Dark Thrill reviews: A most efficient murder by Anthony Slayton

The Earl of Unsworth gathers his family for a very special announcement. He has no children and is getting on with age, so it is obvious where this will be going. But then, the body of a young woman is found in the garden of his estate. The Earl's young niece found her, and before the police can even get there to investigate, the Earl tasks his loyal secretary Mr. Quayle to contain the situation, squash the scandal, and, if he can, solve the murder. But saving the family name is priority number one. 

Not one of the guest steps forward, when Inspector Wintle arrives and asks if anybody recognizes the dead woman, she seem to be a complete mystery. But soon, people start disappearing, a riddle takes hold of the crowd, the inheritance is questioned, and long-lost secret relationships come to light. While Quayle deftly, with tact and dedication, is hunting the killer, it becomes evident that none of the guests has a clear conscience; they are all lying through their teeth. 

A perfect cozy Agatha Christie-like murder mystery that is historically compelling and doesn't veer off into pastiche territory. The thing I admired the most about the book is how it subtly modernized the genre; even if we are dealing with several WWI wounded soldiers, it is fast-paced, moving like a freight train, and never feels gimmicky.