The Chinese Shawl

At some point in the past, I followed a link from The Invisible Event to a blog entry I decided not to read given that it spoils some twenty works of detection in the author’s discussion of what he refers to as gambits.  I want to read this entry, but don’t want to spoil 9 of the 11 works I haven’t read.   The two girl books I don’t give a fig about and the rest I’ve read.   So, I looked into the nine and before I knew where I was I’d ordered several of them.   I already had The Chinese Shawl by Patricia Wentworth.   In fact, I was surprised to see Wentworth on the list three times.   I stopped reading her long ago finding her moderately diverting, but overly romantic and plot-wise, utterly forgettable.  Anyway, since I owned it already, I started with it.   In time honored fashion, there is a pretty young woman and a handsome young man who fall in love.   The young woman has a cousin with somewhat similar looks, but a vastly different personality.   Owing to a family feud, she’s never met this cousin before.   Nor the aunts who live in what is technically her house as she’s just turned 21.  But she’s about to.    Years of not knowing these people was no loss.  One aunt is a bossy domineering harridan and the other is a not very bright sycophant.   Both spoil their young niece something rotten and our young heroine would be terribly unhappy to be at the old manse if it weren’t for her new boyfriend.   Also at the house is Miss Maud Silver, former governess, current detective, she’ll solve the crime when it eventually happens.

chineseshawlThe book is pleasantly diverting.  A fine enough way to while away a few hours.  Miss Silver is quite a bit like Miss Marple although I don’t think she ever dithers to get information.  I didn’t figure it out though I’m not sure it’s fairly clued.  It’s only a week or so since I finished it and already I can’t remember.


Only 7 more to go.  There doesn’t seem to be a copy of Still Waters for less than $3,000, so I think I’ll be giving that one a miss.

I suppose this was RIP book 4, but I still want to read something creepy , so I’m not done with that yet.


4 thoughts on “The Chinese Shawl”

  1. I’ve started developing a definite soft spot for Patricia Wentworth – and it’s the “overly romantic” part that I really like. Of the five I’ve read, her first Maud Silver mystery, The Grey Mask, is by far my least favorite.

  2. Thanks for the link! Chinese Shawl, I must admit, is not fairly clued, although I will say it’s one of Wentworth’s few such novels. But I’m known for having a certain fondness for, as your commenter Jean says above, the mildest of comfort foods. Occasionally she gets a little scary but never in a violent way — for me, her The Gazebo is probably the scariest of her works. It features a mother from hell who is inevitably going to ruin her daughter’s life and cannot be stopped.

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