It's a dangerous place....

Frequent Bookhounders may remember some of my earlier death in Cambridge posts: See Cambridge and die and More Death in Cambridge. Well, now I've found another delightful one, Jill Paton Walsh's Imogen Quy murder mystery The bad quarto. It's a wonderful read, it held me absolutely entranced, not least because Paton Walsh is a local, and so grafted her own version of Cambridge cunningly onto the city.

Imogen Quy, the college nurse of St. Agatha's college (for Cambridgeites the castle mound is the Master's Garden!), is unfortunately on the scene when a College Fellow leaps to his death, apparently a victim of the passion to night climb in Cambridge. (This apparently really happens. For some truly terrifying pictures see Night climbers of Cambridge). Completely unrelated to this, apparently, is the ambition of inept actor Martin Mottle to play Hamlet in a performance by the student Kyd Players. Short of cash, and desperate to save the society the Players take Mottle up on his offer to fund a performance using the little used (and short) "bad quarto". But why exactly is Mottle so desperate to play the anguished Dane?

This was a smashing read. Cleverly constructed, brilliant sense of place, great characters, clever opportunistic crime, and good solid backstory that pulled everything together. One of the most enjoyable crime novels I've read in a while, and a worthy addition to my Death in Cambridge collection. Read it and enjoy.


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