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Monday, 27 June 2011

‘The Herring in the Library’ by L C Tyler

Published by MacMillan (Hardback), 2010. ISBN: 978-0-230-71468-7.
Pan (Paperback) July 2011. ISBN: 978-0-330-47214-2

When writer Ethelred Tressider bumps into Rob (Shagger) Muntham outside the village Post Office, last seen considerably inebriated celebrating his degree, he expects nothing more than a quick nod, but having advised Ethelred that he is now Sir Robert Muntham of the large pile up the road called Muntham Court he invites himself into Ethelreds bijou residence - a couple of rooms across the village green.  Following this accidental meeting Robert adopts the habit of dropping in on Ethelred, but tonight Ethelred accompanied by his agent Elsie Thirkettle are to dine at Muntham Court. Elsie has mistaken ‘dine at their estate’ for ‘they live on an estate’ and has a sort of Gypsy Rose Lee meets Vivienne Westwood outfit which gave me an instant picture of Elsie.

Arriving at Muntham Court their host is surprisingly absent, but Lady Annabelle Muntham leads them to meet the other guests - a somewhat diverse crew. Colin and Fiona McIntosh who seem quite at home helping themselves to a drink, Clive Brent, a former banking colleague, the writer Felicity Hooper, whose book it transpires Elsie had turned down as a non-starter, which has subsequently made copious amounts of money - oops, and Gerald and Jane Smith.  When Robert does appear he seems in a strange mood and makes a toast to his chums, promising them an evening none of them will forget.  Shortly afterwards he is found strangled in his locked study.

This is the classic whodunit, with a good cast of suspects whose motives gradually come to light, as Ethelred investigates at the request of Annabelle Muntham. But above all it is a fun read. The story is told by Ethelred and Elsie in alternate chapters. They are marvellous well-fleshed out characters, who you so want to meet. The prose is witty and beautifully delivered.  This book is highly recommended, and whilst I await the next instalment of Ethelred and Elsie I will catch up on the earlier ones – you should do too, if you haven’t already..
Lizzie Hayes
Len Tyler has written four books featuring Ethelred Tressider and his agent Elsie Thirkettle  "The Herring Seller's Apprentice" and "Ten Little Herrings" were nominated for "Edgars" 2010 & 2011 & short listed for the "Last Laugh" Awards 2008 & 2010. "The Herring in the Library" won the "Last Laugh Award" 2011. His latest book Herring on the Nile will be published  1st July. The book launch will be held at Goldsboro books. Cecil Court, London on 5 July 2011.

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