Monday, 23 November 2015

Dead in the Morning by Margaret Yorke



published 1970




Dead in the Morning 2
He went into the chemist’s shop and stood patiently waiting to be served among a cluster of mothers and two middle-aged women.

“Mrs Ludow’s tablets, please,” said one of these older women briskly when her turn came. The name caught Patrick’s attention… He looked at her more sharply while she made some other purchases. She was a tall, striking woman wearing a green jersey suit; her ash-coloured hair was swept up round her head in a becoming manner; she wore glasses and had plain pearl studs in her ears.



Dead in the Morning

[Later that day] “Who was that?” asked Patrick Grant, coming out of the door of Reynard’s to speak to his sister. Jane, in faded jeans and a tartan shirt, stood in the vegetable patch waving at a young girl on a cycle who had just passed the cottage.

“It’s Cathy Ludlow. A nice child, refreshingly old-fashioned,” said Jane, stooping to pick some chives. “The big house at the end of the lane belongs to her grandmother.”  

commentary: Yet again, Tracy at Bitter Tea and Mystery is to blame. She reviewed this book recently, and I found it on my shelves and polished it off in a day. This was the first of Yorke’s Patrick Grant novels, and is light-hearted and agreeable. Grant is an Oxford don: visiting his sister, he gets tied up in the world of the Ludlow family – those are his first encounters above. It is a very classic crime novel of a certain kind: the family are rich, with a great sense of entitlement, and some of them are nice and some of them are not-so-nice. A new wife is about to be introduced. There will be a death – and it’s not certain who was meant to die. Absolutely everyone in the family is slowly revealed as having had motive and opportunity. I had to draw a family-tree to work out the relationships, which seemed unnecessarily complex.

The perpetrator and the motive were both easily guessable AND ludicrous, which was quite an achievement – but I still enjoyed the book enormously. The tense family conversations were well done, and Grant is always teetering on the edge of being annoying without falling in. It is very much of its time – the clothes, the food, the attitudes. And also the charity ‘flagday’ (never called that now) which enables Patrick Grant to gatecrash a family party to ask for money. This collection is relevant to the murder, but I found it even more interesting that the ‘new wife’ character is gently teased for not realizing that she doesn’t have to give money to charity – her husband will take care of that now. 

When I looked up Yorke after reading this, I found she had written a huge number of books – novels and crime stories. Martin Edwards has written about her several times on his blog – he knew her well. She died in 2012.

Green suit lady from the Vivat Vintage archive. Tartan-shirted gardener from the State Library of Queensland – used previously for this entry.






16 comments:

  1. I have read several of her books and enjoyed them,

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    1. I might well venture on to a few more....

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  2. Off in search of it, I hold you responsible.

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    1. I am accountable! It is short and readable - 2 very big points in its favour - so I hope you will like it....

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  3. Some of Yorke's books are entertaining in this way, Moira, and I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I've also enjoyed some of her psychological mysteries. She could create a very effective buildup of tension; I've always liked that about her work.

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    1. Thanks Margot - you are encouraging me to read more by her.

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  4. I've met her briefly and she was lovely. She wrote some good things - I agree with Moira about the build-up of tension. Silent Witness is good - it's another Patrick Grant. A body is found in a chair-lift and the resort is cut off by snow. Just our cup of tea.

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    1. Oh that sounds great, I will make a note for my next read. Yes Martin always says she was lovely too, how nice for you to have met and liked her.

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  5. I am so glad you liked this, Moira, and glad that I influenced you to read it. I thought it was very charming even when I was annoyed with elements in it. And I felt that it had an edge, because of the family relationships. Family problems always interest me.

    I am amazed at how many books she wrote and I want to try some more. I do have a few and another good thing is the brevity of the books.

    Off topic, I found two more Elizabeth Ferrars books at the book sale; I was thrilled because I wanted to have a change to try more of her stories.

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    1. It was a great recommendation Tracy - just a quick read that I could polish off and enjoy. Will definitely look at more by her. And look forward to hearing your views on the Ferrars.

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  6. I have a couple fo hers on the shelf but have yet to pick them up - I am getting some mixed messages here though Moira :)

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    1. Not sure it would be totally your thing - but if you have them anyway... And quick easy reads. They are just what I want. sometimes.

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  7. Moira, you read this book in a day? Wow, I used to do that in my teens. I think, my reading is ageing along with me!

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    1. I'm just getting back to a stage in my life that I can do that Prashant! The odd Sunday I really have a nice quiet time....

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