Murder in the Snow by Gladys Mitchell was first published in 1950 and then it had the title of Groaning Spinney. My copy is a reprint by Vintage and its cover was illustrated by Laurence Whiteley. It’s very much in the British Library Crime Classics mould.
It’s almost Christmas and Mrs Bradley is in demand, she has an invitation to attend a conference of educational psychologists in Stockholm, it’s very tempting but she has also been invited to spend the festive season in the Cotswolds where Jonathan her nephew by marriage has invited her to stay in the manor house that he and his young wife have just bought.
The manor house has quite a lot of land attached to it and the locals believe that the area is haunted. It isn’t long before some of the locals receive anonymous letters. Mrs Bradley is just the person to get to the bottom of it. The atmosphere is enhanced by a fall of snow which seems to muffle sounds and add to the eeriness. It isn’t long before a body is discovered, hanging over what was known as the ghost gate. The doctor thinks it’s death by natural causes but others aren’t so sure.
The body count increases and of course Mrs Bradley sorts it all out. I still don’t like Mrs Bradley at all, for some reason Gladys Mitchell wrote her as being positively scary looking, reptilian with yellow skin and claw-like hands and her personality isn’t much better.
However I did like the mystery part of this book, for me anyway it wasn’t at all predictable.