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In the Mayor's Parlour

J. S. Fletcher

Book Overview: 

“Rotten borough” is a term that goes back to the 18th century, and it used to mean a parliamentary constituency in which a few property owners, or sometimes a single one, could choose the local member of parliament. The three Reform Acts of 1832, 1857 and 1884 brought that system to an end and by the time this book begins, a rotten borough has taken on its more modern meaning of a constituency whos rules allow a handful of people to profit secretly from the borough’s finances. In one such borough a new mayor, victor by a margin of single vote, has been working on a reform program and is found mysteriously murdered in his office -- the Mayor’s Parlour. As it happens, his young nephew is visiting from London, and is determined to find the killer. It’s no easy task, and the final discovery leaves him, as well as many others, surprised.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Peppermore. "He does odd jobs for people. For one thing, he carries out all Dr. Wellesley's medicines for him. And he shows strangers round the place—he knows all about the history and antiquities of the Castle, St. Hathelswide, and St. Laurence, and the Moot Hall, and so on. A hanger-on, and a sponge—that's what he is, Mr. Brent. But clever—as clever, sir, as he's unprincipled."

"The Croods seem to be an interesting family," observed Brent. "Who is that girl that I saw last night—the Alderman's niece? Is she, by any chance, this chap's daughter?"

"Queenie," said Peppermore. "Pretty girl too, that, Mr. Brent. No, sir; she's this chap's niece, and Simon's. She's the daughter of another Crood. Ben Crood. Ben's dead—he never made anything out, either—died, I believe, as poor as a church mouse. Simon's the moneyed man of the Crood family—the old rascal rolls in brass, as they call it here. So he took Queenie out of . . . Read More

Community Reviews

Not quite as good as Fletcher's other books but still a nice who-done-it

The mayor (who recently won by one vote) is killed in a locked room. His cousin vows to figure out the mystery of who killed him. There are entanglements involving city officials and his proposed reforms plus jealousy related to relationships. Lots of twists with a surprise murderer. The only thi...more

Although a fairly short book, it had all the required elements that I like and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Fletcher, to me anyway, can be relied on to give the reader a good character sketch of the participants. This is a story of graft and corruption set in one of Fletchers favoured Northern towns....more

Our protagonist is another journalist. [as was the author] Brent is also the cousin of the victim, and the inheritor of the dead Mayor’s estate. Even though Wallingford is a new man, only lived in Hathelsborough for twelve years, he won the Mayor role by one vote and has been pushing a reform age...more

John Wallingford, the Mayor of Hathelsborough has won the mayoral elections by one vote. He promises to bring down corruption and abolish Town trustees and their ancient regime. And before he could make any such changes, he is found brutally murdered in his parlour. Brent decides to continue his...more

The Mayor of Hathelsborough is determined to remove the town's corruption but it is not long before he is found dead, in a seemingly locked room scenario. The story dragged in a couple of places where romance seemed to take over the story but an enjoyable tale when you skip those parts.

Aside from the unfortunate breakdown about mid way where romance hijacks the plot and holds it hostage, this is a good enough read. For reasons totally obscure, the lead male falls for some drab - whom Fletcher has to keep telling us is interesting etc, because she isn't. The plot comes about aft...more

Classic old-fashioned murder mystery

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