Friday’s Forgotten Book: The Lying Voices by Elizabeth Ferrars (1954)

“I’d hoped you wouldn’t have changed. I’d hoped we’d be able to pick up the past just as it was. That’s what we’ve always been able to do before. That’s to say – well, I don’t know. But I don’t seem to have the energy for new things now.”

Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC. Collins The Crime Club (UK), 1954

Justin Emery, back in England after spending six years in Australia, tries to renew his acquaintance with friends he has lost sight of but finds out that they have moved on in life or are otherwise preoccupied. Finally, Grace DeLong, widow of his friend Dick DeLong invites him to her home in the country. She had left London during the war and never returned. However, when Justin finally meets Grace, he finds her involved with her new friends: the artist Arnold Thaine and his wife Hester – rushing repeatedly to their home. When Arnold’s dead body is discovered the next day – in a room full of ticking clocks none of which shows the right time – Justin stays on to give support to Grace and becomes involved with the affairs of the small community. [It is a little mind-boggling though how people suddenly start revealing their innermost thoughts to a stranger or asking him to do certain things] He also turns amateur detective as suspicion begins to fall on Grace. But can Grace really be trusted?

There are certain books that pull you right in from the first passage itself. This book is an example of one such. The soft, rather melancholic opening of the book along with a host of rich characters and their complex relationships as well as a well-hidden murderer made quite an impression. Before this, I had read three mysteries by Elizabeth Ferrars (pseudonym of Scottish author Morna Doris MacTaggart Brown) and found her just okay: nothing special or memorable. However, this book – which critic and blogger Curtis Evans calls an example of ‘Country Cottage Mysteries‘- has changed my opinion of her. Now I am keen to explore more of her works. Have you read Ferrars? Any book that you’d like to recommend?

*

First Line: From early in the morning until late in the evening of the day on which Arnold Thaine was murdered, the rain fell.

Publication Details: 1954. London: Collins (The Crime Club), 1954.

Pages: 192

Other Opinions: Aerchie’s Archive; My Book Notes; The Passing Tramp

Other books read of the same author: In at the Kill, Murder among Friends

12 thoughts on “Friday’s Forgotten Book: The Lying Voices by Elizabeth Ferrars (1954)

  1. This does sound like the sort of book that draws the reader in, Neeru. I like the idea of the (possibly) unreliable character, too, and it sounds like a credible reason for an amateur sleuth to start poking around. I have read Ferrars’ work before (most especially Something Wicked, which features retired botany professor Andrew Basnett). I like her balance between a good, solid compelling story and avoiding gratuitous violence, etc.. It’s just my own opinion, so take it for what it is, but I like Ferrars’ writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ferrars is another new to me author, but your review of this book makes me want to try her out soon. Country settings are always a favourite of mine in mysteries, and here we have the added complexity of not knowing if the person the ‘detective’ is there to help isn’t above suspicion

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have read three books by Ferrars, and liked them all. I have a couple of others on my TBR. She wrote a lot of books starting in 1940 and into the 1990s. One I read was from the 1940s, the others were later in her career.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve enjoyed Ferrars’ books featuring divorced couple Felix and Virginia Freer, as well as the Andrew Basnett books. Your mileage may vary of course. She was very prolific so there are a lo of books o choose from!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome to the blog, Marty. I had heard of Andrew Basnett but never of this divorced couple. I really must look them up. It’d be fun to read their interaction as they solve the mystery. Thanks,

      Like

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