Miss Christie Regrets follows Death in Profile in the Hampstead Murder series.
The second in the Hampstead Murders series opens with a sudden death at an iconic local venue, which some of the team believe may be a connected with an unsolved murder featuring Cold War betrayals worthy of George Smiley. It soon emerges that none other than Agatha Christie herself may be the key witness who is able to provide the missing link. As with its predecessor, the book develops the lives and loves of the team at ‘Hampstead Nick’. While the next phase of a complicated love triangle plays itself out, the protagonists, struggling to crack not one but two apparently insoluble murders, face issues of national security in working alongside Special Branch. Yet, as the ending hints, has the full story really been told? On one level a classic whodunit, this quirky and intelligent read harks back not only to the world of Agatha Christie, but also to the Cold War thrillers of John Le Carre, making it a worthy successor to Death in Profile which was dubbed ‘a love letter to the detective novel’.
Miss Christie Regrets picks up almost exactly where Death in Profile finished so, while this book can be enjoyed as a standalone, it’s recommended you read this series in order. This book (and series) makes for relaxing Sunday reading, it’s not hard-boiled or gritty but instead a light-hearted mystery book that pays homage to the Golden Age of ‘whodunits’.
When two bodies are found in two buildings in Hampstead decades apart, the old team, Simon Collison, Bob Metcalfe and Karen Willis, are reassembled to crack this case, and Agatha Christie may just be the missing link; read in one-sitting, this police procedural really does remind you of the “old-school” and if you long for the days past of an earlier generation of crime fiction, I highly recommend this book; the language and the way the story is told is very fitting to the Golden Age.
Interestingly, when I read book one, I questioned the love triangle and if it would play a role in book two and to my delight it did! Thus, answering my question of its purpose in book one; however, this love triangle is not accompanied by the outrage, you’d usually find in this type of situation, in fact it provides a rather entertaining suggestion to this predicament by one of the persons involved. However, two of the parties involved were a little too calm for my liking, but it did allow me to come to the realisation that I don’t like the character of Karen – the only female party in this love affair, and I believe this love triangle was never meant to be a deep and emotional one, but instead add an element of light-hearted amusement, which it did.
Overall, a quick and easy read, with quirky interactions between characters. For me personally, there’s no major plot twists, or shocking moments, this is a simply a quick and enjoyable read, one that doesn’t require you to think too deeply or put you on edge. If you’re familiar with famous detectives and authors of the past, it’ll enhance your read as there are quite a lot of references made to the past. If you’re a fan of Golden Age traditional crime fiction or looking for a change of pace from the grit and gore of today’s crime reads, I recommend you give this series a go.