Murder in the Mill-Race is apparently E. C. R. Lorac’s 36th Chief Inspector Macdonald mystery, which means I have pleasure in store if only I can find others. I reported recently that I’d gotten up the nerve to request books from several publishing companies, and Poisoned Pen Press immediately sent me four books from their British Library Crime Classics. This was one of them.
When Anne Ferens, the new doctor’s wife, first meets “Sister” Monica, the warden of the children’s home in Milham in the Moor, she is taken aback by the dichotomy between the Sister’s reputation as a saint and her freakish appearance. What’s worse, Anne fears that the children are being terrorized by her. She soon learns the woman has a poison tongue, starting rumors by denying her belief in the scandal she’s trying to suggest.
Then Sister Monica’s body is found in the mill-race. The village is quick to assume the death was an accident. But Sergeant Peel is still bothered by the death a year before of Nancy Bilton, a resident of the home who was found dead in the same place. Peel finds the village just as closed as it was before. No one knows or saw anything. So, the authorities call in Chief Inspector Macdonald and Inspector Reeves. They soon ascertain that the death was no accident.
I enjoyed this mystery very much. It pays more attention to character than many of the books in this series, and the characters are believable. The mystery is not one of the over-complicated ones of the period. I guessed the identity of the killer but did not guess the motive except in general. The Ferens are a charming couple, and I liked the two detectives. This novel is a good choice for this series.
I received this book from the publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review.