When Miss Seeton walks out of a performance of Carmen and witnesses a real-life stabbing, all she can recall is a shadowy figure. But how could even she have guessed that her latest artistic endeavour is a picture-perfect portrait of the killer? Her caricature, however, puts her in a perilous position, for back at her rustic cottage in Plummergen, she’s fated to be a sitting duck . . . for murder most foul! Meet Miss Emily D. Seeton: Retired art teacher Miss Seeton steps in where Scotland Yard stumbles. Armed with only her sketch pad and umbrella, she is every inch an eccentric English spinster and the most lovable and unlikely master of detection.
Sissy: Miss Seeton is hilarious! I guess we were too young to hear about her when this first book originally came out. She is a charming mashup of Miss Marple and Mrs. Pollifax with the added bonus of a paranormal sketch artist. We are never told why Miss Seeton has her psychic drawing ability and flashes of what might be called visions, but those talents really add to the interesting-ness of the story.
Bubby: Let’s back up the bus for just a minute, Sissy. Heron Carvic, our author, (21 January 1913 – 9 February 1980) was actually a rather famous actor, starting on BBC radio back in the 1930’s. He didn’t start writing books until the 1960’s and Picture Miss Seeton is his first book, published in 1968. He went on to write four more Miss Seeton titles and they are now being re-released one at a time by Prelude Books. I had trouble defining what era the book was set in initially because I thought it was a new release, but after a few pages it just didn’t matter. I was enthralled! I can’t wait to read the rest of the titles as they become available again.
Sissy: We would put a picture of Heron Carvic in here but we could find NO PICTURES of him anywhere. It’s almost as if someone has searched the media and interwebs and removed all images of him. Now there’s a mystery to be solved! Back to Miss Seeton: She has newly settled in a cottage in the village of Plummergen, a place chock full of deliciously quirky characters. The equally eccentric Miss Seeton is an unlikely sleuth, but her keen mind and insights are appreciated by the responsible and steadfast Scotland Yard Superintendent Delphick. Juxtaposed with this are the innumerable scrapes and hilarious situations Miss Seeton finds herself in and almost accidentally gets herself out of. I laughed out loud a few times, which is normally something only Bubby does.
Bubby: How far through the book did it take you to figure out that they called the Superintendent “Oracle” because his last name is Delphick? Sergeant Bob Ranger’s attempts at courting are quite possibly the funniest and most endearing thing I’ve ever read. The dialogue in Picture Miss Seeton is so clever, I feel that the Miss Seeton books should be required reading for any author attempting to write a cozy mystery. This, people, is how it is masterfully done!
Sissy: Obviously we enjoyed this fantastic discovery of 40 plus year old excellent fiction. Just as obviously, we are anxious to read the next four original Heron Carvic’s Miss Seeton novels. Picture Miss Seeton was nominated for an Edgar Award in 1969, and that nomination was well deserved. Witty, compelling writing like this should not be missed!
Bubby: I just loved this book. You’ll love it too. I have nothing more to say!
Click HERE to buy Picture Miss Seeton by Heron Carvic