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The Warrielaw Jewel ‘Listen I see I’d better take you into my confidence’ ‘I’d rather you didn’t’ I said Betty Morrison a lawyer’s wife is flung into the society of an ancient Edinburgh family the Warrielaws There’s Neil the Rip Cora the Siren Rhoda the Business Woman and Alison the little Beauty – not to mention the formidable elderly Jessica and her meek sister Mary The family all possess unusual gold green eyes – and harbour a precious and historic jewel a bauble under constant threat of theft The alarmed Betty will become a crucial witness in a case that includes mysterious disappearances of gems and people as well as wholesale murder The Warrielaw Jewel was originally published in 1933 This new edition features an introduction by crime fiction historian Martin Edwards

About the Author: Winifred Peck

Lady Winifred Peck née Knox born 1882 was a member of a remarkable family Her father was Edmund Arbuthnott Knox the fourth Bishop of Manchester and her siblings were E V Knox editor of Punch magazine Ronald Knox theologian and writer Dilly Knox cryptographer Wilfred Lawrence Knox clergyman and Ethel Knox Peck’s niece was the Booker Prize winning author Penelope Fitzgerald who wro

10 thoughts on “The Warrielaw Jewel

  1. Carol She& Carol She& says:

    The aristocratic Edinburgh family is famed for three things a fabulous jewel that has been in the family's possession for hundreds of years their unusual blazing gold green eyes and being as crazy as loonsNewly married new to Edinburgh Betty Morrison a marvellous narrator is reluctantly drawn into the Warrielaw world And of course eventually there is a crimeI loved this book Published in 1933 this was a historical whodunnit about early 20th century Edinburgh I loved learning the details of life that Betty dropped like the pride in early car ownership that prisoners on remand weren't allowed to smoke A large vivid caste of characters that Peck breathed life into so I didn't have any trouble telling them apartThere was one moment where I was on the edge of my seat I can't remember feeling so fearful for a fictional character in uite some timeThere is an unusual device at 72% for meemployed in this book I have never come across this before but I really liked it It helped focus my readingYou may be wondering with all this praise why this book wasn't 5★While this book was a great detective novel debut it did have a few flaws One person is portrayed far sympathetically in the latter part of the book can't be put down to the narrator getting to know him better or a plot twist It felt like Peck had changed her mind but couldn't be bothered rewriting like many Golden Age mysteries a far too long exposition at the endTip; I think skimming this exposition would be fineBut I think it is a real shame that Lady Peck only wrote one further detective story and that was around a decade later I hope to get to this one before the end of the year

  2. Susan Susan says:

    Originally published in 1933 this is one of two mysteries written by Winifred Peck – the other being “Arrest the Bishop?” – as well as a number of other works I first came across Winifred Peck while reading “The Knox Brothers” by Penelope Fitzgerald about her uncle’s; one of whom was Ronald Knox a founder member of the Detection Club That family also had two sisters of which Winifred was one and I was intrigued to read something by herThis mystery is set in 1909 when Betty marries John Morrison a partner in an Edinburgh law firm Through him she meets the Warrilaw’s – a family at war over their large old fashioned house and an expensive jewel When one of the sisters is killed Betty finds herself in the middle of the mystery and a witness who could hold the key to the answer of what happened I liked the characters in this book with the artistic Neil the elderly sisters Jessica and Mary forceful Rhoda Cora and pretty Alison Betty’s brother Dennis who falls heavily for Alison is also involved in the investigation along with Bob Stuart a private investigator called in by Betty’s husband John Although it is set before WWI as though Betty is telling the story to her children this is very much a Golden Age mystery – where the author stops the story at one point; exhorting the reader to work out ‘whodunnit’ at that point As a fan of mysteries from this era I am delighted so many previously out of print authors are getting a new lease of life I found this an interesting read and look forward to reading by this author

  3. Elizabeth (Alaska) Elizabeth (Alaska) says:

    I didn't get very far before I decided this is just too awful to keep reading Maybe too awful isn't uite fair but at least it just isn't good enough for me to struggle over

  4. Abigail Bok Abigail Bok says:

    This is a well written capable mystery from the Golden Age Published in the 1930s it is set before World War I For me it lacked a certain spark a uirkiness of character a whimsy or Wimsey that raises a story to five stars But it had strong characters and plenty of complexity to baffle the reader and the solution was not obviousNarrated by the young wife of an Edinburgh lawyer it focuses on a family represented by her husband the Warrielaws a family who have developed mutual resentments over generations As usual in such situations who will inherit and what they will inherit are the focus of conflict The Warrielaws are a pretty unpleasant bunch so when a key member of the family goes missing there is plenty of suspicion to go around There is an ancestral home and an heirloom jewel to uarrel over as well as all the petty feuds that develop when people who think highly of their heritage live in too close proximityFor some readers all the unpleasantness could be too much and the non Warrielaw characters are not well developed enough to provide much relief In particular I was a bit sueamish about one of the lower class characters in service to the family But the mystery itself is twisty and rife with confusing detail I enjoyed the book even if it didn't set me on fire

  5. Jan C Jan C says:

    It took a while for me to get interested in this But eventually it caught fire for me I was going along half drowsing when all of a sudden this unpleasant family was in an argument over a jewel and Mrs Betty Morrison noticed that her husband a lawyer or solicitor was being drawn into it because he had the misfortune of working for the firm that had drawn up the trustwill documents Next thing you know somebody turns up deadMs Peck is author Ronald Knox's sister I think that two other brothers were also writers A brief biography by Martin Edwards tells how they would go to other restores for vacations and would create stories about the occupants from the photographs on the wall Perhaps something to bear in mind before renting out the houseLike Ellery ueen she offers the reader the opportunity to review the provided information and see if they know who the murderer is I did view spoiler Only because she was the most unpleasant character I could think ofspoiler hide spoiler

  6. Les Wilson Les Wilson says:

    A good readThis is an excellent crime story but I did not enjoy it uite as much as her “Arrest the Bishop”

  7. Jill Jill says:

    I did like this book as the plot was good and the characters were interesting once I had sorted them out Set in the Edwardian era in Edinburgh we encounter the feuds and ill feeling of the clans and families The family in uestion have a long history revolving around a jeweled pendant and it's worth The narrator being a solicitor's English wife who I did find a little annoying I did feel that the book was dragged out longer than necessary but it was uniue insofar as at one point the book tells you to stop reading and decide from the information you have read what the outcome will be

  8. Susan Kavanagh Susan Kavanagh says:

    A 35

  9. Elisabeth Elisabeth says:

    The Warrielaw Jewel is historical murder mystery set in Edwardian era Edinburgh revolving around the bitterly conflict ridden Warrielaw family a once wealthy clan whose remaining members are at odds over whether to sell a valuable family heirloom Narrator Betty Morrison newlywed young wife of the Warrielaw family lawyer becomes a rather unwilling witness to the struggle through her social obligations to her husband's clients and later when the conflict culminates in murder a witness in the case and part of the murder investigationThe pros of the book are that as a historical novel it's very good the setting the characters and their behavior all seem to have the appropriate flavor of the times—much better than you often see in recent historical mysteries I also appreciated the fact that author didn't find it necessary to have her female narrator spend all her time chafing at conventions or defying societal expectations—and yet even as a respectable married woman who doesn't defy convention Betty is able to take an active part in aiding the murder investigation without doing anything that feels out of character for the period The mystery itself is suitably absorbing too I did spot the vital clue when it happened though there was plenty of who and how that I had to wait to see filled inThe cons? Although Betty her husband and young brother who are all involved in the investigation are very normal and likeable characters the sheer unpleasantness of most of the Warrielaw family and the mood of bleakness evoked in scenes set at their ancestral home begins to weigh the whole thing down after a while especially in the last few chapters Also near the conclusion Betty makes a decision to withhold a certain piece of knowledge that's hard to sympathize with given the havoc that has been wreaked by the guilty party Some of the strong sympathy expressed for one suspect left me a bit cold as well given that the person wasn't introduced as a particularly likeable or praiseworthy characterIf you don't mind the gloomy atmosphere though it's uite a workmanlike historical whodunit

  10. Kathy Kathy says:

    Edinburgh was not in those days a city but a fortuitous collection of clans Beneath a society always charming and interesting on the surface and delightful to strangers lurked a history of old hatreds family uarrels feuds as old as the black DouglasIt sounded like a book I might enjoy but the writing and viewpoint was formal yet rambling To explain the plot it is enough to refer to history of old hatreds family uarrels And then there was the famous Warrielaw Jewel was it cursed? Or was this a book full of spinsters who spent entirely too much time embroidering?

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