A Grave Misunderstanding: A Simon Grave Mystery - Book Review

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Book Review of :  A Grave Misunderstanding: A Simon Grave Mystery


Len Boswell’s “ A Grave Misunderstanding” published by Black Rose Writing is a classic whodunit with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing to the end. Boswell’s easy writing style and outlandish characters make for a fun read that is difficult to put down.

The story opens with Detective Simon Grave studying a murder scene in the foyer of a mansion. The residence of Darius Hawthorn CEO at Ramrod Robots. A young woman lays dead. She has been posed with a rose in her mouth, a suction cup dart on her forehead, and an emoji drawn on her torso. One of her hands has been removed and lays nearby. Oh, and upstairs there is a room filled with people locked in and banging on the door. Detective Grave is excited. In his twenty years on the force, he has never had a murder case in a mansion.

Grave with his trusty sidekick Sergeant Barry Blunt, who is only remarkable for being so unremarkable that he is hard to see, head upstairs to interrogate the people locked in the room. There are seven people in the room. Well six, if you don’t count Smithers, the android butler. The group knows nothing about the murder but are beside themselves because the gem incrusted MacGuffin yacht club trophy is missing from the locked room.

The following day, while Grave continues to interview suspects at the mansion, another murder occurs. He then finds there are ten more androids in the basement. They are the staff of the house, and all look just like Peter O’Toole. It seems things are about to get really weird.

The book has the feel of a Steam Punk novel.  It has people with names like “Epiphany,” and “Philomena.”  It has a detective who is very cagey and likes to use a shabby, scatterbrained facade to hide his brilliance, similar to the tactics used by detective Columbo.   It has robots that have advanced abilities that are almost human.  An artist who paints a multitude of pictures of red fish. However, its artfulness, campiness,  clutter of fantastic inventions are essential to the plot and not mere set dressing.   This gives you something of the flavor of this deliciously entertaining book.  It’s to Boswell’s credit that his numerous campy characters are irresistibly charming, although one of them is routinely dispatching hapless souls to their eternal resting place.

I won’t spoil the fun by telling you how it all works out, but rest assured Detective Graves gives us all the answers. Well, almost all. Although he finds the answer to the burning question “ Why is life like a tuna sandwich?” he doesn’t share that answer with us.

About Len Boswell


I was born in a hospital that has since been torn down, grew up on a street that has since changed its name, in a house that has since changed its number. Everywhere around me my life seems to be erasing itself. Before the eraser wears out and rips through the paper of my life, I spend my days writing furiously against the darkness. As grim as that sounds, my books tend toward the humorous. In fact, not reading my books could put you seriously out of touch with frivolity.

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