Miss Christie Regrets is the second book in the Hampstead Murders mystery series by Guy Fraser-Sampson. Set in the bucolic, but somewhat murdery, village of Hampstead the story is a fine meshing of a bygone detective era and the modern police procedural.
In Miss Christie Regrets, Detective Simon Collison is promoted to Superintendent and finds himself in the thick of not one, but two tricky murders. Throw in some thoroughly uncooperative suspects, colleagues waiting for you to fail, a classic red herring and an investigation that stretches back to the 1930’s and you get a typical day-in-the-life of Collison.
What I enjoyed most about this mystery is that Fraser-Sampson cleverly uses some real life people, historical incidents and buildings to flavor his mystery with realism and additional depth. This is a real bonus for me because I love to read about historical places in fiction. The first thing I do is look up what the places actually look like now, what happened there and what changes have occurred over the years. In fact, I almost ruined part of the mystery by doing too much research.
If I was worried about one thing before reading this story it was how Agatha Christie would be incorporated into the mystery. Thankfully, the situation created around her is realistic and she was easily worked into the plot without it becoming a highly improbably distraction. Not an easy thing to do!
Overall, I found Miss Christie Regrets to be a solid entry into the world of detective fiction. The trickiest part is trying to categorize it. Because it reads like a lighter police procedural and an edgy cozy mystery, I put it somewhere close to Midsomer Murders and Caroline Graham. You get the delights of rich dysfunctional families, police politics, SOCO and trips to historical archives all rolled into one.
- While Miss Christie Regrets can certainly be read as a standalone mystery, the complexity of some the relationships is better understood if you read Death in Profile first.
- Without giving too much away I will say an aspect of this mystery reminded me a little of The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie.
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I received a free digital copy of this book from Urbane Publications for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
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