I recently finished The Treasure at Poldarrow Point by Clara Benson, the third book in the Angela Marchmont mystery series. I enjoyed the first two books because each was very different and the mysteries were fairly well done. I didn’t enjoy this one as much, though.
The premise here was interesting and refreshingly (for the cozy mystery genre) not about a murder. Angela is renting a seaside house for a time to help with her health after a spell of being sick for a while. She meets the neighbors, who are close to being evicted and are frantically searching for a necklace that family lore says was smuggled to the house and hidden there. Being a “famous detective” she is roped into helping search for the necklace and, of course, eventually unravels what is going on.
I found Angela herself among the most exasperating elements of this book. While I liked her in the previous two, her reluctance to be a detective and yet apparent inability to stay out of other people’s mysteries is wearing a little thin at this point. It made sense in the first two, but here it’s sort of becoming “she doth protest too much”.
My biggest frustration with the book, however, was that it felt long and slow. For long stretches of time basically nothing happened. Nothing meaningful was learned or even teased. When things all did come together, it happened rapidly and most of it was already so glaringly obvious that it was irritating that it was news to the characters in the book. I felt like the author was having so much fun playing with her characters, that she sort of lost control of the pace.
The characters were a high point here, though. The intriguing cast of characters that Angela and her niece met in the seaside town were amusing and interesting. Many were too obvious or unbelievable caricatures, but they were at least entertaining. I often wished the book would spend more time on them and Angela’s fascinating maid than on Angela and Barbara, her niece.
I think this will be my last foray into Angela’s adventures, since it simply did not intrigue me enough to keep me coming back. The mystery itself was interesting, but drawn out too long and eventually far too obvious for the revel to be remotely impressive. Still, Clara Benson is a good writer and I would consider giving other books by her a chance in the future!