This is the 25th in my series of Friday Forgotten Books
by Patricia Moyes
Henry Holt & Co. 1963 paperback
Fourth Inspector Henry Tibbett
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.
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