Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Dead in the Morning: Margaret Yorke
Dead in the Morning (1970) is the first book in the Patrick Grant series by Margaret Yorke. Grant is a likable, highly intelligent, but also extremely nosy amateur detective. He is a Fellow and Dean of St. Mark's College, Oxford, and a lecturer in English, and he has insatiable curiosity. In this first book, Grant visits his sister at the same time a death occurs in the small village she lives in. He brazenly insinuates himself into the investigation.
The focus was on the family and their dynamics. Mrs. Ludlow's favorite son had recently married in haste and has just arrived home from his honeymoon. His daughter from a previous marriage lives with Mrs. Ludlow. His sister, Phyllis, cares for her mother; the other son has a more normal family life, with two grown sons, but there are hints of discord.
Stories featuring amateur sleuths are not my favorite, by a long shot, but this one entertained me, once again proving that it is the quality of the writing and plotting that determine enjoyment of a book. Patrick constantly inserts himself into the families get-togethers and is allowed a lot of leeway by Inspector Foster, who is in charge of the investigation. That part of it is unrealistic, but it did not bother me.
Even though the murderer is not known until the very end, it gradually becomes fairly obvious who it is. It is not obvious why, though, and that is the real mystery.
The books in the Patrick Grant series are not considered to be Yorke's best work; there were only five books in the series. I enjoyed this one, though; it inspires me to read more of her books.
Dead in the Morning, published in 1970, was the first mystery novel that Margaret Yorke wrote, but she had written several other novels earlier. In 1974 she published her first non-series mystery, No Medals for the Major, which gained favorable critical attention. She wrote many more mysteries in the following years; her last mystery novel, Cause for Concern, was published in 2001.
This post at Mystery Fanfare lists all of her books.
Publisher: House of Stratus, 2012 (orig. pub. 1970)
Length: 160 pages
Format: Trade paperback
Series: Patrick Grant #1
Setting: small village in the U.K.
Source: I purchased my copy at Chaucer's Books.