‘Murdery Mystery Weekend,’ by Bruce Beckham

In the eleventh outing in Bruce Beckham’s enjoyable Inspector Skelgill series, the author once again plays with old detective story tropes. Murder Mystery Weekend has a setting right out of Agatha Christie – a castle in Cumberland, where a millionaire has gathered a group of friends to celebrate his birthday with a “murder mystery weekend” game. Only before the festivities can start, his young, beautiful wife is dead – hanging from a hook in the bathroom. It looks like suicide – but what reason did she have to kill herself? Inspector Skelgill is called in to investigate, and soon begins to suspect foul play.

These old friends, it turns out, have complicated relationships – including a tradition of mate-swapping. The millionaire host is not as beloved as initial reports said, and his deceased wife had a checkered history of her own.

It’s not Skelgill’s preferred kind of case – he much prefers something less psychological, set in the outdoors. But he’s up to the challenge, supported by his subordinates, female DS Jones and male DS Leyton. The secrets will come out, and Skelgill will fish deep to bring up the truth.

Very enjoyable, like all the books in the series. Recommended.

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