I'm also a big fan of country house mysteries; it's the combination of closed communities, a suggestion of money, or money lost, the possibilities of places to hide, and old secrets that make them so irresistible to me. Which means it'll be no surprise when I say how much I've been looking forward to 'The Murder at the Manor' collection from the British Library crime classics series (with Martin Edwards as editor).
I wasn't disappointed. As is now traditional the collection opens with a Conan Doyle offering (The Copper Beeches, very satisfying) and maintains the high standard from there on in. I particularly enjoyed E. W. Hornung's 'Gentleman and Players' - Raffles, the amateur cracksman is best met like this, a little of him goes a long way, or at least that's how I felt last time I tried reading through a whole book of him.
W. W. Jacobs' 'The Well' was almost a ghost story and successfully gave me the creeps, as did the atmosphere of Ernest Bramah's 'The Secret of Dunstan's Tower', and for that matter Ethel Lina White's 'An Unlocked Window' really ratchets up the tension.... I could go on and list the entire contents, but it's quicker to say I enjoyed them all for different reasons, finding it yo be a thoroughly satisfactory collection.
There could be quibbles (it would be interesting to have the original publication dates for each story for example) but for me this is a near perfect collection. There's a good mix of style and atmosphere, short stories for brief bus journeys, and others which are almost novella length that saw me comfortably through a lunch hour, and a few inbetween which made satisfying bedtime reading without the danger of still thinking 'just one more page' at 3am on a work night. The cover is rather nice too!