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The Little Victim - R. T. Raichev

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Genre: Crime / Thriller / Author: R. T. Raichev / Hardcover / 224 Pages / Book is published 2009-04-23 by Constable Crime

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      03.10.2012 16:49
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      Brilliant murder mystery

      The little victim is a crime story written by RT Raichev involving Antonia Darcy and Major Hugh Payne, the story is as with all RT Raichev books part crime mystery and gentle sarcasm of the whole author finds a murder and solves the crime. As with all the other books in the Antonia series there are clues that the reader can follow and with a little leap of faith solve the crime, though in this case I didn't and the crime had a nice twist at the end.

      Antonia Darcy is a semi famous crime writer who has had considerable success as a writer; she also stumbles across murders and has an ability to solve despite doing very little in the way of investigating the crime. Using her husband Major Payne as a sounding board she proceeds to separate the crime from the superfluous detail and come to a rationale reason for all the events. The reader is transported to a kind stylised comfortable upper class environment where no one works always has loads of money and the time to go about perpetrating horrid crimes. Antonia looks on dispassionately embracing the comfort but also aloof from the snobbery and sheer avarice which wealth seems to create, she manages to engage the reader and the reader is fully on her side.

      This book takes place in Goa, and has the feel of a murder done by those who would be encountered in a Passage to India where everyone is far too polite but there are dark forces at work. Antonia is informed by a hard at luck British ex-pat that he saw a murder, he gives the address and when the murder happened. However, the Brit is soon found murdered and the murder he observed appears to be fictional so Antonia has one real murder and a supposed murder to investigate.

      This book reminds me strongly of a Dorothy L Sayers style murder mystery, however, that is deliberate but there are undercurrents and subtle interplay which give voice to the absurdity of the whole author pitched into a crime style story. Antonia often remarks on the silliness of being an expert on murder just because she writes about it, and her conversations with Hugh point gentle fun at the whole genre. Here we have a well-constructed murder mystery, set in a strange land with strange laws we observe the rich English at play abroad and wonder how they managed to control an empire. The stars are as always Antonia and Hugh; they cut a delightful swathe through the plummy voices and ridiculous attitudes of the wealthy Brit. There is plenty of intricate word play, some action and a wonderful section where Hugh drinks one too many cocktails and suffers the consequences. This was as always with RT Raichev's novels, a joy and sadness that the books are only 240 pages I'd love to spend more time with Antonia and Hugh. My favourite line is when she's told that Evil under the sun would be a good title for a book only to inform that that title had been already taken.

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