It’s 1925, and the last day of school term at Oakton, a rather posh school for boys in England. Lord Edgington, the peer who became a detective for Scotland Yard and is now retired, is an alumnus. His son attended. And his grandsons, including 16-year-old Christopher Prentiss, the younger son of Lord Edgington’s daughter Violet and apparently the grandson upon whom the lord has set his eye.
In the middle of last-day festivities, the headmaster is called to the office. And it is Christopher who finds his body, bludgeoned with a decorative monkey’s head. The police are called in, but Lord Edgington himself takes an active interest in investigating the murder, assisted by Christopher, who’s usually finding himself bewildered by what’s going on. No matter, as the lord is training his grandson to be a detective.
It's a case full of suspects and motives – jealousy, petty crime, embezzlement, and lust all play a role. Everyone knows something, but no one wants to admit to anything. Two of the school employees who know more than they should are the Crabb sisters, whom Lord Edgington recognizes as having prosecuted for theft in the past. And the lord and Christopher discover the school is being used for far more than educating upper-class boys.
A Body at a Boarding School is the second of the Lord Edgington mysteries by British author Benedict Brown. It’s somewhat unusual in that the story takes place over the space of an afternoon. Like the other novels in the series, it’s something of a send-up of mysteries of the period, and it may be aimed at younger teen readers more than adults. But it’s still a fun read, with an effective use of the grandfather and grandson playing off each other.
In addition to the five published Lord Edgington stories, a sixth is scheduled for publication in the summer of 2022. Brown has also written seven Izzy Palmer mystery novels and three novellas. A native of south London, he lives with his family in Spain.
Murder at the Spring Ball by Benedict Brown.
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