The drain situation seems no nearer to being resolved and I'm finding it increasingly stressful. I really, really, want to be able to use my kitchen again properly, and really, really, don't want to be worrying about what I'll find every time I come home.
Under these circumstances it's increasingly easy to imagine how someone might be driven to committing a murder...
'Smallbone Deceased' is the second of the British Library crime classic Gilbert re issues I've read, it has absolutely confirmed my enthusiasm for him, and I am very happy to know that they're looking at more of his books. The biggest mystery here is how he managed to fall out of favour.
Horniman, Birley, and Craine is a legal firm that's both respectable and fashionable (in that it has an extensive aristocratic client list in an era when the aristocracy seemed to have occupied the same sort of celebrity position as today's reality t.v stars). The firms founding member (Horniman) has recently died and Henry Bohun has just been bought into the company.
When a large deed box is opened to reveal the remains of an unpopular client in a state of advanced decomposition it's a nasty surprise all round, especially as it pretty much has to be an inside job. Henry Bohun is the only member of the firm who looks to be off the hook as the body has clearly been there longer than he has. He's also a friend of a friend of inspector Hazelrigg who sets him to snoop around a bit.
One of the things I really enjoy about Gilbert is that he clearly knows the world he's describing. The petty office politics and procedures ground the plot in an unassailable atmosphere of reality. This makes the discovery of the body both easier to swallow, and more ridiculous. Gilbert's sense of humour is another thing I really enjoy. Both together mean a book that you might want to read over and again, never minding that you know who, how, and why, the crimes have been committed.
I've been saving the third Gilbert (Death in Captivity, loosely based on his War time experiences) as a treat, I think I might start it tonight to stop me brooding about the drain situation.