May 3, 2013
Murder in Two Flats by Roy Vickers
Author: Roy Vickers
First published: 2002
Add it: Goodreads, The Book Depository
This book was provided to me by Bello for Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge, and I'm very glad this happened, as reading a real book instead of an ebook is a long-forgotten pleasure for me now :) I was also pleasantly surprised that the printing quality is so good. You usually expect worse paper, smaller format and thinner cover in a paperback mystery :)
I've never read anything by Vickers before, and the first experience was a good one. He definitely knows how to build a good story. The plot of this one spins around two murders that happened at the same time, in two flats on the same staircase, and probably by the same person. Although there seems to be no possibility whatsoever for the murderer to do this, as a worker was on the landing in front of one of the flats all the time, and the murderer was not able to leave the flat. So the reader has not only two murders here, but also a closed room problem, my favourite one.
There are two main and opposing characters here, who also happen to be friends: a professional detective, Curwen, and an amateur, who is also one of the suspects, Stanton. Curwen is a realist and an advocate of methodology. He is sure that somehow the case will be solved and is usually reluctant to follow all Stanton's energetic ideas. Stanton, on the other hand, is very active, comes up with suggestions and organizes a revealing meet-up of the suspects in the end. Very classy.
I must admit that the characters are not very deep. Take Stanton - he is rather rude, drinks and seems to attract all the women, especially the ones which cause a lot of problems. But he is of course rather charismatic. Nothing that you can't find in any other mystery. And the same with the other characters. But somehow for me it was an advantage rather than a nuisance, as I'm really bad at remembering characters, and making them so recognizable helped me to concentrate on the case.
All in all, an entertaining and relaxing read, although a bit scary at times (but this is good, right? :)). It was really nice to take a trip to the world of vintage mystery, without computers, cell phones, etc. I'll definitely be looking out for some more of Vicker's mysteries.