It was just like Morrison to be a nuisance even when he was dead. Ford, the harried Secretary of the Whitehall Club, is desperate to please even the most disagreeable members to just be left in peace. So, it is a huge inconvenience for Ford when one of the club’s most vexatious members is found possibly poisoned and most definitely dead. It will be terrible for the club’s reputation and it seems easier for all if he finds a way to keep it quiet. Dr Anstruther is enlisted to help him cover up the death. He finds Ford irksome and ultimately useless but the Club means too much to him to see it dragged through a media frenzy. And besides, Anstruther was the victim’s doctor: as far as he’s concerned, Morrison may have even had a heart condition… But Cardonnel, the club lawyer (and stickler for protocol), is sniffing too close to the coverup. And when Ford and Anstruther start receiving blackmailing notes, they begin acting very odd indeed. With so many eyes on them, will they really be able to keep it quiet?
Keep It Quiet is a reissued 1935 Comedy of Manners set in a middling Gentlemen’s Club in London. It nicely satirises the minutiae of club life and the fussy habits of its members and has a wry, world-weary, almost meandering style, which I quite liked for a change from, say, a dark, modern psychological thriller.
Although it is not a traditional whodunit, there is a villain to unmask and there are a few red herrings thrown in for who this might be. It is cleverly plotted but perhaps for me a little unevenly paced: it was a bit slow in the middle, some of the minutiae got a little too tedious or some of the meandering a little too long.
That said it develops well; there is a mid-book twist and a surprising ending as well as a couple of subplots that are tied up nicely by the end. It features a great cast of characters, my particular favourite being the indefatigable Cardonnel.
I would recommend this to anyone looking for a gentle, light-hearted period piece that is a little different. Thank you to NetGalley and Agora Books for the ARC of Keep It Quiet.