I do like a good murder mystery and Suspicion by A.D. Hay is not a bad effort at all.
The book opens well with the reader seeing one of the main characters in the novella, Elizabeth, coming into her darkened flat, late at night, the worse for wear and it is tense and suspenseful. The murder takes place shortly after and it is soon after that that we meet our hero, James Lalonde.
Editor of a newspaper in Northampton, England, Lalonde is a Frenchman under pressure from the demands of his job and a potentially dying relationship. When his reporter fails to turn up for work, he welcomes the distraction of interviewing Elizabeth about her work, only to find that her apartment is the scene of a murder. When she subsequently calls on James as a contact when arrested, he finds himself involved in the investigation in a bid to clear Elizabeth. However, with a lack of evidence pointing to anyone else, this is tricky.
At the centre of the murder is a sword, believed to be Excalibur but found in fragments and as this has also been taken, there is a lot at stake for Elizabeth in clearing her name for the killing and also the theft, to continue to pursue her passion for archaeology.
Day is a competent writer and the narrative flows easily with a thread throughout which is easy to follow. Dialogue is snappy and conveys a sense of character but I did feel that the relationships and the characters themselves could have been developed in more depth. Lalonde is likeable but I felt like he could be more charismatic as the potential was there; however, this did not always come through in the story. He is capable and honest and sensitive and all of the other things that you would expect from your hero and his Frenchness automatically gives him that outsider presence, an observer on the periphery, that is present in the protagonist of all atmospheric detective novels. As this is a first novella, perhaps this will be something that becomes more pronounced in subsequent books.
If you like murder mysteries that are easy to read and not too dark in their content, then this is a perfect choice.