In the Crypt with a Candlestick

Pegasus Crime. Oct. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781643138053. $25.95. M
In the latest historical mystery by Waugh (Honeyville; Last Dance with Valentino), Sir Ecgbert Tode dies at 93, leaving behind a widow who is eager to escape Tode Hall, wanting to spend her time in Capri. However, none of her three children are willing to take on the estate. Instead, Lady Emma Tode turns it over to a nephew, Egbert, and his wife India. Desperate for help in managing the property, India hires Alice Liddell, whose grandmother was once housekeeper at Tode Hall, although Alice has never held an actual job. It seems Alice is to be a friend to India, and “manager of fun.” There’s no fun to be had on the day Lady Emma’s body is found in the family crypt; she appears to have been murdered. No one but the family ghost seems to care to investigate, though. Instead, India invites social media celebrities to the estate. As in numerous comedies, chaos ensues with sexual and drunken escapades, murder accusations, and another death. The power of money allows everything to be swept under the rug in the end.
VERDICT The unconventional mystery has no active murder investigation and a cast of unlikable, flawed characters. What is supposed to be a British farce falls flat.
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