Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: The Deadly Joker by Nicholas Blake

John Waterson and his wife Jenny move from Oxford to what they believe will be a peaceful and relaxing life in the village of Netherplash Cantorum.  Life there is not what they expected because of the actions of practical joker. First there is an annoying cuckoo in the night. Then writing on the wall of a room in their new home followed by poison pen letters to several residents of the village.  Several more unpleasant events occur and a murder results.

Some of the problems in the village arise from the bad feelings between Alwyn and Bertie Card who had been the owners of the large manor in the village. They had fallen on hard financial times and sold the manor to wealthy Ronald Paston  and his very beautiful Indian wife Vera.  Matters are not helped by Bertie who will chase any attractive woman in sight. John Waterson becomes quite upset when members of his own family are drawn into this unpleasant situation, and sets out to find the joker and the murderer.

This is a conventional British mystery written in 1959. Nicholas Blake is the pen name of Cecil Day-Lewis who was a poet laureate of England from 1968 to 1972.


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