Murder Served Cold

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

Eric Brown has a gift for creating vibrant characters who fit their time.  Personal beliefs and emotional responses to situations play a major role, as they do in Christie’s novels.  The disappearance of the painting is a challenging puzzle, but the novel is a psychologically driven mystery.  When characters feel real, so too does the mystery.  Donald Langham and his partner in detection Ralph Ryland, as well as the other recurring characters are easy to like.  I enjoy this series, and Murder Served Cold is a wonderful addition.

What first appears as a case of theft - the disappearance of a valuable painting - soon leads to a case of murder.  Donald Langham, writer and sleuth, is called out with his partner when the painting is found missing and there is no sign of a break-in, indicating an inside job.  Possibilities abound amongst Lord Elsmere’s lodgers, but first the painting must be found.  As you can guess from the title a body is found as well.

If you like Agatha Christie style mysteries or historical mysteries you will enjoy reading Murder Served Cold.

5 / 5

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

— Crittermom
Was this review helpful?
Book six in the Langham and Dupre mystery series from Eric Brown. An entertaining and enjoyable country house murder mystery with a great cast, a well described setting, sense of place and an intriguing plot. A fun read indeed. Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
And if this setup seems as comfortingly familiar as a late-night cup of cocoa, then you’re right. This is the classic country-house murder mystery chock-full of likely suspects, with Donald and Ralph slogging through the forest of clues and red herrings to try and make sense of the puzzle, before tracking down the perpetrator. I really enjoyed this one. The murder mystery was intriguing, linked as it was to the theft of the Gainsborough and I particularly liked the denouement as it connected directly with the historical period when this story was set.

Brown’s writing superpower is depicting setting – the landscape he evokes in a future version of Paris in his science fiction adventure Engineman is outstanding and has seeped into my inscape. So having a thoroughly satisfying cosy mystery set in such a strong backdrop, where the social and political issues are taken into account is a real bonus. I’ve found myself thinking about this one several times since I finished it – always a sign of a successful book – and I highly recommend Murder Served Cold to fans of well-written country house murder mysteries.
Was this review helpful?
In 1956 Ralph Ryland and Donald Langham are employed by Lord Elsmere of Neston Manor to solve the mystery of his missing painting. A painting that disappeared overnight, but would be unable to leave the room it was housed in due to its size. While solving the case a dead body is then discovered. But who would have a motive.
An enjoyable and interesting well-written mystery, which is easily read as a standalone story within this good series.
Was this review helpful?
It's the second book I read in this series and I think this is a very good one, entertaining and engaging.
I liked this book and read it as fast as I could.
The cast of characters is fleshed out and well written and you cannot help rooting for some of them.
The mystery is very good, full of twists and turns, and it keeps you guessing till the end surprising you with an unexpected solution.
I look forward to reading the next installment.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to Severn House and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Was this review helpful?
A traditional mystery written in the classic 3rd person limited narrative style, along with bits in 3rd person objective, making it a fast-moving, spare read, with lots of dialog and brisk action. Set in 1950s Britain, we get loads of color in the form of slang and Britishisms, as well as tea, crumpets and buckets of alcohol.  The funtioning alcoholics are still haunted by WWII, and the man's world is cemented by the soldiers' experiences. The main character's wife is a sketchy character in this book in the series, despite sharing the series title with him. An entertaining read.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Severn House Press and Netgalley for providing a copy of this eBook.  The views expressed are my own.
The residents of Lord Elsmere's Neston Manor in rural England are enduring a wintry November 1956.  Private detectives Don Langham and Ralph Ryland arrive from London to investigate the mysterious disappearance of Elsmere's prized Gainsborough painting.  The painting went missing from Elsmere's locked study several days before.  The police can find no signs of a forced entry and suspect him of an insurance fraud.  The detectives have been hired to find the painting which is his lordship's sole valuable asset.   He is short of money to finance the manor and has had to sub-divide it into flats which are let out to mostly paying guests who become the suspect pool in subsequent events.
"Murder Served Cold" is a unique two-stage country house mystery story.  The locked room mystery of the missing painting evolves into a murder investigation when the body of one of the prime suspects in the painting theft is found in a nearby field. The residents of the manor house, the obvious suspects, are a colourful lot and provide Langham and Ryland with plenty of material to work with in finding the killer.
The story is set against the background of the austerity of post WW2 England. The war is still fresh in the minds of people, foreigners and outsiders are viewed with suspicion.  Small villages continue to exist much as in the past, rail travel to London is the norm although the automobile is becoming more common.  The local pub is the centre of the village and the place to hear all the gossip. The author has done a good job of representing the English countryside.  Some of the English slang can be a challenge for North American readers to interpret.
In the final analysis, this is a well-balanced combination of strong narration, a small cast of colourful characters, and a strong finish with a clever twist that closes it down nicely.  It will fare well in any comparison to the work of Agatha Christie. This is the 5th book in a developing series and can easily be read as a standalone.  In this series entry, the focus is mostly on the detective team, rather than on the romantic one and Langham's crime writing career is on hiatus.
A good read and recommended.
Was this review helpful?
The Ryland and Langham Detective agency run by two rather seemingly eccentric gentlemen who appear to spend most of their time eating and drinking and hob nobbing with members of the gentry..
However they seem to muddle their way through and finally find a conclusion to the case. A rather meandering story line unfolds to reveal an interesting conclusion.
Was this review helpful?
A Langham & Dupre' Mystery #6

Crime writer and Private Investigator Donald Langham and wife Maria Dupre' are back in another puzzling crime. Along with his partner Ralph Ryland. 

It's the Fall of 1956 when an old friend of Don's literary agent, Charles, comes to them with a need for their services. It seems as though Lord Elsmere's Gainsborough painting has been stolen off the wall of his library! Even worse, the police do not believe it was a break in which means someone living in the house must have done it. But how? It was much too large to just pop out the window with.

Not helping matters is the fact that Elsmere recently bumped up the insurance on the painting while at the same time suffering from real money issues.

When the team gets to the manor, they find an odd assortment of characters renting rooms and any of them could have done the deed. 

This had multiple smaller stories inside the mystery. Every character had a secret and someone was willing to kill for theirs. But who?

This series just keeps getting better. The characters are so quirky and imperfect you can't help but fall in love with them all!

Well Done!

Netgalley/Severn House April 1st 2019
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley and Severn House Publishing for an e-Galley of this novel.

This is my first time reading a book by Eric Brown so I was delighted when this sixth book in the Langham & Dupre series kept getting better and better for me as I read along. Private detectives Donald Langham and Ralph Ryland take readers along on all facets of their investigation and let the reader solve the case right along with them. The setting of 1956 rural England provides many opportunities for the reader to place themselves in the time period following World War II as everyone is getting their life back to normal. Ryland and Langham Detective Agency have been hired to investigate the disappearance of a valuable painting owned by Lord Elsmere of Neston Manor in the village of Little Neston. The pages of the book are populated by intriguing characters in the forms of family members, friends and renters of apartments in the Manor. Secrets abound and almost nobody is exactly who they seem to be.

This was great fun to read and I had absolutely no idea what the final solution was going to be. I'm looking forward to reading more of this series.
Was this review helpful?
What a great read!  This is the sixth entry in the Langham and Dupre mystery series by Eric Brown.  I have not read the previous titles and found that this book works well on its own.  Langham and Ryland have a detective agency in London, and they have been hired by Lord Elsmere to investigate the theft of his painting by Gainsborough. A day or so into the investigation, one of the suspects is discovered dead in the woods, he has been shot at close range. The book is set in the mid 1950’s and will appeal to readers who are fans of golden age mysteries. Set in a large, country manor house, with  excentric Old aristocrats, a butler, and a mysterious beautiful woman.  I found it an enjoyable read and am interested in reading the previous books in the series.
Many thanks to netgalley and Severn House for an eARC.
Was this review helpful?
Excellent read for mystery lovers. I haven't read the previous books in the series but could still enjoy this one. The end is totally unexpected and spectacular!
Was this review helpful?
Thank you NetGalley and Severn House for the eARC.
This was my first in the Langham and Ryland series, I hadn't read the previous five.  That, however, did not affect my reading enjoyment,  I felt it worked quite well as a standalone and enjoyed it a lot.  Set in the 1950's, it made a welcome change for me.  It was cozy, but with a bite.
Langham and Ryland are hired by Lord Elsmere and successfully solve the case of his stolen painting.  Pleased, they are ready to return home when a murder occurs on Lord Elsmere's estate.  The man in question is a Dutch ex-soldier and handyman who lives in the Manor's gatehouse.  His disappearance had led to the belief he was responsible for the art's theft, but just days after his disappearance, it's obvious he was killed shortly after going missing.
The denouement of the book was quite a surprise to me.  I found it almost moving; it was very well done.  I'm glad I found this series and would recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery set in an interesting time period.
Was this review helpful?
This is the sixth in the Don Langham and Maria Dupre crime series.   Previous books, in order, are: Murder by the Book, Murder at the Chase, Murder at the Loch, Murder Take Three and Murder Takes a Turn.  Don Langham is a crime writer, as well as being a partner in the Ryland and Langham Detective Agency; while his, now wife, Maria is a literary agent, working with her mentor, Charles Elder.

It is 1956 and Ryland and Langham are asked to investigate a missing painting, at Neston Manor, belonging to Lord Elsmere.   In the 1950’s, large houses were becoming hard to maintain, and Neston Manor now has several apartments in it.   Major Rutherford, a friend of Lord Elsmere, lives in one.  The beautiful Rebecca Miles has another, while Patrick Verlinden, lives in the gatehouse.  Also present are Lord Elsmere’s ne’er do well son, and his bossy fiancée, Esmerelda. 

Before long, our detectives have recovered the painting, but then, their success is marred by murder.   This is an interesting murder mystery, where many of the assembled characters have secrets; including blackmail and dark pasts.  An enjoyable book in a series I enjoy more as it progresses.  I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, for review.
Was this review helpful?
When the Ryland and Langham Detective Agency is hired by Lord Elsmere to investigate a stolen painting.  The case is wrapped up and the painting recovered, and the detectives congratulate themselves on a job well done.  Things get complicated, however, when a man who could be connected to the theft winds up dead.  Suddenly things aren't so simple, and they must delve into the victim's hidden past to discover who may have wanted to kill them.

I definitely enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to fans of cozy or British mysteries.  It was an easy, pretty quick read, and you don't need prior knowledge of the series to understand and enjoy it.  I have to say, the solution to the case surprised me, which really made me enjoy it.  There was a red herring that tricked me, all the way up to the end.  I thought I had it figured out, I thought it was obvious, but it was a false trail and the killer definitely wasn't who I suspected, so that was a refreshing twist.
Was this review helpful?
Murder Served Cold is part of a series by Eric Brown that takes advantage of the popularity of more traditional mysteries like those set in the 1920's and 30's. Brown sets the story after the war in the British countryside of the 1950's. 

The novel borrows much from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction style, but has the slightly more modern (if still historical) setting of post-war Britain. 

A country house converted to a sort of boarding house as a result of huge estate taxes, an odd-lot of permanent guests, a missing painting, and of course, a murder. The series features Donald Langham and Ralph Ryland as private investigators, who are hired to find the stolen painting. They solve that conundrum fairly quickly by finding the painting, but not who took it. Add a little blackmail and murder and a couple of cocktail hours.

I liked Langham and Ryland and thought they felt genuine for the time period. Brown did a good job with the 50's setting and the "vintage" writing style.

In addition to this series, Eric Brown also writes science fiction (for which he has won several awards) and children's books.

Read in December; blog review scheduled for March 22, 2019.

NetGalley/Severn House
Was this review helpful?
5 stars

I read the Kindle edition.

In November 1956 Lord Elsmere visits the offices of Donald Langham, a writer in his “real” life and his partner Ralph Ryland. It seems a family heirloom has gone missing. It is a Gainsborough painting that was too big to fit through the doorway of the room in which it hung at Neston Manor. 

While Langham and Ryland solve the disappearance of the painting pretty quickly, that is not the end of the story.  When the main suspect for the theft of the painting turns up murdered, it opens a whole new can of worms. 

The women in the manor house do not like one another. Lord Elsmere’s son is enthralled to one of the less than reputable women. The tenants have their secrets, as does the master of the house. 

This is a cozy-esque little mystery. It is very well written, thought-out and laid back. Another reviewer said it reminded them of the television series Midsomer Murders. I must agree. The events in the book move along nicely, but in no particular hurry and without extreme action scenes. It is more of an intellectual journey. Skullduggery and blackmail play a part in the plot. I liked Ralph and Don. They made a good pair and got along quite well. Just enough of their personal lives were revealed so as to flesh the characters out, but not so much that it intruded on the story in any way. They are excellent characters. Mr. Brown captured them in all their …err, glory. This is my Langham and Ryland novel, and I immediately went to Amazon to look for others of Mr. Brown’s books about this pair. 

I want to thank NetGalley and Severn House/Severn House Publishers for forwarding to me a copy of this wonderful book for me to read, enjoy and review.
Was this review helpful?