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Assassins at Ospreys is a country house murder mystery written by English author R.T. Raichev and features a murder mystery writer called Antonia. This is the third novel in the series but the first I'd actually read, the book takes a stab at taking the average murder mystery and turning it into something more cerebral and complicated.
Antonia is now a relatively famous murder mystery writer and at a book signing event she meets two rather sinister fans, the invalid called Goldilocks and her menacing nurse Ingrid. They claim to be Antonia's biggest fans and invite and her husband to visit them at the home, Antonia decides to take them up on the offer and the books mystery begins in earnest.
In truth the book, though Antonia is the main character she's not the character with the most page time. The author sprinkles his tale with a list of characters that all have grudges against the other and have hidden and dark secrets. The story as with all good murder mysteries has its roots back 30 years or more to a mysterious accident which left Goldilocks as an invalid and Ingrid as her nurse, there is a changed will and an elderly benefactor all are staple murder mystery characters and one will die.
The writing of this book is more stylised and suave; it has the sense of a piece of literature rather than a page turning murder mystery. The premise of having events unfolding out of sequence and without the classic, dead body set of suspects which is so endemic makes a refreshing change.
The book is a strange one in some ways because it makes you wait for the murder promised in the first few pages and the nature of the victim is a surprise as the author gives the reader plenty of scope for making the wrong conclusion. The novel has by its setting a slight feeling of being an Agatha Christie style novel, with the large house, plenty of suspects and in some ways a closed environment but the author takes the novel away from this classic format and gives it a menacing and brooding air. The knowledge that a murder is due to take place is used as a tool to make the reader wait and wait, increasing the tension and making the actual event all the more startling when it does occur.
This is an intriguing and challenging book, this challenge extends to the writing and in truth reading the book wasn't a smooth easy read but a more protracted and complex one. The reader is forced to concentrate on the words more than other novel's and events depicted are harder to interpret but the reader should persist because the book is more than just a murder mystery its more about human behaviour and avarice than any I've read for many years.
This is first class writing in a field usually devoid of such things; it touches on high literature and is more in the PD James end of murder mysteries than the Agatha Christie.