MARGARET YORKE – Dead in the Morning. Patrick Grant #1. Geoffrey Bles Ltd, UK, hardcover, 1970. Bantam, US, paperback, 1982.

   A continuing character in many of Margaret Yorke’s early mysteries was Dr. Patrick Grant, an Oxford don, Dean of St. Marks. Some of the books have been published in this country. Some of the books have been published in this country by Walker [then others later in paperback by Bantam].

   The scene in Dead in the Morning, the first book in the series, however, is not academia at all. It’s between terms, and Dr. Grant is staying over with his sister, amusing himself in the meantime by snooping around for a mystery to solve. When the housekeeper of a neighboring family accidentally dies of barbiturate poisoning, his interests are piqued, to say the least.

   He plays the part of an interested bystander to the hilt — how the police stand for his interruptions and enthusiastic non-cooperation is impossible to fathom — and he glories in his role of benevolent meddler no end. He’s a likable fellow, mind you. His intentions, well, nothing could be finer, and they all seem to work out.

   The killer — for of course murder it is — fits the crime. Solid characterization means that the mystery can be seen through very early. The twist is so good, however, that if I’d have been wrong, I was going to use it in my own next novel, The writing, unfortunately, is only so-so.

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 4, No. 2, March-April 1980 (somewhat revised).

       The Patrick Grant series —

Dead in the Morning. Bles, 1970.
Silent Witness. Bles, 1972.
Grave Matters. Bles, 1973.
Mortal Remains. Bles, 1974.
Cast for Death. Hutchinson, 1976.