Cover Image: The Chuckling Fingers

The Chuckling Fingers

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Member Reviews

This one reminded me a bit of The Crying Child by Barbara Michaels for some reason.  I think it was the atmosphere of extreme paranoia and unreliable witnesses as well as the strong bond between two female characters as when it really comes down to it the books have nothing in common plot wise.  I enjoyed this one quite a bit.  As with most books in the classic American mystery genre the book is a bit slower paced with details and plot points carefully layered in.  

I really liked Ann as a main character here.  When she realizes that something hinky is going on her first reaction is to bundle up her cousin and daughter and get out of dodge.  She doesn't know what's going on but she does know she doesn't want any part of it and fully believes in her cousin's sanity.  After the first body falls and they have to stay put she works just as hard to prove her innocence.

This is the second book I've read by Seeley and I have really enjoyed both of them.  I liked the bond between Ann and Jacqueline and was really invested in finding out just what was going on.
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In The Chuckling Fingers, increasingly hostile pranks are played on a rich Michigan family. All eyes turn to the new bride, Jacqueline. Level-headed Ann comes to the family’s compound to clear her cousin’s name by unmasking the real perpetrator.

Whenever I read one of these golden age mysteries it is difficult to not compare them to Dame Agatha. Christie’s plots were always challenging mysteries. The clues were obscured. However, it was possible for the observant reader to solve the crime. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for The Chuckling Fingers. Even after the killer is revealed, there is no way for an armchair detective to get there other by random guessing. For that reason, this book gets 3 stars from me.

Thanks to Berkley and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Disclaimer: this was written in 1941 so expect weird turns of phrase that Google can't help you with.

Ann receives an urgent note telling her to visit her newly married cousin on Fiddler's Fingers. There she discovers that someone has been pulling cruel pranks and pinning the blame on her cousin. Before Ann can get her to leave, someone is murdered. Suspicion is thrown on Ann's cousin and Ann has to prove her cousin's innocence.

For a slow beginning, once murder happens the pace goes full steam. The characters are interesting but I kept on confusing the men. Fortunately, at the beginning of the book is a character list with notes. This was an enjoyment saver. Ann is constantly thinking on her feet which is a good thing because someone is either being killed or something is being used as a red herring. The identity of the killer was clever.

Review based on an advanced reader copy provided through Netgalley for an honest review.
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The Conventional Wisdom on MABEL SEELEY is "This book could be published today! It's so modern! And not racist!" This is all true. I loved the other recent reissue THE LISTENING HOUSE, which was gory in an wholly unexpected way. This title is not as bloody, but it is still really good. Sorry I can't add more than the madding crowd.
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