Archive for May, 2015

Who Saw Her Die? (book #139)

5 May 2015

Patricia Moyes, 1970.

I’d not come across Moyes before finding this in a charity shop. Her Guardian obituary suggests she was more popular in the US than here. She evidently had an interesting life (there’s another account of it at Rue Morgue), working on radar in the war, then working with Peter Ustinov, and later living in Holland and the Caribbean.

Who Saw Her Die? is part of her series about Inspector Henry Tibbett (Chief Superintendent, by this book) and his wife, Emmy. The victim is a twenties glamour girl now aged 70, and it’s interesting to read about that period from the standpoint of 1970.

I liked this passage critical of some French food – not what one expects from English writing of the period. Emmy is Dutch, according to the internet, though this is only implied in this book (for instance, she’s ‘”glad to be back”‘ when they go to Holland).

Emmy … took herself off to Chez Marcel [in Montmartre], where for a modest sum she ate onion soup made with real onions and home-baked bread, and a beautifully-dressed salad which tasted of real lettuce and chives – compensations for a thin, tough steak, and tinned peas. The excellent cheese board nicely balanced the awful coupe Jacques. If it’s true, Emmy reflected, that English food would be delicious if one had three breakfasts a day, then by the same token cheap French meals could be improved by omitting the main disches and concentrating on the incidentals.

The by-play between Henry and Emmy is well-done. Apparently there are cats in some of Moyes’s novels (she wrote two books about cats) so obviously I shall have to explore this further.

There is a good review of Moyes’s first novel, Dead Men Don’t Ski, at Confessions of a Mystery Novelist.