Farewell My Herring honours the best Golden Age Mysteries traditions in the most meta satirical way
In Farewell My Herring, our protagonists are Ethelred Tressider, an author, and Elsie Thirkettle, his agent. They are invited to Fell Hall, a manor in the middle of nowhere that offers an exclusive and immersive creative writing course. All the lecturers arrive the day before the course begins, as do a couple of attendees who decided to ignore the rules and show up a day early. During dinner, tension starts to build as it seems that one of the guests has a hidden agenda of her own.
A heavy snowfall traps the characters in the manor, and then one of them goes missing. Without any ways to communicate with the outside world until the snow stops, Tressider and Thirkettle take it upon themselves to lead the investigation.
Tyler did a really good job creating an atmosphere that evoked both the classic isolated mystery tension and a satirical take on popular mystery tropes. Farewell My Herring is a book that delivers a great whodunnit without taking itself too seriously. Tressider and Thirkettle banter is reminiscent of Carr’s detectives and reminded me a lot of Sir Henry Merrivale tongue in cheek demeanor. It reads delightfully satirical and witty.
Although I enjoyed the overall tone of Farewell My Herring, it took me a while to get into the book because too many characters were introduced at the same time. I felt like I only knew the protagonists and Claire until about 1/3 of the way in. I think it is just a matter of preference, as I do like backstories. I also feel that the book lost me a little bit with the espionage subplot. These are just minute reader preferences that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book!
Tyler stayed true to the Golden Age Mystery traditions and played fair with his plot. He also excelled at meshing vintage tropes and atmosphere with very modern references, characters, and dialogues. Farewell My Herring is the 9th book in the Herring Mysteries series, and I will be checking his other books!
Thank you, Allison & Busby, L. C. Tyler and NetGalley for an advanced copy of Farewell My Herring in exchange for an honest review.
My total rating: 4.33