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Publisher's Summary

Republished for the first time in nearly 95 years, a classic winter country-house mystery by the founder of the Detection Club, with a twist that even Agatha Christie couldn’t solve! 

Stephen Munro, a demobbed army officer, reconciles himself to taking a job as a footman to make ends meet. Employed at Wintringham Hall, the delightful but decaying Sussex country residence of the elderly Lady Susan Carey, his first task entails welcoming her eccentric guests to a weekend house-party, at which her bombastic nephew—who recognises Stephen from his former life—decides that an after-dinner séance would be more entertaining than bridge. Then Cicely disappears!

With Lady Susan reluctant to call the police about what is presumably a childish prank, Stephen and the plucky Pauline Mainwaring take it upon themselves to investigate. But then a suspicious death turns the game into an altogether more serious affair....

This classic winter mystery incorporates all the trappings of the Golden Age—a rambling country house, a séance, a murder, a room locked on the inside, with servants, suspects and alibis, a romance—and an ingenious puzzle.

First published as a 30-part newspaper serial in 1926—the year The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was published, The Wintringham Mystery was written by Anthony Berkeley, founder of the famous Detection Club. Also known as Cicely Disappears, the Daily Mirror ran the story as a competition with a prize of £500 (equivalent to £30,000 today) for anyone who guessed the solution correctly. Nobody did—even Agatha Christie entered and couldn’t solve it. Can you?

©2021 Anthony Berkeley, A. Monmouth Platts, Tony Medawar (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"Detection and crime at its wittiest - all Berkeley’s stories are amusing, intriguing and he is a master of the final twist." (Agatha Christie)

"Anthony Berkeley is the supreme master not of the 'twist' but of the 'double-twist'." (Milward Kennedy in the Sunday Times)

What listeners say about The Wintringham Mystery

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Charming Light-hearted mystery

Wonderful entertainment for those who enjoy cozy mysteries from the Golden age. A particularly endearing example of the genre.

14 people found this helpful

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  • SB
  • 10-01-21

Just Ok

This is OK, but not as enjoyable as his other classic mysteries written under the alias Frances Iles, such as Before the Fact (basis for the film Suspicion) and Malice Aforethought. This one is a bit hokey and the narration is OK, but not great.

10 people found this helpful

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Delightful vintage detective story!

Starts off with a Woodhouse-like scene and quickly develops into a well plotted and exceedingly pleasant tale with a classic setting in a big country house with lots of guests. Have read two other Berkeley books about an upper class detective with a sometimes humorous but exagerated and absurdly clipped way of speaking. They were set against a dark war background with evil german spies and the plots were a bit unlikely. Actually, those books were not bad but this upbeat gem tops them easily! Great stuff! Recommended!

9 people found this helpful

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Amateur Night

After the precision of Poirot or the buttoned-up professionalism of Roderick Alleyn, Stephen Murno comes as a refreshing change. The little Belgian may smite his forehead and deplore his own stupidity, but no one else sees his error—an index of his preternatural acumen. Here we have a true amateur making a series of embarrassing mistakes. It’s all great good fun.

Obviously, the idea of a de-mobbed army officer and his ex-batman solving crimes is not exclusive to Dorothy Sayers. The opening chapter promises an engaging relationship between the two—a promise that never gets fulfilled. The romance paralleling the criminal storyline is more rewarding, as is the character of the chatelain of Wintringham Hall (“a cross old woman with a weakness for private detectives”). And the plot—one that Agatha Christie herself supposedly couldn’t solve—bucks the usual mystery story arc in several unexpected and satisfying ways. Mike Grady turns in a fine performance, gauged perfectly to the tone of the prose he’s reading.

6 people found this helpful

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Unexpectedly satisfying!

I loved this devious and cozy house party mystery! I recommend it highly to those who love a British mystery in a country house!

5 people found this helpful

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Dated charm if you overlook “sins” … Prejudices of its times

The narration of this audiobook is superb. The plot is pretty convoluted … there’s a pretty satisfactory conclusion in the end.
One might say that the author has some of the characters expressing veiled antisemitism, classism, and male superiority/sexism.
However, the female leads are depicted as being intelligent, determined, resourceful, and independent, with a sense of humor and a kind of maternal tolerance for blustering males… especially given the setting and time of the writing of the piece.
This is not an equal to any Agatha Christie story I’ve read, but it still has a place in the genre.

4 people found this helpful

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Ridiculous

If Dame Agatha couldn’t figure this out it is because it makes no sense and defies all the rules of mystery writing !

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Delightful

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this classic of the golden age. I think you have to appreciate these old stories for what they are and when they were written and try not to judge them based on current standards. I hope to find more stories like this on Audible. :)

1 person found this helpful

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Good, romantic, fun

This is a fun story, sending you on different paths of possibilities. The writing is good, the story was good, the narration was very good.
The romantic side of it doesn’t get too mushy, which is nice. And the mystery is solved satisfactorily. I LOVE all of Agatha Christie’s novels and once you’ve read read level of mystery writing it’s really hard not to compare everything else to her. So while she Great and amazing I would say this book was very good. Hope that helps! Definitely was worth the read ... well the listen rather :)

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Delightful!

Such an enjoyable cozy mystery!
At first I was surprised by the start of the story, not at all expecting the direction it seemed to be heading. Settled in and rewarded with a delightful tale, incredible narrator, and interesting peek into the life of those so many years ago.
HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Christopher Leach
  • 12-18-21

Good old fashioned mystery

sympathetic narrator breathing charm and old world manners into this enjoyable tale
mercifully free from bad language and gratuitous violence

8 people found this helpful

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  • Sheryl Mason
  • 12-19-21

Loved it!

I wasn't sure about this one as I'd read good and bad reviews but I really loved this laid back mystery. Mike Grady did a sterling job of narration and brought the book to life wonderfully. I'd half guessed the solution but not all of it, so I have to give Anthony Berkeley credit for that twist at the end.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jane Austen
  • 12-04-21

Enjoyable

I picked this on a whim but I really enjoyed it. The narrator did a good job and I liked the story. Easy listening whilst doing other jobs!

4 people found this helpful

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  • K E Webb
  • 01-22-22

Enjoyable

Intriguing and amusing with enough suspense to keep it interesting.
A ‘ cosy ‘ mystery maybe but none the worse for it . Likeable characters and satisfying ending .

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 12-22-21

A good winter's yarn

Loved it. Can't wait to read more Anthony Berkeley books. Lots of twists and turns in the plot

2 people found this helpful

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  • S.W.
  • 11-07-21

Standard fare

A reasonably good early golden age mystery - the journey being more entertaining than the destination. Shame that the narrator wasn’t told how to pronounce ‘Mainwaring’ properly

2 people found this helpful

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  • taptoflow
  • 01-19-22

Pleasant enough

but Agatha Christie at her best it ain't. Feels very dated. The reader has a pleasant voice that lulled me off to sleep beautifully.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Andrea
  • 04-06-22

Enjoyable golden age mystery

I really enjoyed this mystery from the golden age of crime fiction. Classic whodunnit. Well worth a read.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-14-22

Very enjoyable

Uncomplicated and thoroughly enjoyable story which ticks along nicely. The main characters are very familiar and relatable.

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  • Evelyn
  • 05-23-22

Really Enjoyed this trip back in time

Old fashioned and thoroughly delightful, characters were lovely. Would recommend for cosy mystery readers. The narrator had a beautiful voice perfect for the role, I love it when you forget that the narrator is male or female.

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  • elizabeth b.
  • 02-01-22

Super duper

I’m now looking for another book written by Anthony Berkeley as I’ve enjoyed this so much. It’s lovely to hear a gentle fun romantic story. Yes very good.