What was the truth behind the terrible events that took place one night at a lonely French villa? All that we really know is that the rich and elderly French woman who lived at the villa has been murdered, her house has been ransacked - and all the evidence points at the involvement of her young companion, Celie. But is that possible? Or is Celie very much a victim?
Those are the questions raised in "At The Villa Rose," by A. E. W. Mason, first published in 1910, and one of the earliest detective novels. Mason's detective, Inspector Hanaud of the French Surete, was a popular rival in his day to Sherlock Holmes. In this book, it is Hanaud and only Hanaud who is able to analyze the evidence and follow it to its correct conclusion - while the reader most likely will have been led astray by the constant misinterpretation of the narrator, one Mr. Ricardo.
"At the Villa Rose" is the subject of this week's review on the Classic Mysteries podcast, and you can listen to the full review by clicking here. For a novel now over a century old, it holds up remarkably well.