SIMON BRETT – Mrs. Pargeter’s Package. Scribner’s, hardcover, 1991. Warner, reprint paperback, 1992. UK edition: Macmillan, hardcover, 1990.

SIMON BRETT Mrs. Pargeter's Package

   Mrs. Pargeter, the widow of a master criminal with lots of friends, decides to accompany an old friend, Joyce Dover (is this name in homage to Joyce Porter, author of the Dover books?) herself a recent widow, on a package tour of Corfu in Greece.

   As they go through Customs, she asks Mrs. Pargeter to carry a package for her, and the next day Joyce’s body turns up, an apparent suicide. Mrs. Pargeter is, of course, suspicious. She slept a bit too soundly the night of her friend’s death, and their luggage seems to have been searched.

   Worse, the local police seem entirely too anxious to label the death Suicide and forget about it. But stranger still, the package Mrs. Pargeter was carrying for her friend turns out to be a bottle of Ouzo: So why was Joyce smuggling Greek Wine into Greece?

   Myself, I can’t fathom why Brett is becoming so enamoured of Mrs. Pargeter when Charles Paris is such a much more entertaining character. Mrs. P., despite her friends, is pretty much interchangeable with any number of LOLs, and this case is completely conventional and without a single memorable incident.

— September 1993.