill. What else?
This is the latest in a long line of Agatha Raisin mysteries (& to my shame, I've only read the first 4 of the series before this one - I can't seem to find them in the local shops!) & I found this lurking in my local library. As with the previous books, I've developed a strange liking to the heroine - her faults making her all the more likeable & I wasn't disappointed in this latest installment of her life either. I also liked the fact that even though I've missed so many books in between I was able to pick up on existing plotlines within her home village & her relationships with the other regular characters. It seems that the characters are consistent & well-developed, their relationships detailed well rather than being over-emphasised & the insight into Agatha's psyche is just as enlightening, frightening & amusing as ever! The given synopsis is as follows: 'Agatha Raisin's ex-husband James is engaged to be married to a beautiful young woman and Agatha has kindly been invited to the wedding. This is a difficult pill to swallow & to take her mind off it Agatha begins a flirtation with Sylvan, a Frenchman she met at James's engagement party. For further distraction she decides upon a holiday & flies off to Istanbul, where unfortunately she bumps into James & his fiancee, not once but twice - convincing him she is stalking them. So when the bride is murdered on her wedding day, naturally Agatha is Suspect Number One - though the situation is quickly turned on its head when the mother of the bride engages Agatha to take on the case of her murdered daughter! And then, somehow, Agatha's own life seems to be in danger as she sets about trying to solve the mystery of the dead bride, while defending herself (rather half-heartedly) against the advances of a very attractive & determined Frenchman.' As a whole, this book was highly enjoyable, I whizzed through it in a couple of days & was thoroughly immersed in the plotline, I enjoyed the different locations described this time round, finding it interesting in the way that Agatha interacted abroad rather than in her home village. The plot had sufficient twists & revelations to keep me interested, although I was disappointed that I guessed who the murderer was & the main plotline, although it was hinted at heavily throughout the majority of the last half of the book. There were, however, some interesting sidelines introduced - between for example Toni & Agatha - their relationship was looked at in a little more detail rather than just leaving it as employer & employee. All in all, it was an enjoyable book, all the loose ends tied up nicely & the main characters' lives were opened up enough to leave scope for more books to follow. I've started hunting the previous books down on Ebay as I do find these light enough to just grab & read for light entertainment.