In an unpronouncable town living with a devilishly clever aunt, Edward Powell is convinced his life would improve immeasurably after the “Murder of my Aunt”.
Edward decides to play a battle of wits to the death with his Aunt Mildred. However, Edward is playing with only half a deck, if you know what I mean.
Edward hates Wales, hates the countryside but hates his aunt most of all. His dream is to write light poetry, which he expects no one will read, while living in Paris or Rome. To reach his goal, Edward only has to murder Aunt Mildred and not get caught. Easy, right? He daydreams constantly about how to do it: leave an obstacle in the road for his aunt to crash into, set her car on fire while she is already dead within it, or use an electrical device to set her car’s fuel tank aflame. He settles on tampering with the car’s steering and brakes in the hope that Aunt Mildred will careen off the mountainous road near their home. To ensure the accident occurs on the steepest part of the road, Edward plots how to have his beloved dog, So-so, cross the road in front of his aunt at the highest point. Of course, his plan goes hilariously awry.
Watching hapless Edward try and kill his much smarter aunt is laugh-out-loud funny. Any fans of Donald Westlake’s Dortmunder gang will certainly see parallels between Murder of My Aunt and the Hot Rock. Literally everything that could go wrong does.
Watching pretentious Edward make mistake after mistake is fun. Murder of My Aunt was originally published in 1934. It is a great choice for British golden age mystery fans who want a lighter look at murder. It would also be a good choice for Stephanie Plum devotees because it has the same madcap seat-of-your-pants feeling. 4 stars!
Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley for an advanced copy.