The Billiard Room Mystery #1 of #20BooksofSummer

So, a week ago I finished my first book of the 20 Books of Summer and my first Brian Flynn novel, The Billiard Room Mystery.   Recently made available on Kindle, I’ve heard about him for so long now I had to buy it.   I also apparently bought a paperback version.   Ooops.   Published in 1929, it fits the mold of the standard country house mystery, which surprised me for some reason.  The master of the house holds a cricket week every year and good players are invited to participate.  This year that includes Flynn’s new detective Anthony Bathurst and the victim who is found strangled and stabbed on a billiard table, Bill Cunningham, who knows both these men and is an old family friend, a couple of military types, and the family.   They play cricket and bridge and eat Kedgeree from fine china the way they do in these stories until Gerry Prescott is found one morning by the maid dead on the billiard table.   She screams, all come running and then it’s a race between Bathurst who fancies himself a detective and the actual police.  Bathurst is a bit annoying partly because this is his first case and he has absolutely no humility at all.  There’s also a robbery of the pearl necklace of the lady of the house.   That’s solved in about 20 minutes and serves more as a distraction than anything.   Prescott’s mother arrives and everyone feels very awkward around her.   An IOU Prescott got playing cards has disappeared along with all his money, if he had any.  It appears to be an entertaining enough read to consider reading him again, but the end is a bit…  well, I can’t make much sense out of it.   The whys of the killer seem to be elusive, not as to the main motive, the murder itself, but why was he strangled and stabbed?   Why was he on the billiard table?  Why various other things that I won’t elaborate on, but seem to be fairly pointless or inadequately explained.   Also the whole idea of luring the pearl thief back to the house instead of going to where he’s hiding and arresting him there seems ludicrous.   I suspect that like most writers Flynn gets better and it’s a good enough debut that I will try him again, but if you want to read only one Flynn, I suspect there’s a better one out there.   It took me 11 days to read this and at that rate it will be the 8 Books of Summer, but shhh!  don’t discourage me.

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