Monday, November 21, 2016

Hell Bay by Will Thomas

    • Hell Bay, a Barker & Llewelyn Mystery by Will Thomas
    • Published October 25, 2016
    • Other works by author include the first 7 books in the Barker & Llewelyn series of mysteries, all of which I've read.

    • Private enquiry agent Cyrus Barker and his assistant Thomas Llewelyn (the narrator) are requested to provide security for a meeting between Lord Hargrave and the French ambassador on a private island off the coast of England in 1889. The meeting occurs under the guise of a house party for the week.
    • Once the visitors arrive on the island two murders occur: Lord Hargrave and the French ambassador's head of security. The boat has been sent away, the signal flagpost has been destroyed and the island's lighthouse has been sabotaged.
    • Meanwhile, Cyrus's special lady friend is one of the guests. He needs to protect her too but she proves resourceful in her own right.
    • Can Cyrus Barker and his trusty assistant figure out who the murder is and why? You bet!

    • For the last book in the series I had put in a special request to the library which only has books 1 to 3 in the series. I was excited to see that book 8 appeared as soon as it was published. 
    • I just really like this series. It generally takes place in 1880s London. This volume is a bit of a departure, taking place on a distant private island in the Scillies.
    • I had read somewhere that this book would be a kind of Agatha Christie/And Then There Were None homage. 
      • While both take place on a secluded island and murders occur, the differences are enough to make that comparison moot. 
      • Everyone on the island thinks they are at risk of death but the killer has a specific agenda rather than out to murder everyone.
    • It was nice getting to know Cyrus Barker's lady friend better as she has been a fleeting presence in past books.
    • The downstairs staff play a part too as a butler, a cook, housemaids, footmen and valets make appearnaces.
      • I thank "Downton Abbey" for teaching me the rules of how the servant class is structured!
    • One odd thing that I don't remember from past books is that Thomas Llewelyn makes comments indicating he is writing about this adventure at some point in the 1900s, not 1889. 
      • No big deal but I wonder what it means overall. I often wonder if mystery series writers have a grand plan to finish a character's story or if they just write until they are dead.
    • Recommended for those who enjoy mysteries.

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