by John E. Conley
Published in 2015 but having the look and feel of a "Golden Age" classic mystery with all the ingredients you would expect from such a book:
A cast of characters ranging from Lord Charles Stewart and his faithful, super capable manservant to the men and women gathering at a Colonel's country house where aggressive undercurrents and surprising allegiances reveal themselves to the more observant of the group, to a beautiful young shop owner from the village with a secret past, and a clever school teacher. Add to that the setting in Yorkshire which I know rather well - seaside towns such as Scarborough and Whitby are as much part of the story as the aforementioned country house and the moors.
The story is set in 1928 when a Colonel invites a group of men for a reunion who were under his service during the war that ended 10 years earlier and left the world forever a changed place. Lord Charles is also invited, but the private conversation he was supposed to have with the Colonel one evening never comes about. Instead, he finds the man stabbed to death in the library - the knife clearly belonging to one of the guests.
Charles is sure all is not what it seems, and although at least one of the invited ex-soldiers would have a motive for killing the victim, he believes the murder has nothing to do with the war. But how to prove it, especially when the inspector in charge starts to see Charles himself as a suspect?
I much enjoyed this book, its setting, its characters and the rather well-plotted mystery. The author is American, which sometimes shows in the language; a good editor would maybe have meted out those small hiccups. One example is the "den" the characters often retreat to for a smoke and a drink or to interview a suspect or witness. A den is a typical US-American term; for an English country house, you would talk of a snug (if the room were relatively small) or a drawing room (if large). What I found a little irritating was the frequent "grinning" of people at each other or at something someone said, when smiling would have been the more appropriate term. But it is just me being picky and does not really take away from the overall pleasure of this book.
I found it for free at the Kindle store a few years ago and can imagine looking for more of this series. Amazon says about the author: "