So I’ve read the last three books of Sarah Caudwell’s Hilary Tamar series, and found all of them a delight. The epistolary structure continues throughout (taking a detour into “telexes,” whatever those were—some kind of telegram, I assume—at one point), as do the murders. (As does, though I didn’t emphasize this when talking about the first one, the focus on the legal aspects of wills and trusts—Caudwell is definitely writing what she knows here.)

The writing remains droll, the characters charmingly arch, and the mysteries interesting. If I were looking for criticisms, I might note that the plot of the fourth is a bit loose, and that Caudwell has a tendency to make unpleasant people physically ugly and fat in a way that is, let’s charitably say, “old-fashioned.” But I’m not really looking for criticisms, because I enjoyed the heck out of these. If you like the first one, you’ll definitely want to read them all in a row, so clear out that much space on your reading calendar when you start.


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