I remember, back in the 70s – when I fled to cozy British mysteries addictively, to give my brain a break from that busy life – reading Miss Seeton mysteries and really liking their Britishness and the intuitive drawings Miss Seeton used to solve each case.
So it was fun to find a Miss Seeton from 1994, which I had not read. The series was begun by Heron Carvic, and at his death the mantle passed to Hamilton Charles, and now Hamilton Crane, a pseudonym for Sarah J. Mason.
Miss Seeton Rules is fun, and has all the now well built up characteristics and supporting cast of Miss Seeton, including Scotland Yard’s Chief Superintendent Delphick. But her dithering-ness has not really stood the test of time.
A beloved British princess comes to Plummergen – and is kidnapped while touring a nuclear plant. Miss Seeton is on the scene, helping keep the flower girl calm and settled. But Miss Seeton’s yellow necklace sets off the radiation detectors (uranium), the princess is kidnapped, and the adventure goes into high gear. All this is happening just before Guy Fawkes Day,November 5 – the commemoration of high treason in England hundreds of years ago.
It is a good mystery, with a terrific princess, clues, chases. And Miss Seeton’s eccentricities are mostly adorable. But that dithering-ness, going on for paragraphs about how she should address the princess – which whom she is by this time also held in captivity – is jarringly out of tune with these times, and so distracts from the well written tale. She is too smart to dither this way!