Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith

Portrait of a Murderer by Anne  Meredith
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EXCERPT: Adrian Gray was born in May 1862 and met his death through violence, at the hands of one of his own children, at Christmas, 1931. The crime was instantaneous and unpremeditated, and the murderer was left staring at the weapon on the table to the dead man in the shadows of the tapestry curtains, not apprehensive, not yet afraid, but incredulous and dumb.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: “Adrian Gray was born in May 1862 and met his death through violence, at the hands of one of his own children, at Christmas, 1931.” Thus begins a classic crime novel published in 1933, a riveting portrait of the psychology of a murderer.

Each December, Adrian Gray invites his extended family to stay at his lonely house, Kings Poplars. None of Gray’s six surviving children is fond of him; several have cause to wish him dead. The family gathers on Christmas Eve – and by the following morning, their wish has been granted. This fascinating and unusual novel tells the story of what happened that dark Christmas night; and what the murderer did next.

MY THOUGHTS: This is not a ‘whodunit’ in the traditional sense, nor can it really be classified as a detective story, although there is some detecting done by the murderer’s brother. There is no mystery, because we know the story from the beginning, we are there for the kill. What it is, is a portrait of a family, none of whom particularly like one another, and what happens when one of them, who we know is not guilty, is charged with murder. It is also a story of how the true murderer is able to cast the seeds of suspicion elsewhere.

I can’t say that I particularly like this approach. I prefer a mystery. But having said that, I was kept interested to the end. There is some beautiful atmospheric writing – ‘The house was uneasy with the noises of old houses at night. Doors creaked and shadows seemed full of anonymous life; phantom steps sounded in empty corridors and on the black stairs.’ And the author has a beautiful turn of phrase when describing the relationships between the characters – ‘He persisted in loading his wife up with jewels, handsome clothes, and furs – “Putting his trademark on me, so that I can’t be mislaid wherever I go, ” said Laura bitterly. This action on his part caused other wives to say in envious tones, “It must be wonderful to have a husband like Richard Gray. That wife of his hasn’t done a thing for him, and he’s the most generous soul alive. Some women have all the luck.” Which, as Laura knew, was Richard’s crafty intention, and a new way of humiliating her. ‘

Anne Meredith was a pseudonym of Lucy Beatrice Malleson (1899-1973) who is best known as the author of the Arthur Crook series of detective novels published under the name of Anthony Gilbert. She was a highly esteemed writer of crime fiction and a member of the elite Detection Club, but the ‘Anne Meredith’ books were out of print for many years. I am interested enough to try the Arthur Crook series, if I can lay my hands on them.

3 stars.

Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2251341931

Author: sandysbookaday

I love good quality chocolate. I love the ocean and love to be in, on or beside it. I read any and every where. I am a proud mum and Nana. I like wine, gin, Southern Comfort, a cold Heineken on a hot day. I am very versatile like that. I cross stitch, do jigsaws, garden, and work on a farm. I am an occasional scribbled. I have far too many books I want to read to ever find the time to die. I am an active member of Goodreads as Sandy *the world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* and review on Amazon under the name Sandyj21. My Goodreads reviews are automatically linked to my Facebook page. Groups I belong to and participate in on Goodreads include: The Mystery, Crime and Thriller Group; Mysteries and Crime Thrillers; Psychological Thrillers; Reading for Pleasure; Crime Detective Mystery Thrillers; English Mysteries; Dead Good Crime; Kindle English Mystery, All About Books and NZ Readers. April 2016 I made the Top 1% of Goodreads reviewers (As follows) Hello Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*, In our community of readers, you stand out in a notable way: You're one of the top 1% of reviewers on Goodreads! With every rave and every pan, with every excited GIF and every critical assessment, you've helped the Goodreads community get closer to a very important milestone – the 50 Million Reviews mark!

3 thoughts on “Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith”

  1. I’m like you in that sense- I prefer to have a mystery in the traditional sense and if that’s revealed too early on, then a plot twist at least. But good to hear this kept to interested throughout.

    Liked by 1 person

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