Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Just the Facts Category: When — During a special event: birthday, village fete, etc.
Cloak and Dagger Challenge #46
Date Finished: April 26, 2018
Asey Mayo’s presence is requested by his distant cousin at the Billingsgate Old Home Week, celebrating the town’s anniversary with festivals, carnivals, fireworks, pageants, radio programs, and tourists. Asey is asked to be honorary police chief, in part due to some na’er-do-well causing some trouble, and possibly bad publicity, which deter tourists and their financial outpouring that the town is counting on to put them back in the black. Shots have been fired at some of the town’s leading citizens and selectmen. When the woman running an antique shop has her head blown off with a shotgun, Asey and company attempt to investigate while keeping it all quiet and out of the newspapers.
The hubbub around the town festival affects the mystery, as Asey and the various suspects are rushing around here and there with little chance for the reader to take stock of the mystery. There are a number of characters to keep straight, which was not helped by the large print digital PDF edition from the Open Library, which has all the text in bold. These mid-period Aseys are fun reads, though, and Asey is a much more active participant than those early in the series, which were related through a middle-aged widow/spinster narrator, judging Asey as some sort of New England oddity. That amusement at the New England yokels is gone from Taylor’s story by this point in the series, and what remains is a fun comedy mystery.