Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Season of Snows and Sins: Patricia Moyes

Patricia Moyes wrote a series of 19 mystery novels about Henry Tibbett, Scotland Yard Inspector, whose wife Emmy usually gets involved with an investigation in some way. I have always considered these to be police procedurals, considering that Tibbett is a policeman, but there is often very little police procedure involved. Her books are puzzle mysteries, and are usually fairly clued, but Tibbett does depend on intuition to get him headed in the right direction.

Even though this is a short book, only 217 pages, the plot covers a lot of ground. The story has several narrators, starting with Jane Weston, who has moved to a small chalet in the Swiss Alps. She is a sculptor and befriends a young woman who models for her. Her young friend, Anne-Marie, marries a local ski instructor, Robert Drivaz, and Jane helps them find a place to live. She invites Emmy and Henry Tibbett to visit at Christmas, since she knows how they love to ski.

Months later, Robert gets involved with a group of visitors who are either rich or famous and becomes infatuated with a film actress. He is murdered and everyone, including Jane, think that Anne-Marie killed her husband because she was jealous. In fact, it is Jane's evidence that convicts Anne-Marie of the crime. Emmy and Henry return for another vacation visit in September, and Henry begins to think that the conviction was a mistake.

This is a very simplified version of the setup for this book and it really tells more than I like to reveal about a book, but I could not come up with anything better that conveyed the story at all. Every summary of this book that I find uses the description that is on the back of my paperback edition, and it is full of errors.

I picked this book to read at this time because of its connection to the Christmas season, which is slim. As a confirmed fan of Henry and Emmy Tibbett, I found this to be an enjoyable read, but I would hesitate to recommend it to first time readers of the Henry Tibbett series. Henry and Emmy are less involved in this one and I would not consider it representative of the series. However, the structure of the plots varies from book to book in this series, and I consider this a plus.

For me, the best aspect of this book is the shift from one narrator to another throughout the story, from Jane Weston, to Emmy, to the rich wife of a government official, and back to Emmy. On the negative side, the characters seemed to be either very, very nice or very sleazy and self-centered. And the plot was overly complex and a bit slow.

The books in the Henry Tibbett series are often set in exotic and interesting locales. This one and the first in the series, Dead Men Don't Ski, are set in the Alps, and feature skiing. Others are set in Holland and the Caribbean.

Recent reviews of other novels by Patricia Moyes:


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Publisher:  Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1983. Orig. pub. 1971.
Length:     217 pages
Format:     Paperback
Series:      Henry Tibbett, #10
Setting:     Alpine village
Genre:      Mystery
Source:    Purchased at the Planned Parenthood book sale, 2014.


18 comments:

  1. Tracy, I don't think I'll be adding this one to the pile, or probably anything else by her. Glad you enjoyed it (mostly).

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    1. If I ever find one I think you will enjoy, Col, I will point it out. I guess her books are too tame for you...

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  2. Thanks for the shoutout Tracy. I'm certainly enjoying my leisurely reading of Patricia Moyes - partly because I am not trying to read them in order, or be completist, I just pick one up when I fancy it, or someone gives a strong reco. This one does sound interesting - in general I slightly prefer her UK-based ones, but I could be tempted.

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    1. I am enjoying rereading books by Moyes, Moira. I haven't read enough of them recently to rank them yet, but I look forward to more of them. These would definitely fit into comfort reads for me. And fortunately, I can't remember much about them... so they feel new.

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  3. As you know, I like Moyes' work very much, Tracy. Like you, I prefer the ones where Henry and Emmy Tibbett play a more central role in the story. Still, I do like the way Moyes tells a story...

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    1. Yes, Margot, normally I would not care for story lines where the wife of a policeman gets involved but somehow Moyes writes so that I find it believable.

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  4. On your say so I just got a copy of DEAD MEN DON'T SKI and am greatly looking forward to it. Thanks Tracy.

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    1. Oh, my, I hope you like it Sergio. I need to reread that one soon. I do remember liking it a lot when I first read it.

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  5. As previously commented, Moyes is a favorite. I liked this more for the setting than the story, but any Moyes is enjoyable and entertaining.

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    1. I agree, Richard. I read the last book in the series several years back and I was disappointed in it. But I still have it and will re-read it too eventually, and maybe like it better then. Everyone of her mystery novels has something I like.

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  6. I've read several Patricia Moyes books, Tracy, but not this one. So I'm making sure to add it to my Moyes wanna read list. I'm not fond of the character of Emmy, but I like Henry Tibbet a lot. My favorite Moyes books so far (though I liked most of what I've read) are DEAD MEN DON'T SKI and MURDER FANTASTICAL which is hilarious.

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    1. I hope you like this Moyes book, Yvette. I am putting the two you liked at the top of my re-read list.

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  7. Reading your reviews and others here on Patti's FFB has gotten me over my aversion to cozies--a prejudice I can't really explain except mayby, like the Col., I thought they'd be too tame. What I'm learning is that being tame doesn't necessarily make them uninteresting. Plus, I sometime feel I'm getting to old to identify with the young whippersnappers and their fast-pace physicalities. Harumph. I just might give Ms. Moyes a looksee.

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    1. The Moyes books are not too long, thus are worth a try, Mathew. There are many different types of cozies, and I have found it depends on the author's style as to whether I like the books or not. I tend to avoid newer ones but even then I will try them occasionally if I read a convincing recommendation.

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  8. Moyes is one of my favorites. Need to revisit her soon.

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    1. Patti, I especially like that Moyes was writing mostly when computers were not so prominent, from late 1950s to early 1990s.

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  9. Thanks for the review, Tracy. I will look for some other book in the Henry and Emmy Tibbett series.

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    1. I do hope you try a book by Moyes, Prashant, and that you find it enjoyable.

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