Thursday, September 15, 2016
Murder in Stained Glass - Margaret Armstrong
This is one of the reissued Queens of Crime mysteries. Margaret Armstrong is new to me. I read it on my Kindle. While I was doing that, I was wondering when it was written. You know how it is: on a Kindle, it's not easy to flip to the front or around in the book. Anyway, it was published in 1939. It sometimes feels more modern than that.
The narrator, a Miss Trumbull, goes to stay with an old school friend, Charlotte Blair, in the village of Bassett's Bridge, Connecticut. She says she doesn't "enjoy visiting - most spinsters like their own homes better than other people's". I'm not a spinster, but I like my home better, too. Charlotte has always been a bit strange and she seems to have become stranger, birdwatching at night and having odd spells, when she stays in her room for days. The villagers think she's bizarre. But her young cousin, Phyllis, who is staying with her, is charming and lively.
Anyway, Miss Trumbull, after making all sorts of excuses, goes to Bassett's Bridge and gets wrapped up in a murder. A famous stained glass artist, Fredrick Ullathorne, works in the village. He's currently working on a window for a New York City cathedral. They all go to take a look. And then he disappears, and bones and a false tooth of his are found in the ashes of the kiln in his studio.
Miss Trumbull needs to know what happened, especially when suspicion falls on Charlotte and on Phyllis's fiance, Leo, the artist's son. She figures it out and is almost murdered herself. There's quite a twist at the end.
I liked Miss Trumbull and I liked the description of the life she and her friends led, going to plays and the opera and teas in the city. I believe there is one mystery that didn't get solved, but, on the whole, this is a satisfying and nice mystery.