Tightly paced and cleverly defying the conventions of the classic detective story, this 1933 novel remains a milestone of the inverted mystery subgenre. This edition includes an introduction by CWA Diamond Dagger and Edgar ® Award-winning author Martin Edwards.
At a costume party with the dubious theme of “famous murderers and their victims,” the know-it-all amateur criminologist Roger Sheringham is settled in for an evening of beer, small talk, and analyzing his companions. One guest in particular has caught his attention for her theatrics, and his theory that she might have several enemies among the partygoers proves true when she is found hanging from the “decorative” gallows on the roof terrace.
Noticing a key detail that could implicate a friend in the crime, Sheringham decides to meddle with the scene and unwittingly casts himself into jeopardy as the uncommonly thorough police investigation circles closer and closer to the truth.
I find reading these republished Golden Age mysteries a bit of a crapshoot. Some are terrific, others just okay, and still others are awful. Jumping Jenny falls between terrific and okay.
The story is inflated with too many characters, many having the same or similar names, which requires the reader to really pay attention. The language is a bit too “I say, old boy” for me and the book is mostly dialogue versus description, which can be hard to follow, especially when there are similar character names.
Depsite that, the surprising twist at the end makes the time spent in reading this worthwhile.
This will appeal to mystery readers who like their stories complicated and chatty.
Publication Date: January 17, 2023
Published By: Poison Pen Press
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy