Since mystery writers think current mystery readers only want cats, dogs (magical or non-magical), witches, heroines who are opening B&B’s, bakeries, cafes and spending a lot of time following and sharing recipes, it’s always a relief to discover a mystery without any of these elements. Charlotte MacCleod wrote mysteries BEFORE all these popular 21st century trends.
(BTW, if a writer wants to write cats, dogs, magical or non-magical, witches, heroines who are opening B&B’s, bakeries, cafes and spending a lot of time following and sharing recipes—she or he is free to do so. But personally I can only take so much!)
Anyway this book is set in of all places, Wales. That’s uncommon. However, it fits with the Madoc and Janet Rhys series. Madoc is a Canadian Mountie and his wife is a woman suited to being married to one. Anyway, the Rhys family gathers in Wales to celebrate the 90th birthday of an uncle, the head of the Rhys family. All would have been well IF they hadn’t included a couple of annoying shirt-tail relations, a brother and sister who were some of the most unique and annoying characters I’d ever read. But so real! We’ve all met variations of them—people who have unique—oh, let’s be honest—odd or outlandish ideas and theories. And they want to share them with everyone all the time. Goodness. I was ready to lock these two in a closet myself.
But their propensity to bore people to distraction isn’t what caused disaster. Many years before a locomotive of circumstances (for which one of them was responsible) had begun and the brother and sister couldn’t stop the train that led to murder. I must say that the whole cast of characters ran true and fascinating in their unique personalities and connections. In an age where families are becoming smaller and smaller and less connected (that’s my take on this), to see the portrayal of a large family of 2nd, 3rd, 5th cousins was definitely interesting. And the mystery elements were consistent, arriving just in time to keep the story rolling along! If you like quirky characters in an interesting locale with an unusual mystery, you might give The Wrong Rite a try.
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