So I reminded myself of which ones I'd already read and bought this one. And you know what? I think I'm just going to buy myself the complete works of, in bits and pieces maybe but nonetheless. Cyril Hare is worth it.
One thing holding me back is that I don't fancy the covers much in these editions, and I am paying full price for them after all. Or what passes for full price on Amazon, I know, I know.
This one is about a small-town orchestra that happens to be fortunate enough to have a very skilled director of music to head it. Being almost blind he can't work professionally any more, but he can certainly lead this orchestra to hold a concert or two yearly and make it excellent. To do so, he hires in the extra musicians he might need from the side of the pros (because he will not settle for a half-arsed amateur), and they also hire the odd star to pull in the crowds. Unwillingly our hero, former barrister Francis Pettigrew, has been roped in to be the treasurer - a task he can't refuse since his wife plays the violin for it and he wouldn't want to seem unsupportive. Well, this concert the star performer is found murdered before her act, and of course Pettigrew can't help but detect. It's full of historical detail about rationings after the war and with such lovely little portraits of people - I really like it. I quote:
"My dear miss Carless!" Mrs. Basset planted herself firmly between them and took control of the situation. "This is delightful! We are all so looking forward to the Mendelssohn tomorrow. Good evening, Mr. Pettigrew. And Mrs. Pettigrew" [ ... ] "how well you are looking, dear! I had quite forgotten what a charming colour that dress was! It suits you so well!"
Before Eleanor had had time to recover from this body-blow Mrs. Basset had swept on, carrying with her Miss Carless and the rest of her attendants.