Murder à la Mode

This is the 25th in my series of Friday Forgotten Books

by Patricia Moyes
Henry Holt & Co.   1963 paperback
Fourth Inspector Henry Tibbett
traditional mystery

It is into the world of fashion that Moyes plunges us in the fourth Inspector Henry Tibbett mysteries.

It is 1963 and the staff of Style magazine is working feverishly to put the Paris Spring Fashions issue to bed. Many of the top staffers are working very late and one of them, due to a drink of cyanide, never leaves the office at all. The case is Tibbett’s, and it is distasteful to him because he knows little of the fashion world, finds the staff of Style difficult and finds the situation unhappily complicated by the fact that his niece Veronica is working on several photo shoots for the magazine. It’s her big break and he can’t very well tell her to clear out, but he clearly wishes he could.

As usual in this type of story, very little is what it first appears to be, but all of the clues are there amongst the red herrings for the reader to find and reach the solution before or along with Inspector Tibbett. Near the end of the story he resorts to trickery to force the culprit into the open. This might have bothered me if this had been written in the current decade, but knowing that authors had more freedom to make up their stories and tell them forty-seven years ago than they do today, I just relaxed and enjoyed it, as I’ve enjoyed every one of Patricia Moyes’ books I’ve read, and I’ve read just about all of them.

Since the lead character is a Scotland Yard Inspector, you might wonder why I have not identified this book as a police procedural. While it is true that Inspector Tibbett has available to him and does utilize the resources of Scotland Yard, Moyes presents the reader with a crime (or crimes) and has Inspector Tibbett realize a solution. In many of the books – though not this one – he receives as much aid and support from his wife Emmy as from The Yard. These books are gentle police procedurals in that the violence takes place off stage for the most part. While life, and death, is respected, it is always the living who are the focus of events; character and the puzzle the primary elements of each story. Moyes books, particularly the first half dozen, clearly show their golden age influences. Thus I choose to label them traditional mysteries.

About a decade ago, these books were all in print in paperback. Some may still be, otherwise it should not be too difficult to find them at the usual used book sources.

~  ~  ~  ~

Series organizer Patti Abbott hosts more FFB reviews at her own blog,
and a complete list of today’s participating blogs.

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Friday Forgotten Book, mystery, Review and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Murder à la Mode

  1. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I can’t remember if I’ve said this before, but I’ve never read a Moyes novel. I have read – and enjoyed – her short stories as published by Crippen & Landru (Who Killed Father Christmas?).

  2. Bill Crider says:

    I seem to remember reading a couple of these in those Pyramid Green Door editions. But maybe not. Anyway, a good choice.

  3. William says:

    Unfamiliar with author and title, but I really liked the cover design with the second revealing page. Would have handled the header logo differently. Still, this is a cover that would encourage me to pick up the book and browse.

  4. I don’t believe I’ve read her, either. May have to start if I can find a spot to insert one in my TBR pile.

  5. Richard says:

    Patricia Moyes is one of, if not the, favorite traditional mystery writer on my shelves. There’s just something about the books I really like. She does a good job with character and setting, and the plots are always at least adequate. Not a lot of surprises, but quite enjoyable books.

  6. Soames says:

    Randy, give one a try. These are pretty quick reads, at least for me, and you can start anywhere in the series. Some of my other favorites are DEAD MEN DON’T SKI, NIGHT FERRY TO DEATH and THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR OF THE THIRD DOG.

  7. Carl V. says:

    One of the many things I enjoy about the blogging world is that I learn about books like this, in a category that I am interested in and yet woefully ignorant of many of the authors/books in the genre. I have not heard of this author or the character, but this sounds like something both my wife and I would enjoy.

  8. Patti Abbott says:

    Loved Patricia Moyes. All of them.

  9. Richard says:

    As might say on one of the continents, we are seeing eye to eye on this. Any big time Moyes fan is a friend of mine!

  10. I have several Moyes mysteries. If you and Patti like them, I’ll have to read one soon.

  11. Richard says:

    I’ve been preaching their virtues in the apa since I joined, George. It’s high time you tried one, maybe you’ll like it.

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