Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Corridors of Death: Ruth Dudley Edwards


The Robert Amiss series consists of twelve books published between 1982 and 2012. In this first novel in the series, Amiss is a civil servant, working under departmental head Sir Nicholas Clark. His boss is murdered and there are many suspects.


From the author's website:
Battered to death with a piece of abstract sculpture titled 'Reconciliation,' Whitehall departmental head Sir Nicholas Clark is claimed by his colleagues to have been a fine and respected public servant cut off in his prime. Bewildered by the labyrinthine bureaucracy of Whitehall, Scotland Yard's Superintendent Jim Milton recognizes a potential ally in Clark's young Private Secretary, Robert Amiss. 
Milton soon learns from Amiss how Whitehall works: that it can be Machiavellian and potentially homicidal, that Sir Nicholas was obnoxious and widely loathed, that he had spent the weeks before his murder upsetting and antagonizing family and associates, and that his last morning on earth had been spent gleefully observing the success of his plan to embarrass his minister and his department publicly. And they still need to discover who wielded the blunt instrument.
Even with the explanations Amiss gives of the complex relationships within the British Civil Service and goverment, I was hopeless confused. Fortunately, that did not matter much and the resulting story is very entertaining. Many of the characters were not terribly likable but were interesting. The protagonist and the policeman he works with are both good characters (and sympathetic). Amiss wants to solve the puzzle (and keep his job) and fortunately has an alibi for the time when the crime was committed. The policeman is committed to his job, a really nice guy, and has a happy home life.

I found this book fun, full of subtle humor. The ending was a surprise, and I always like that. Of course, I want to read more of the series, and have already ordered #2 in the series, The Saint Valentine's Day Murders.

Other resources:

  • Ruth Dudley Edwards gives an overview of the Robert Amiss series at Mystery Fanfare. Later on in the series, Baroness "Jack" Troutbeck becomes a regular character in the stories.


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Publisher:   St. Martin's Press, 1982 
Length:      186 pages
Format:      Hardcover
Series:       Robert Amiss, #1
Setting:      UK
Genre:       Mystery
Source:      I purchased my copy.


14 comments:

  1. Thanks for the kind link, Tracy. I'm really glad you enjoyed this novel. I liked the wit in it very much, myself, and I thought the background information on the politics involved was really interesting, too.

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    1. Another book that has been on the shelves for many years, Margot. I am glad I finally read it.

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  2. Not a series I'm familiar with. But then there are so many. Thanks for the tip.

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    1. Happy new year to you, too, Rick. There are so many series. I like series written in the 1980s and 90s before so much emphasis on technology.

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  3. I have read some books by Ruth Dudley Edwards, but not this one. It sounds worth trying...

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    1. My plan ... at this moment... is to read the first few in order, then maybe skip around, because I have 3 or 4 of the later ones.

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  4. New name for me, Tracy, but I like the concept, and the humor angle for me is a big selling point. I shall give him a look.

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    1. I thought you would like the humor, Mathew. It is more about the people and the interactions than the mystery, and that is fine with me.

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    2. We have similar tastes, Tracy.

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  5. Probably not one with any massive appeal for me. Glad you enjoyed it though.

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    1. I am glad I enjoyed it also, Col, because it had been sitting on my shelves for years taunting me, and I have a few of the later books.

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  6. I loved the concept of the writing.Though it was a new name for me. But the information in the novel was very interesting for me.

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  7. One of the most complicated novel, but good to heard that you enjoyed it.

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