An eccentric old man is found dead in a hotel room (in what used to be his family's country estate). The verdict is suicide. But that's a problem for the man's family, for his life insurance policy clearly states that benefits will not be paid in case of suicide. So the family sets out to prove that it must have been murder.
That's the basic outline of Cyril Hare's "Suicide Excepted," originally published in 1939, near the end of the so-called "Golden Age of Detection." It's the subject of this week's review on the Classic Mysteries podcast - but there's something special on the podcast this week: this is the first anniversary of Patrick Ohl's excellent mystery blog, "At the Scene of the Crime," where you will find his reviews of, and comments about, all kinds of more-or-less traditional mysteries, new as well as old. To mark this blogiversary, Patrick joins me for this shared podcast to discuss "Suicide Excepted," a book we both found very enjoyable. You can hear the podcast, including our conversation and our joint review, by clicking here; it is also cross-posted on At the Scene of the Crime.
The novels of Cyril Hare were quite popular when they were written, but he is largely forgotten today. Based on my enjoyment of "Suicide Excepted," that seems unfair, so it is good to find it republished by Faber and Faber.
"Suicide Excepted" also marks my final entry (number eight) in the "Deadly Decades" portion of the Vintage Mysteries Reading Challenge under way at the My Reader's Block blog. Given that it's only March, perhaps I can enter another section of the challenge.
(UPDATED to link to Patrick's review on At the Scene of the Crime)