Review: Suicide Excepted by Cyril Hare

220. Suicide Excepted by Cyril Hare Publication: HarperCollins (April 1991), originally published 1939, Paperback, 246pp / ISBN 0060806362
Genre: Mystery
Rating: Buy it
Read: November 19-21, 2010
Source: Freebie table at Bubonicon 2010
Summary from Amazon the back cover:

Disappointed with the accommodations, the meals, and the service at the country hotel of Pendlebury Old Hall, Inspector Mallett is looking forward to the end of his holiday. He must endure only one more trial: the hotel boor, whose family once owned the country house, sits down at Mallett’s table and unburdens himself. The next day the man is dead, an apparent suicide. The suspicious death interrupts Mallett’s rural reverie and inadvertently embroils him in family passions and murder.


Picture of ME with my own personal copy, because apparently there aren’t any good pictures of it already online? Yay for laptops with cameras in them! (I have to buy a new digital camera before our trip to Disney World in January– my old one is completely dead now.)

I got my copy from the last Bubonicon; there was a bunch of free books and magazines and other swank on a table and I grabbed whatever I could stuff into my bag, including, obviously, Suicide Excepted! I didn’t even really pay attention to what it was really about– I sort of just skimmed the back, saw it was a mystery with a police detective, and shoved it into my bag before someone else grabbed it. I’m VERY bad with free things, although I will try to be better at BEA. I swear it!

Anyway, Suicide Excepted was really good. I’m glad I claimed it for my own; I think it’s a really good, possibly over-looked little mystery. Or does everyone but me know about Cyril Hare? Eh?

It was written in 1939 and it reminds me a bit of the interwar mysteries written by Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, etc. It also sort of reminds me of Ellery Queen and Rex Stout, so if you like those authors you’d probably really like Cyril Hare. You know that fast-paced, clever (but not too much) feeling that interwar mysteries have? That’s what Suicide Excepted felt like to me.

It had great characters, a pretty good mystery, and a country-like feel to it (although only part of it was actually taking place in the country). It’s one of those books where the actual detective doesn’t show up until near the end of the book (like some of the Miss Marple books), but what little of Inspector Mallett I saw I liked, and I look forward to reading more books with him in them.

I don’t know if I should write more about what was actually going on plot-wise, because a) I’ll spoil it big time and that’s no fun, and b) you CAN get a used copy for pretty cheap so you can read it for yourself! And I think you should get a copy for yourself! It’s a really excellent way to spend a weekend reading in the winter, and it’s always nice finding another author that was along the lines of some of my other favorite mystery authors (see above list).


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I really need to try branching out more with my interwar mystery authors. There are the standards, and then there’s other people! Who are the other people? I need to investigate this.

8 thoughts on “Review: Suicide Excepted by Cyril Hare”

    1. I think about forgotten books a lot, actually, which makes me so happy that things like Project Gutenburg and Persephone books and etc are around, to bring back into light books that were previously forgotten! I wish more publishers would do it, especially for books that aren’t public domain yet.

  1. I love your new header! Is that new, or have I just been stupid for a really long time?

    Also, this sounds good. I have heard of Cyril Hare but have not read anything by him. And I do loooove Dorothy Sayers, God knows!

    1. Thank you! It’s new; I was going to make an announcement about it on my Sunday Salon post. It’s from an illustration in the Tres Riches Heures, a medieval text I wrote like two papers on this semester. 😀 It’s perfect, too, because it’s of the winter months and it’s got PISCES on it (and I’m a Pisces!).

    1. Yay, reviewing old books! Or at least out-of-print ones. Classics tend to get a decent amount of press, as they tend to stay in print for a long time. Poor OOP books that aren’t classics and can’t be found except in ~mysterious used bookstores~ maybe. Actually, that would be an awesome bookstore! FORGOTTEN BOOKS. I’m going to open that store; no one steal my idea. >:(

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