Murder at the Fitzwilliam – Jim Eldridge

“Daniel Wilson stood before the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, taking in the wide stone steps that led up to the eight tall white pillars that supported the ornately sculpted frieze at the front of the building.

I somehow managed to start this series with book 2, but with the latest instalment due out soon I thought I might start back at the first book. I’ve also fairly enjoyed the newer series by the author, the Hotel Mysteries, and I have to say the format does not vary at all: an upright man of law and a ‘strong’ female character try to sort out a murder, while a useless police officer gets bitter at the interference with cases.

I really liked the idea of this book, anyway, seeing as it revolved around the ancient Egyptian exhibition and is set in late 1800s Cambridge. Ex-policeman, Daniel Wilson, has moved into private detection after working on the Jack the Ripper case prior to this book. He soon meets Abigail, a feisty female museum curator constantly pushing against the treatment of her gender, and the pair set about investigating the dead bodies in the museum – that is, two fresh corpses, as well as a missing mummy!

These books aren’t exactly what I think of as ‘cosy’ mystery, but nor are they particularly dark or tense. I was in need of a lighter kind of read, and these do fit that bill.

The mystery itself was well enough handled, relying on police investigation techniques rather than coincidences or sudden insights. However, the characters are so-so at best. Abigail annoyed me with her uptight woman with ‘modern’ ideas and self-worth, but who berates herself for a doomed love affair in the past – while fair throwing herself at a few likely choices here. She wasn’t as irritating as her flippity sister, right enough, thankfully only a side character.

Both Abigail and Daniel suffer greatly from far too much ‘in their heads’ moments, mooning after each other, jumping to conclusions – sort of stiff and mannered, but also far too 20th Century. Daniel is also very much a Gary-Stu, as they say – practically perfect in every way. Yawn.

Still, for a light read, it fit the bill, and I will be continuing with the series – I’ve a fair ways to go, with book 8 (Murder at the Victoria and Albert Museum) due out next week.

Murder at the Fitzwilliam book coverKindle: 320 pages / 58 chapters
First published: 2018
Series: Museum Mysteries book 1
Read from 4th-7th July 2022

My rating: 6/10

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