A Shilling for Candles by Josephine Tey: B-

From the back cover:
On a clear, sunny morning on the southern coast of England, the screaming gulls announce the location of a ghastly deed. The body of famous screen actress Christine Clay is found lying limp on the beach. Was it an accidental death, or murder? For Scotland Yard’s Inspector Grant, the case becomes a nightmare of too many clues and too many motives, as the world is full of people who wanted the movie star dead.

This really isn’t a big improvement over the last one. Coincidence still trumps actual investigation as a method for discovering facts. An example is the plucky girl who, convinced of someone’s innocence, goes off in search of an overcoat that will prove it. And just so happens to run into a lorry driver (at the first place she stops to inquire) who gave a lift to an itinerant china mender who’s well-known for nicking overcoats and boots. And whaddaya know, he leads her to the coat.

Two more holdovers from the first novel are the foreigner bashing (though less prevalent this time) and the idea of an actress so radiant that she outshines her leading men. The mystery itself is okay, I guess, though nothing really great. A couple of new characters are fun, though. I wouldn’t mind seeing Erica (the aforementioned plucky girl) again and crime reporter “Jammy” Hopkins is also a fairly interesting addition.

Another of Tey’s Inspector Grant mysteries, The Daughter of Time, has been much praised, but right now I’m having a little difficulty reconciling these first two books with something of such (alleged) calibre.

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