TIED UP WITH STRINGS by Madeline McEwen
The First Serebral Seniors Mystery
American Betty Grape has come to a remote English village to spend Christmas with her friend's daughter. Once in Abbeyvayle however, Betty discovers the young woman behaving oddly. Why is she so unpleasant to the neighbors? Why is she so forgetful? And what's the real story behind the professor and his wife, whose cottage Catia is house sitting. There seem to be more questions than answers this holiday season.
TIED UP WITH STRINGS is a traditional mystery with a traditional setting-a remote English village during Christmastime. There is not much time to develop plot or characters in novellas and short stories. Neither were developed here, particularly the plot. What might be considered the prime mystery involved heinous crimes, but we never even meet the victims. When the truth is discovered, it's merely stated that the police will take care of it. It's a throw away.
I did like the concept of this novella. The story itself, interesting, if only it were flushed out. If we got to meet the professor, his wife, and Marmalade and focused on that part of the mystery we as readers might be more invested. As it is we have a disagreeable young woman acting oddly and the protagonist trying to sort things out. When the secondary mystery is resolved we get a nice ending, but incongruous behavior.