LUCILLE KALLEN – C. B. Greenfield: The Tanglewood Murders. Wyndham Books, hardcover, 1980. Ballantine, paperback, 1981.

   Have you ever noticed how much more you enjoy a mystery novel, say, when the setting is a local one, or one you know? Take, for example, Tanglewood. As everyone in most of New England, at least, must know, Tanglewood is the annual summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a small village and environs nestled up in the lush green hills of the Massachusetts Berkshires, close to the New York border.

   An apparent plot against the orchestra seems to be motivated by more than usual resentment lodges against them by the local townspeople, upset by the yearly influx of gawking tourists. Tackling an solving the murder that eventually results, in their second case, are C. B. Greenfield, crusty publisher of a weekly upstate New York newspaper, and his star reporter, Maggie Rome.

   It’s Maggie who does the legwork, and Greenfield, although long and lean, who supplies the Nero Wolfian ratiocination. While their combined detective technique lacks polish and remains determinedly amateurish is style, the two sleuths are most decidedly up to the intellectiual challenge of the musical clue left as a dying message – from Ravel’s “Rapsodie Espanole.” That, plus a helpful quote from Shakespeare, and the quiet serenity of one of this country’s most charming corners is quickly restored.

Rating: B plus.

–Very slightly revised from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 5, No. 1, January-February 1981.

      The C. B. Greenfield series –

1. Introducing C. B. Greenfield (1979)
2. The Tanglewood Murder (1980)
3. No Lady in the House (1982)
4. The Piano Bird (1985)
5. A Little Madness (1986)