Sweet Miss Seeton is based on a character created by Heron Carvic (1913 – 1980) and is written by Sarah J. Mason under the pseudonym Hamilton Crane. It is a satire of busybody women in small English villages who always end up in the middle of a murder investigation and without whom the police would never solve the crime. This book is #20 in the Miss Seeton series.
Miss Seeton is a retired art teacher who still uses her sketchpad, often in a manner that assists the police. She resides in the tiny village of Plummergen in a small but welcoming cottage inherited from her late cousin Flora. The main characters consist of a police superintendent — Brinton, a detective constable — Foxon, and an overly-dramatic, eccentric sculptor (now working mainly in chocolate) named Antony Scarlett. The cast is rounded out by a Scotland Yard superintendent named Delphick (known as Oracle) and an assortment of gossiping locals.
Miss Seeton is drawn to a London gallery exhibition of the work of Scarlett and is horrified when he later turns up at her cottage badgering her to sell it to her so he can mould it from the inside out in chocolate and then demolish it as his entry in the Stuttaford Foundation art contest while Superintendent Brinton is made aware by his young bank manager of a serious decline in resources among the elderly of Plummergen and the surrounding villages. Several senior citizens have starved to death while others have been forced out of their homes. When one death has been confirmed as a suicide, Brinton and Foxon are able to begin an investigation, gently insinuating Miss Ess (as they call Miss Seeton) into the home of a skin and bones senior who has fallen in The Street and broken her leg in order to try to find out what has caused her decline.
When the beautiful former model of Mr. Scarlett shows up in Plummergen and is befriended by Miss Ess, she begins to recognize her own talent and regain her confidence after being so poorly treated by Scarlett. She spends much time sketching in the vicinity of the village and even acquires a serious beau. The whole village is shocked and confused when she is discovered strangled early one morning.
I found the beginning of this story rather dark and dreary — hard to get into. Once it got going, however, it was a good plot with enough action and twists to keep one’s interest. Despite its beginning, it was a rather cozy read. Quite enjoyable. * * * 1/2
I received a free copy of the ebook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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