All the reader wants to know is when the murder will strike next, and how he will achieve the next death. It is not an easy wait. The story starts in Cambridge, at a college where a don is murdered. We, and Inspector Buller, spend a lot of time wondering about how things were achieved, and which of the many clues laid out so invitingly are the details that matter.
This murderer is as animal-like and vicious as any psychopath, and now he has tasted blood. Buller tells his friends Charles and Elizabeth about the case.
He is terrified and appalled when Charles, a rather desperate but very honourable character, goes off for the day, and returns to say that he has visited the murderer to tell him that he, Charles, was so outraged at his crime that he, Charles, will kill him, the murderer, within the week. Buller knows that the murderer will take this as a most delicious challenge, and now all hell will break loose.
White gives us a little of the back story at this point to help us understand why Charles feels so suicidal, and now we can see a hideous panorama of threat and uncertainty unfolding in the plot. The assault has begun, and continues for the remaining two-thirds of the book. Why is this novel so good? Buller is a very endearing policeman hero: Charles and Elizabeth are quixotic, aristocratic and charming.
Dr Wilder, the faithful friend and useful police surgeon, keeps all their feet on the ground and is rude enough to Buller to stop him becoming a nuisance in his worry for Elizabeth.
Fast cars are very important, and we learn a great deal about the roads of Derbyshire and the Welsh borders. Our frustration from the characters having to rely on leaving messages for each other from public telephones is something that readers have only experienced in the last 15 years: before that, public telephones were the only way for amateur detectives to stay in touch with a manhunt, and we took them for granted.
Behind all that, we have Pemberley itself, the great estate familiar as a name from Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen never once described it in detail, but we are left with the understanding that it is the home of a rich family, a good master, a loving brother and we hope husband; it has status in the neighbourhood and its tenants are proud of it. Ian Fleming. The Throwaway Children. Diney Costeloe. The Once and Future King. The Book of Merlyn. The Ill-Made Knight. The Sword in the Stone.
The Goshawk. Mistress Masham's Repose.
The Queen of Air and Darkness. The Elephant and the Kangaroo. The Candle in the Wind. The Master.
Into the Great Wonderful. How to write a great review.
Please tell us about any errors you have found in this book, or in the information on this page about this book. It always impressed me as wildly imaginative and fun book to read and your review makes it really tempting to place an order for it. T H White. No dust jacket. Search for:.
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Intellectual stimulation (an ingenious locked-room puzzle) and a plot with plenty of action give Inspector Buller of Scotland Yard plenty of exercise both in Cambridge and at a mysterious country house, Pemberly. Shelves: classic-mystery-fiction, crime-fiction, crime-fiction-uk. The first thing one should say is that, despite its title, Darkness at Pemberley should not be mistaken for an homage to, or pastiche of, Jane.
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