“The Murder Quadrille”

quadrille“The Murder Quadrille” starts with a dinner attended by six people, but this is not just a nice story about a gathering of friends. All is not well in sleepy little suburban England, and after that evening, things will never be the same for any of the attendees again.

Each chapter starts with the description of a dance, the moves loosely describing the action as characters move, sway, sidestep, interact, and navigate through situations. The story is told in alternating chapters from the points of view of the various dinner attendees. One person is arrested for murder, but whom did he murder? Can his lawyer get him off? However, the lawyer has problems of his own. Things get more complicated on every page.

The tale is hilarious filled with intrigue, lies, and laughs. The participants talk to the reader and talk to themselves. They lament, weep, wail, chastise, conspire, and plot, all in that uniquely British way. The language alone makes the book an experience in colorful vocabulary acquisition (buggeration) and unless knowledge. (“Dead bodies are big clumsy things which weigh a ton and are hard to disguise.”) After all, “something serious was afoot.”

Quiet, normal people are everything but that, and readers eagerly follow along when the policeman requests, “Let’s go walkies.” There are twists and turns on every page, and blood drips from the book cover and everywhere else. This is book is strange, creepy, and uproariously entertaining. It is quick to read and readers will laugh their way through secretive murders, gabbling of inane platitudes, and the demise of flowerbeds.