The Warrielaw Jewel by Winifred Peck
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The aristocratic Edinburgh family is famed for three things – a fabulous jewel that has been in the family’s possession for hundreds of years, their unusual blazing gold green eyes
…and being as crazy as loons.
Newly married & new to Edinburgh, Betty Morrison (a marvellous narrator) is reluctantly drawn into the Warrielaw world. And of course eventually there is a crime…
I loved this book. Published in 1933 this was a historical whodunnit about early 20th century Edinburgh. I loved learning the details of life that Betty dropped – like the pride in early car ownership & that prisoners on remand weren’t allowed to smoke. A large vivid caste of characters that Peck breathed life into so I didn’t have any trouble telling them apart.
There was one moment where I was on the edge of my seat – I can’t remember feeling so fearful for a fictional character in quite some time.
There is an unusual device at 72% (for me)employed in this book. I have never come across this before, but I really liked it. It helped focus my reading.
You may be wondering, with all this praise why this book wasn’t 5★.
While this book was a great detective novel debut, it did have a few flaws. One person is portrayed far more sympathetically in the latter part of the book – can’t be put down to the narrator getting to know him better or a plot twist. It felt more like Peck had changed her mind, but couldn’t be bothered rewriting.
& like many Golden Age mysteries, a far too long exposition at the end.
Tip; I think skimming this exposition would be fine.
But I think it is a real shame that Lady Peck only wrote one further detective story
and that was around a decade later. I hope to get to this one before the end of the year.