The Lane Fleming collection of early pistols and revolvers was one of the best in the country. When Fleming was found dead on the floor of his locked gunroom, a Confederate-made Colt-type percussion .36 revolver in his hand, the coroner’s verdict was “death by accident.” But Gladys Fleming had her doubts. Enough at any rate to engage Colonel Jefferson Davis Rand—better known just as Jeff—private detective and a pistol-collector himself, to catalogue, appraise, and negotiate the sale of her late husband’s collection.
When I saw this audio book over at Librivox all I saw was the name of the author, "H. Beam Piper". I knew that name from a number of good SciFi audio books, so thinking I had another classic SciFi story I downloaded without reading the official blurb.
So imagine my shock when I discover it's not filled with fighting space ships but is rather set on earth in times gone by, and is a murder mystery!
Once my shock was over I settled down to listening. The story is slow paced and takes a chapter or two just deciding if there has even been a murder. That aside it has a lot going for it.
The author certainly seems to know his antique pistols and brings that to the book in spades which is just as well as it focuses on a collection of these things and is filled with characters who also know a lot about them.
The lead character is attractive to all fans of the murder mystery, he has the usual methodical approach that reveals the story and put pressure onto the prospective murderers. He reminded me at times of Columbo.
I especially liked the way the author described the other characters, from their dress to how they smoke, he manages to evoke their attitude and tone without labouring the point.
I was happy with the ending and wasn't left cold by the end result. It was a satisfying ending.
The reading was really very good. The reader paced himself very well, I'm not sure what it was but his narration let the story slip into my ear, and mind at a "comfortable" pace. The result was very good. I'll be looking out for this reader again.
Total Score 6/9
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Listen to the first chapter