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The Warrielaw Jewel Originally published in 1933, this is one of two mysteries written by Winifred Peck the other being, Arrest the Bishop as well as a number of other works I first came across Winifred Peck while reading, The Knox Brothers, by Penelope Fitzgerald, about her uncle s one of whom was Ronald Knox, a founder member of the Detection Club That family also had two sisters, of which Winifred was one and I was intrigued to read something by her.This mystery is set in 1909 when Betty marries John Originally published in 1933, this is one of two mysteries written by Winifred Peck the other being, Arrest the Bishop as well as a number of other works I first came across Winifred Peck while reading, The Knox Brothers, by Penelope Fitzgerald, about her uncle s one of whom was Ronald Knox, a founder member of the Detection Club That family also had two sisters, of which Winifred was one and I was intrigued to read something by her.This mystery is set in 1909 when Betty marries John Morrison, a partner in an Edinburgh law firm Through him, she meets the Warrilaw s a family at war over their large, old fashioned house, and an expensive jewel When one of the sisters is killed, Betty finds herself in the middle of the mystery and a witness who could hold the key to the answer of what happened I liked the characters in this book, with the artistic Neil, the elderly sisters, Jessica and Mary, forceful Rhoda, Cora and pretty Alison Betty s brother, Dennis, who falls heavily for Alison, is also involved in the investigation, along with Bob Stuart, a private investigator, called in by Betty s husband, John Although it is set before WWI, as though Betty is telling the story to her children, this is very much a Golden Age mystery where the author stops the story at one point exhorting the reader to work out whodunnit at that point As a fan of mysteries from this era, I am delighted so many, previously out of print, authors are getting a new lease of life I found this an interesting read and look forward to readingby this author Listen I see I d better take you into my confidenceI d rather you didn t, I said Betty Morrison, a lawyer s wife, is flung into the society of an ancient Edinburgh family, the Warrielaws There s Neil the Rip, Cora the Siren, Rhoda the Business Woman, and Alison the little Beauty not to mention the formidable, elderly Jessica and her meek sister Mary The family all possess unusual gold green eyes and harbour a precious and historic jewel, a bauble under constant threat of theft The alarmed Betty will become a crucial witness in a case that includes mysterious disappearances of gems and people, as well as wholesale murder The Warrielaw Jewel was originally published inThis new edition features an introduction by crime fiction historian Martin Edwards I didn t get very far before I decided this is just too awful to keep reading Maybe too awful isn t quite fair, but at least it just isn t good enough for me to struggle over. This is a well written, capable mystery from the Golden Age Published in the 1930s, it is set before World War I For me it lacked a certain spark, a quirkiness of character, a whimsy or Wimsey that raises a story to five stars But it had strong characters and plenty of complexity to baffle the reader, and the solution was not obvious.Narrated by the young wife of an Edinburgh lawyer, it focuses on a family represented by her husband the Warrielaws, a family who have developed mutual rese This is a well written, capable mystery from the Golden Age Published in the 1930s, it is set before World War I For me it lacked a certain spark, a quirkiness of character, a whimsy or Wimsey that raises a story to five stars But it had strong characters and plenty of complexity to baffle the reader, and the solution was not obvious.Narrated by the young wife of an Edinburgh lawyer, it focuses on a family represented by her husband the Warrielaws, a family who have developed mutual resentments over generations As usual in such situations, who will inherit and what they will inherit are the focus of conflict The Warrielaws are a pretty unpleasant bunch, so when a key member of the family goes missing, there is plenty of suspicion to go around There is an ancestral home and an heirloom jewel to quarrel over, as well as all the petty feuds that develop when people who think highly of their heritage live in too close proximity.For some readers, all the unpleasantness could be too much, and the non Warrielaw characters are not well developed enough to provide much relief In particular, I was a bit squeamish about one of the lower class characters in service to the family But the mystery itself is twisty and rife with confusing detail I enjoyed the book even if it didn t set me on fire A 3.5. I did like this book, as the plot was good and the characters were interesting, once I had sorted them out Set in the Edwardian era in Edinburgh, we encounter the feuds and ill feeling of the clans and families The family in question have a long history revolving around a jeweled pendant and it s worth The narrator being a solicitor s English wife, who I did find a little annoying I did feel that the book was dragged out longer than necessary, but it was unique insofar, as at one point the b I did like this book, as the plot was good and the characters were interesting, once I had sorted them out Set in the Edwardian era in Edinburgh, we encounter the feuds and ill feeling of the clans and families The family in question have a long history revolving around a jeweled pendant and it s worth The narrator being a solicitor s English wife, who I did find a little annoying I did feel that the book was dragged out longer than necessary, but it was unique insofar, as at one point the book tells you to stop reading and decide from the information you have read , what the outcome will be The Warrielaw Jewel is historical murder mystery set in Edwardian era Edinburgh, revolving around the bitterly conflict ridden Warrielaw family, a once wealthy clan whose remaining members are at odds over whether to sell a valuable family heirloom Narrator Betty Morrison, newlywed young wife of the Warrielaw family lawyer, becomes a rather unwilling witness to the struggle through her social obligations to her husband s clients, and later when the conflict culminates in murder, a witness in th The Warrielaw Jewel is historical murder mystery set in Edwardian era Edinburgh, revolving around the bitterly conflict ridden Warrielaw family, a once wealthy clan whose remaining members are at odds over whether to sell a valuable family heirloom Narrator Betty Morrison, newlywed young wife of the Warrielaw family lawyer, becomes a rather unwilling witness to the struggle through her social obligations to her husband s clients, and later when the conflict culminates in murder, a witness in the case and part of the murder investigation.The pros of the book are that as a historical novel, it s very good the setting, the characters and their behavior all seem to have the appropriate flavor of the times much better than you often see inrecent historical mysteries I also appreciated the fact that author didn t find it necessary to have her female narrator spend all her time chafing at conventions or defying societal expectations and yet, even as a respectable married woman who doesn t defy convention, Betty is able to take an active part in aiding the murder investigation without doing anything that feels out of character for the period The mystery itself is suitably absorbing too I did spot the vital clue when it happened, though there was plenty of who and how that I had to wait to see filled in.The cons Although Betty, her husband and young brother, who are all involved in the investigation, are very normal and likeable characters, the sheer unpleasantness of most of the Warrielaw family and the mood of bleakness evoked in scenes set at their ancestral home begins to weigh the whole thing down after a while, especially in the last few chapters Also, near the conclusion Betty makes a decision to withhold a certain piece of knowledge that s hard to sympathize with, given the havoc that has been wreaked by the guilty party Some of the strong sympathy expressed for one suspect left me a bit cold as well, given that the person wasn t introduced as a particularly likeable or praiseworthy character If you don t mind the gloomy atmosphere, though, it s quite a workmanlike historical whodunit Very pleasantly surprised Excellent plot, sympathetic narrator and a family of feuds, distrust and confusing inheritances. Winifred Peck is the sister of the famous Golden Age mystery writer Ronald Knox Ronald Knox is the creator of the famous Ten Commandments or Decalogue of mystery writing The Warrielaw Jewel was published in 1933 but it relates to a murder that happened in Edinburgh in 1909 so it is in a sense a historical mystery Like an Ellery Queen mystery, the author gave its readers an explicit challenge in this case at the end of chapter 12 that all clues have now been presented Stop and solve Winifred Peck is the sister of the famous Golden Age mystery writer Ronald Knox Ronald Knox is the creator of the famous Ten Commandments or Decalogue of mystery writing The Warrielaw Jewel was published in 1933 but it relates to a murder that happened in Edinburgh in 1909 so it is in a sense a historical mystery Like an Ellery Queen mystery, the author gave its readers an explicit challenge in this case at the end of chapter 12 that all clues have now been presented Stop and solve the mystery before continue reading In sense, that is true The clues are there already, even though they are pretty well hidden.The story is about a dysfunctional ancient Scottish family the Warrielaws who were very rich once but has been struggling to keep up in recent years The assets are tied up in entails and badly designed trusts so that relatives of different clans are at each others throats Jessica Warrielaw, the family matriarch who has control over the family jewel and all assets other than the house, routinely sells off expensive family heirlooms to finance one of the nephews Neil Logan s expensive lifestyle, to the dismay of the other relatives One day, Jessica disappeared while on her way to London to sell the family s crown jewel, called The Fairy Jewel Ultimately, her body was found, and a mystery ensured In the end, the case was solved just in time to save an innocent man from being found guilty The book is written from the perspective of a Mrs Betty Morrison, the young wife of a lawyer who is involved with the case While I like the plot a lot and the twist and turns, I found Peck s writing boring and extremely long winded She uses very long paragraphs and spends a lot of time on furnishing minute details on Victorian drawing rooms, social etiquette and ladies dresses, etc The first one third of the book was also very slow going A lot of pages were spent on outlining the history of each family member It does not read like a mystery until after Jessica disappeared, which at about one third into this relatively long book.The detective in this case, a retired policeman called Bob Stuart, is a pretty well crafted character However, I find the way he arrived at the solution, which isby chance than by detection or logic, dissatisfying Overall, if you read this book as a Victorian drawing room novel, it is an interesting read If you are looking for a good British Golden Age detective mystery, you might be disappointed 3 starI liked it and eve managed to get a bit sidetracked by some of the pieces But I comprehend some of the expectations of the time that may fall flat with modern readers.


About the Author: Winifred Peck

Lady Winifred Peck n e Knox , born 1882, was a member of a remarkable family Her father was Edmund Arbuthnott Knox, the fourth Bishop of Manchester, and her siblings were E V Knox, editor of Punch magazine, Ronald Knox, theologian and writer, Dilly Knox, cryptographer, Wilfred Lawrence Knox, clergyman, and Ethel Knox Peck s niece was the Booker Prize winning author Penelope Fitzgerald who wrote a biography of her father, E V Knox, and her uncles, entitled The Knox Brothers.She read Modern History at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford Her first book was a biography of Louis IX in 1909.In 1911 she married James Peck, a British civil servant, who was awarded a knighthood in 1938 They had three children.In 1919 she began her novel writing career which saw twenty five books over a period of forty years, including House Bound 1942 which was reprinted in 2007 by Persephone Books She also wrote two books about her own childhood, A Little Learning 1952 and Home for the Holidays 1955.


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