Review of ‘Pleasantly Dead’ – Judith Alguire

Nowhere is it more true that a book can be like ‘a vacation in the pocket,’ than with PLEASANTLY DEAD by Judith Alguire. (Signature Editions, Doug Whiteway Ed., 185 pp. 2009).
 ‘The Pleasant’ is the name of an Inn in Ontario Cottage Country, the sort of place that would be packed to the rafters, if it existed. Take the food for example, lush descriptions of all the meals and what those who ate them, thought. (Asparagus crepes, Belgian Waffles, French Roast coffee and cranberry-orange muffins.
 The surroundings fit the same vivid description, private cottages all named for trees as well as rooms upstairs in the rambling, well-kept building, where the dipsomaniac, hypochondriac Aunt Pearl stays. Yes, with The Pleasant, its inhabitants are the particular joy. 
 Oh yes, murder does occur but gently, pleasantly, if you will. While there is a distinct resemblance to Christie on one of her better forays; a romance, admirable eccentrics, no lack of suspects, the flavor is uniquely Alguire’s own.
 Innkeeper Rudley and his wife, Margaret, are as oddly assorted a pair as Faulty Towers ever saw. And when Margaret goes missing, the inn is turned upside down.
 Alguire has a light, insightful touch with all the little details. The cover indicates this, a red Adirondack chair struck by rays of a setting or rising sun, overlooking a grey lake and a dark shoreline. In the far right corner of the cover are a neat pair of dead feet. A fishing pole leans casually against the chair back, as though the owner had been trying to snag a trout till someone did him in (and stole his shoes).
 Aunt Pearl and the Music Hall are memorable as well as very funny. There is a mesmerizing quality to the prose. Among American authors, Alguire is reminiscent of Phoebe Atwood Taylor’s Cape Cod series, an author she has never read, according to a recent interview. Among Canadian authors she has no equal though the novel reads more British than U.S.
 If you want a book to lift you right out of everyday life and set you down in a fascinating world of suspicious guests, great food and lively events, now that Christie’s dead, you can’t go wrong with Rudley and company. I look forward to many more installments from the inn.

1 Comment


  1. Rose, I’d like to invite Judith to join the Crime Writers of Canada. Do you have her email?

    Merci,

    Lou Allin
    louallin@shaw.ca

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