Forgotten Murder

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

This is a cold case set in the 1920s and referring to a disappearance (presumed murder) from before the Great War. I found the idea very intriguing and – simple as it may sound – quite unusual. I almost got the impression I was getting two stories, because the events, although separated by only some fifteen years, related to very different times in history. It was a strange, but very rewarding experience.

The mystery itself is after all quite simple. This isn’t one of those novels where the mystery is interesting because it’s clever and unusual. To me it was interesting because it was very logical and rested on solid human reasons. I also loved (but then this is why I like classic mysteries) that the investigation relied on deduction and intuition more than any technicality, though there is a hint at that. It was a nice touch.
Besides, the true strength of the novel is the characters. Jack, the main character and investigator, is such a relatable character. He’s very empathic and it’s obvious that he cares about the people he meets. Still he has a very clear mind and these two seemingly clashing characteristics make him very human and sympathetic. But I appreciated all the cast, though I had a particular sympathy for Mrs Shilton, who seems to be a certain kind of character and it turns out to be completely another and still she made perfect sense, I never had the impression the author was trying to deceive me.

It was a great read. I really enjoyed it.
This is part of a longer series revolving around Jack Haldean, mystery writer and investigator, but it can be read on its own without any problem. There is an obvious central cast of characters who have a history, but we don’t need to know that history to enjoy this story.
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Forgotten Murder is an excellent, Christie-esque mystery.  In fact, it is almost too Christie-esque in that it brings to mind a very similar novel, Sleeping Murder.  Jenny Langton, a friend of Jack Haldean’s wife, Betty, has come across a house that is strangely familiar. Despite having no memory of ever being there, she remembers the house as it was before it was remodeled.  On top of that, while standing in the garden, she has a disturbing vision which horrifies her and makes her turn to Betty and Jack for help. As in the Christie novel, Betty’s emerging memories threaten a murderer who has long believed he is safe, and that his secrets are well hidden.

As I read, my own sense of dejavu was strong, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying Forgotten Murder.  Gordon-Smith is a skilled writer with her own unique and eloquent voice. While there are many similarities to Sleeping Murder, the novel never stoops to being derivative.  The story is enjoyable in its own right, and it is likely that most readers will not be familiar with its precursor. Still, there is enough in common to make me rate Forgotten Murder a 4 rather than a 5.  

4 / 5

I received a copy of Forgotten Murder from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.

-- Crittermom
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"Forgotten Murder" by Dolores Gordon-Smith is the latest in the Jack Haldean series of mysteries, set in the middle 20s.  We meet Jack immediately as he dotes on Elizabeth Lucy Wingate -- “Betty” -- his newly wedded wife.  He’s very happy.  Faithful readers will know that Jack writes detective stories, the perfect background for an amateur sleuth.

Soon we’re introduced to Jennifer Langton -- a Modern Girl -- or so her employer at the house agents is encouraged to think (by Jenny herself).  Why shouldn’t a girl get ahead in her life, and in her job?  She is determined to fit the profile of a female that can do more than make tea for the men in the office.  It is 1926, after all.

Life is not all rosy, however.  Someone is stalking her, has been for a good while.  She calls him The Watcher.  Who this is becomes apparent pretty early on, as the plot unveils itself.

The setting soon shifts to the big house that Jenny is visiting prior to it being let.  The house is rumored to be haunted by “a lady in blue” -- seen only in the garden (there’s a supernatural bent to the book a bit, just so you know).  And guess who this might just be?  The wife of one of the former tenants, long missing, thought to be dead, murdered by her husband, apparently.  

As Jenny goes over the house, looking at the rooms, she starts to blurt out things, like she’s there before.   She can’t possibly have been – or could she.  This becomes the ploy for getting everything going -- not so much a twist as a revelation of circumstances.  She’s seeing things -- BIG, HORRID THINGS -- and is shocked and dismayed.  She needs to tell somebody, and since Betty’s an old friend from school...  And that’s how Jack gets involved, because Betty knows he’ll be sympathetic.  (And how Inspector Bill Rackham of Scotland Yard gets involved, because he’s a friend of the Haldeans and Jack thinks it’s a story for him, too.)  Jenny tells the two of them she’s seen something awful, something that she can’t explain.  So, to put her mind at ease, Jack and Betty start investigating the background of the house, the previous inhabitants, anything that will help them find something for Jenny to recognize.  Soon the Come to Find Out moment  is explained -- the disappearance twenty years before of the woman who was living there, with the husband doing a bunk, and thus murder suspected.  And just how Jenny is involved in all this is something for the reader to find out -- no spoilers here.  Suffice it to say that Jenny asks the Haldeans for help, and we’re off.

After all this it’s up to Jack and Betty to find out what really happened, and so they do.  Jack meets with friends and relatives and others of the woman who disappeared, including the husband’s sister, who remains insistent that he didn’t murder his wife.  Jack thinks she knows more than she’s letting on.  There are connections and more connections, friends and other characters who dart in and out.  There’s another Big Twist which readers will probably work out without too much effort.  And finally, we have another murder -- the chain of events has opened up a big can of worms; ‘tis murder done to hide the truth.

Jack does his final sleuthing and explains to all and sundry what really happened 20 years ago. A murderer is brought to justice, and Jenny and Inspector Rackham are making googly eyes at each other.  All’s right in the world at last.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a copy of the book ahead of publication, in exchange for this review.
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Forgotten Murder written by Dolores Gordon-Smith was a great read and one I am very happy to recommend.  I simply loved the old fashioned mystery and constant guessing which truly lasted the full book.
I have read a few of this author's books and she certainly knows how to grab the reader's attention. 
The main storyline is part of the series based on the author's series based on the detective Jack Haldean and once again I was immediately seeing the mystery through his eyes.  I liked the constant action and mystery which makes it very easy for me to recommend this excellent book.
Happy to recommend.
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It's 1926 and Jennifer Langton is working as a typist at an estate agent when she gets the chance to view a house. A house that the agents want to rent out. But arriving at Saunder's Green she finds the house familiar, and in the garden she sees a monster. Later that day she recounts everything to her close friend Betty and her husband Major Jack Haldean. Haldean having had experiences in solving mysteries.
An enjoyable mystery, with the story starting slowly, setting the scene then the clues are introduced. Though the book was written in the modern times it had the feel of the 'Golden Age of Detective Fiction'.
Although this is part of a series, though the first one for me, it can easily be read as a standalone story.
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I'm happy I requested this book because I discovered this amazing series.
I read it in one setting and couldn't put it down.
This book reminded me of those of the Golden Age as the setting, the construction of the plot and characters seem to be out of a Agatha Christie novel but the book is full of original and brilliant ideas.
The plot is engaging and entertaining, there's never a moment of bore. The twists and turns in the plot kept me guessing till the end and the ending came as a surprise.
I loved the cast of characters and I liked the well researched historical setting.
Even if this is part of a series can be read as a standalone.
I look forward to reading the next installment.
Highly recommended.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Many thanks to Severn House and Netgalley for this ARC
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A good old saying states: do not judge a book by its cover... well, I do judge a book by its title, and in this particular case I was pleasantly surprised by the story behind this intriguing name.

Dolores Gordon-Smith and her wonderful detective Jack Haldean take us back to 1926. Young Jenny Langton, a friend of Haldean's family, approaches Jack with a unique request to dig into a history of a suburban residence. An earlier visit to a large Victorian estate triggers Jenny's memory. She sees a disturbing vision that leaves her feeling frightened. This story intrigues Jack and he agrees on helping Jenny figure out the reasons behind her unusual recollection. 

Every family has its skeletons hidden in the closet. Ready or not, Jenny is about to discover hers with the help of witty and clever Mr. Haldean.

I am extremely excited to discover The Jack Haldean murder mysteries and looking forward to reading all the previous books. Thank you Dolores Gordon-Smith for a wonderful and engaging story and NetGalley together with Severn House Publishers for a free and advanced copy of the book.
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Repressed memory and murder in 192os London!  I'm new to Jack Haldean so this was a treat for me.  He's deeply in love with his new wife Betty and thus willing to take on an investigation which others would likely brush off.  Her school friend Jenny is convinced there was a murder at Saunders Green and you know what- she was right!  Things escalate as Betty and Jack and then Chief Inspector Bill Rackham start poking around.  Imagine what this would be like were it set today with modern forensics!  No- don't. Enjoy it as a period procedural with good characters and a clever plot.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
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A very surprisingly good whodunit. I was impressed. I liked all the characters. And the fact that author was able to leave you guessing until the very end, came as a cherry on top.
A 'crhistie-like' crime novel set in London after the WW1, when everything was possible but not everything was allowed still. A very comfy read. 
I would love to read more of Jack Haldean's adventures.
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A well written and enjoyable novel set in 1926 London.  Jenny Langton, a young woman employed by an estate agent visits a house to write up particulars for letting.  As she goes through the house she is uncomfortably aware that she knows this house, but how?  She was brought up in Manchester and had not spent any time in London before moving there.  Going through the garden of the property, Jenny has a traumatic memory.  She shares her fears with her friend Betty who is married to the successful mystery writer , Jack Haldean who has connections to Scotland Yard.  Jack is intrigued by Jenny’s story, and soon begins uncovering evidence from a crime that was was committed at the rental house twenty years ago.  I had an inkling who the perpetrator was, but I could not figure out a motive.  The motive was clever, and I would never have figured it out.   I liked the book very much,   I can see why comparison might be made to “Sleeping murder” by A. Christie, but they really are two very different stories.    No language, sex, or violence.  A good story with likable well developed characters.  Highly recommend.  Many thanks to Severn House publishers and Netgalley for an ARC.
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Newly-married author and amateur detective Jack Haldean becomes embroiled in a decades-old unsolved crime when a friend of his wife Betty's comes to him for help.

The friend, Jenny Langton, has recently had a very strange experience. She was visiting an old vacant manor when she suddenly began remembering the house, as though she had once lived there, the wallpapers and the room arrangements. The creepiness of this feeling culminates in her having a full-blown panic attack on the estate grounds under an old tree where she remembers vividly seeing a monstrous character and recalling a violent scene.

Jenny is sure there is an explanation and she asks Jack to do some investigating. Thus begins a compelling and bizarre tale which Jack unravels through searching records, talking to family members, and interviewing residents, police, and servants.

Jenny's life is forever changed by the discovery of her past history. A fast-paced challenging mystery. Thanks to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Intriguing, well crafted historical murder mystery featuring Jack Haldean. Credible characterisation and a swiftly moving, engrossing plot. As with other books in this long running series, a satisfying read.
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WOW!    Where do I begin?      I loved this book.

The characters and relationships are drawn as delicately as a lovely piece of origami.      This is set during the period between the World Wars.      Although it is written in our modern time, it has a feel of a classic British mystery.

Jenny is a young woman who has created her opportunity in her place of employment.    She works for a realty office and now has the opportunity to  take measurements and write descriptions of a large Victorian estate.     She has her foot in the door to success.

When she gets to the estate, she begins to have memories of this place.      The thing is, she has never before been to this place.

When she has a startling remembered image of a monster, she faints.

She goes to her best friend, Betty Haldean, and shares everything with her.       She describes the things she “remembers” about a place she has never been.      She even describes her vision of the monster which frightened her so much

Betty's husband Jack is a mystery writer and Betty and Jenny ask him to investigate on Jenny's behalf.

It becomes obvious that nothing is exactly as it appears.      When Jack proceeds with his inquiries, he has the help of Bill Rackham, a Scotland Yard Inspector.       The two of them are able to look into history, find details and even contact witnesses.       There may have been a long ago murder, or not.      

This is my first book by Ms Gordon-Smith.        It will not be my last.

The character development is terrific.     Each person, whether a main character or a secondary one is a complete picture.     The reader sees each person and quickly knows who they are and where they have been in life.

The plot is intricate.       In fairness, I have to admit that about one third of the way in, I had figured out the villain, but not the motive.      The journey to the solution is a lovely and winding way.       Nothing comes easily and every clue is precise and to the point.       

Although this is part of a series, this story works perfectly well as a stand alone read.     All relationships are explained fully.      The history which is important to the story is presented on a need to know basis.          

As I said, I loved this book.    

I am grateful that I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley.     I am voluntarily writing this review.      All opinions are completely my own.
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I couldn't get over how strongly based this is on Agatha Christie's Sleeping Murder.
The book was well written and the end predictable. I kept reading to see if my guess about whodunit was right and it was. That's not bad but why so similar to an old and well known book?
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Many thanks to NetGalley and Severn House Publishers for an eGalley of this novel.

Author Dolores Gordon-Smith has quickly become an author I enjoy reading for her historical, British mysteries. This one takes place in 1926, with Major Jack Haldean and his bride Betty settling into their new home in London. Betty's friend, Jenny Langton, has been given the opportunity to go view a property handled by the real estate firm she works for. Jenny arrives in all innocence but what she discovers will require Jack Haldean's skill as an investigator to uncover the truth from twenty years in the past.

This was a fast moving story that kept giving me new information and surprises. The characters are well developed and the reality of what Jenny saw in the garden made perfect sense - once the author told me what it was. I didn't have a clue! Forgotten Murder is a well crafted story that unfolds easily across the pages without having to resort to a large body count or profanity.
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Thank you NetGalley and Severn House the eARC.
Jenny Langton, in 1926 London, is assessing a house, Saunder's Green, for her company with a view to finding customers to rent it.  As she surveys the property, she has strange visions, she can describe certain areas and rooms in her head before even seeing them.  She feels at home, but when she looks in the garden she sees something so frightening she asks her best friend Betty for help.  Betty's husband, Jack, is a mystery author who has solved several real life cases and he promises to look into Jenny's curious and frightening experience, much to her relief.
What follows is an intriguing trip into the past, with murder at it's heart.  It will turn Jenny's life upside down, but bring closure, understanding and even love.
This was my first Jack Haldean mystery but definitely not my last...Highly recommended atmospheric Golden Age style mystery.
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Jenny Langton is a woman determined to go far in the world. By a campaign of subtle influence, she finally gets a chance at the estate agents where she works, to visit a property on behalf of the firm. But when she arrives at Saunder’s Green, she develops a serious case of déjà vu. And when she touches one particular tree, she is overcome by a memory – that of a dead body lying under the tree.
It seems that Jenny is adopted and she visited the house with her real parents twenty years ago. And then her mother vanished, soon followed by her father. The assumption was always that her father killed her mother and then ran. But is it possible that the truth is stranger than that? Luckily Jenny’s best friend Betty is married to Jack Haldean, ex-fighter pilot, current mystery novelist and part-time sleuth. But when someone related to the case is killed, it seems that the murderer from twenty years ago is still on the prowl…
Dolores Gordon-Smith is one of the finest speakers at the Bodies From The Library conferences and always shows a complete love of the Golden Age of crime fiction, so it’s no surprise that her work embraces that genre so completely. You could, I suppose, argue that perhaps a little too completely in this case, as the opening did feel a lot like the premise of Sleeping Murder to me, but you’ll be pleased to know that the similarities don’t continue beyond the basic idea.
The Chessman, the preceding Haldean tale, was one of my favourite books of – checks – 2015. Didn’t realise it was that long ago, so it must have stuck with me, a lovely Golden Age serial killer tale. This is a more sedate affair but no less charming. It helps having strong lead characters, with Jack and Betty both distinctive without being saddled with trauma or irritating personality traits – even Jack’s limp barely gets a mention. There is perhaps a dearth of suspects, making the killer quite guessable but whether the reader will spot the central misdirection – I did – is another matter.
So, a charming homage to the classic detective novel. Fingers crossed it won’t be three years until the next one, but I’ve a couple of older ones on the shelf to tide me over til then. Definitely Recommended.
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Jenny Langton is given her 1st house viewing for a new job and goes to see Saunders Green a old house meant to be haunted. As she is taken round the house by the housekeeper she gets a deja vu feeling and seems to know what is in the room before she enters. When she is so terrified in the garden that she faints she goes to see her friend Betty and her husband Jack to look into her fear that something awful has happened in that house. Looking into the past will bring murder to present day and a very involved and twisted tail is followed by Jack and the police. This is a very eventful who done it which will have you following to the end.
I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Hi Karen,

My Next review is:- 

“Forgotten Murder(A Jack Haldean Murder Mystery)”, written by Dolores Gordon-Smith and published in hardback by Severn House Publishers Ltd; Main edition on 30th November 2018. 240 pages.  ISBN-13: 978-0727888464

This is the tenth Major Jack Haldean murder mystery and these stories are just as fresh in their appeal to the reader as I found in the first one that I read. This one takes place during 1926 and Major Haldean has still not adjusted yet with his marriage to Betty.

Betty goes to meet an old schoolfriend, Jenny Langton, who tells her about a very strange experience she had whilst in a garden of a very smart suburban house in Saunders Green, East Hampshire, which she was inspecting as an estate agent. Jenny had a disturbing vision and wasn’t sure why she fainted from the  shock.

Jack investigates and discovers that something very alarming occurred about 20 years before but no one he asks seems to want to talk about it. He discovers evidence of a possible murder and with the help of his friend who happens to be a Scotland Yard Detective Inspector he investigates all the possible clues and after many false leads eventually comes to the exciting and completely unexpected conclusion.

Dolores Gordon-Smith lives in Manchester, England, and is married with five daughters, three cats and two dogs. She's always been fascinated by the First World War and the 1920's and loves the Golden Age mysteries of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers, an era which she re-creates in her books, capturing the glamour, style, intricate plotting and robust characters that have proved so compelling to so many readers.

I first read for review her seventh Jack Haldean book “After The Exhibition” in April 2014 and was immediately impressed and enchanted by her superb plotting and research skills in which she vividly recreate the 1924 time period.

I was absolutely gripped and excited by this very well written and deftly plotted mystery mainly set in London and the home counties in 1926. The very gifted author has written a total so far of ten books in this series and I must try and get all the others as I was very impressed by this book. Very strongly recommended.

Best wishes,

(To be posted on in due course)
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This was a really intriguing book and I greatly enjoyed it.

Books set in the past can be a little hit or miss but this one was a definite hit. The author does a great job of portraying the now outdated attitudes mixed in with more salient modern attitudes.

The mystery itself takes several twists and turns as it unravels and has both easy and harder to guess moments for the audience.

The main characters are likable and the switch between them is seamless.

I would definitely read more books in this series and by this author in general.
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