Sunday, 9 December 2012

Tom Brown's Body by Gladys Mitchell

As you have guessed from the title, the story takes place in a boys ' school. No, Tom Brown is not dead but Gerald Conway is. Gerald Conway, a master at Spey College, is found murdered. Almost everybody both the pupils and the masters have a motive and nobody has a alibi. Everybody is running about here and there in the middle of the night, both the boys and their masters, so practically anybody could have murdered him. Who murdered him and why? Gerald Conway seems to be having affairs with most of the wives and daughters of Masters in the School.

Mrs Bradely who visits Spey in search of an ancient book of spells by her ancestress, a witch, is also a psychiatrist who investigates the case with the help of a scotland yard detective.

I don't know how Mrs Bradely finds the clue. I don't know if she uses her intuitive powers, or magical powers or psychiatry to find out what she finds. This means I have really nothing to play the detective I love playing in mystery stories.

The first half is more or less madcap, the characters, their attitudes and motivations even Mrs. Bradely itself, so much so I had no clue where the story was headed. The boys in the school put up a murder mystery play as catharsis. The story gets interesting and exciting from the start of the play. I didn't guess the killer or the reason. I loved the end with its logical explanation. Tom Brown's Body is published in 1949 and you get a glimpse into boys school of the era.

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