This book is the 14th in Catherine Aird's 'Inspector C. D. Sloan' series, and was originally published in 1993. My husband and I both enjoyed these ingenious British mysteries starring Inspector C.D. Sloan and his clueless side-kick, Detective-Constable Crosby, and I was happy to see them come out on Kindle so I could read them all over again.
The procedurals are set in the fictional County of Calleshire, England which very much resembles the County of Kent where Catherine Aird (the pseudonym of novelist Kinn Hamilton McIntosh) lives.
"A Going Concern" revolves around the complex will of the deceased Octavia Garamond. If Margery Allingham hadn't already written a mystery called "Police at the Funeral," Catherine Aird could have used the title for this book. Not only does Octavia want police to accompany her to her last resting place, she wants her doctor to examine her very thoroughly beforehand. He might not have done so, since she was an elderly woman with a bad heart. But very soon after her death, her house is broken into and thoroughly ransacked. And her doctor remembers Octavia's last words:
"Hell is empty, and all the devils are here."
Were the odd clauses in Octavia's will and her quotation from 'Hamlet' a sign of senile paranoia, or did she really have something to fear?
One of the reasons I love reading this author: almost everyone in her books is delightfully literate (with the exception of Detective-Constable Crosby) and quoting from such disparate sources as 'The Lyke-Wake Dirge,' 'Pilgrim's Progress' or 'Who Killed Cock-Robin."
Dr. Dabbe, the Consultant Pathologist to the Berebury and District Hospital Management Trust is called in when Octavia's physician finds nothing unusual, and he is always good for a page or two of acerbic dialogue, as readers of this series must know.
The author plays fair with her clues, and by the end of "A Going Concern" you should be able to deduce the identity the villain before 'Seedy' Sloan claps him or her into the brig.
These Calleshire Chronicles have been labelled 'cozies' by some reviewers, but I find them a bit too edgy to easily fit into the 'cozy' category. Catherine Aird's humor has many hidden barbs. I'd classify her Inspector Sloan books as police procedurals, with interesting dollops of village life in not-so-cozy postwar England.
- Hardcover: 167 pages
- Publisher: St Martins Pr (1 September 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312114230
- ISBN-13: 978-0312114237
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.3 x 21.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 340 g
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