About the Book

Title: The Man in the Brown Suit (Colonel Race #1)
Published: 1924
Series: Colonel Race
Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Cover Story: Don’t Die All Over My New Coat
BFF Charm: Platinum Edition
Talky Talk: Sit Up and Pay Attention
Bonus Factors: Exotic Locations, Cocktails
Anti-Bonus Factor: Colonialism
Relationship Status: Let’s Just Be Friends

Cover Story: Don’t Die All Over My New Coat

I like looking at old detective fiction book covers, because they tell you a lot about the time period, not of when the story is taking place, but when the book is being re-printed. I don’t think this cover accurately shows off our young, teenage heroine, nor shows off the exotic locales we get to go in the story, but it does show some sketchy dudes in a Tube station and some pretty sweet lady-fashion. I would totally pick up this book off a random shelf just based on the cover!

The Deal:

Young Anne Beddingfield finds herself orphaned at the start of this novel. Lucky for us, she’s got pluck, she’s pretty cute, and since she’s 17-ish (the book never says exactly), she can go off with the tiny amount of money left to her by her father and have adventures. Lucky for Anne, adventures seem to find her, and after a man jumps to his death on the electric rails of the Tube station in front of her, she begins to follow up on some suspicious activity. This leads her, and us, into a ring of diamond thieves, all run by a man known only as ‘The Colonel.’ Anne eventually follows the clues she’s stumbled upon onto a boat sailing from England to South Africa, so we get to travel along on her voyage as she narrowly escapes the clutches of the thieves! 

BFF Charm: Platinum Edition

BFF platinum charm

Anne, you are COOL. You don’t let your father’s death get you down, and you are willing to turn down several marriage proposals in search of adventure. Plus, you manage to get in good with the richest and most fabulous lady on the cruise, Suzanne Blair (Suzanne, I want to be friends with you too!). You’re young, but you’ve got brains and guts and you’re just a pretty kick-ass young lady. Let’s be friends!

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

5 is a LOT of swoon for a book published in 1924. There were so many men falling over Anne this entire book, it became a little silly at times. When the swoon really happens though, it’s FOR REAL (1920s-style). On the cruise she meets disgraced diamond-handler Harry, who seems to have a hypnotic effect on her. Later on, he even has to nurse her back to health on his secret island in South Africa, where of course they then fall in love! It made me pretty giddy, I have to admit. Sweet, chaste, adorable 1920s SWOON!

Talky Talk: Sit Up and Pay Attention

In typical Christie fashion, we learn a lot of details (like, ALL of them), but it is up to us, the reader, to piece everything together. I had my suspicions on who was “The Colonel,” but even I in my vast detective-fiction-knowledge guessed wrong! Christie continues to work her magic as a writer not just of mysteries, but also of adventure in this novel. I am always surprised that she didn’t just stick to writing Hercule Poirot mysteries (after all, that really WORKS), but this novel, with all new characters, is very entertaining as well.

Bonus Factor: Exotic Locations, Cocktails

I’ve combined the two Bonus Factors of this book into one tasty cocktail. Enjoy Anne’s journey across the hemispheres with the Deadly Diamonds cocktail! (Ok, so maybe it’s not as exotic as I would have made it seem just now. Nevertheless, it is tasty & glitters like a diamond!). Here is what you need:

  • 1 1/2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. ginger honey syrup (I have all this fancy flavored honey that I never know what to do with. Just add equal parts honey & boiling water to make a honey syrup. Let it cool completely before using in your drink! I chose to use my fancy ginger honey, but you could easily use a peach honey or just a regular honey as well for this recipe). 
  • Ice
  • A splash of soda

Pour your gin and honey syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into a fancy glass and add just a tiny bit of soda. You can now successfully enjoy your Deadly Diamonds cocktail!

Anti-bonus Factor: Colonialism

How annoying for the rich Brits in this book when there is an uprising going on in South Africa! “How on earth are we supposed to get more champagne?” Or some such nonsense like this I imagine our characters grumbling about; that is the only drawback to this book (besides no Poirot!). The political unrest in South Africa is merely a backdrop to Anne’s adventures once she arrives in Cape Town, but I would have liked everyone to be a little less flip about the consequences of what was happening throughout the world at this time. Sigh. I guess that just isn’t meant to be.

Relationship Status: Let’s Just Be Friends

I like you book, I do. But if I am craving a classic 1920s British mystery (which I nearly always am), then you are just not quite for me. Let’s keep in touch though, okay? Because I like you, I really do.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). The Man in the Brown Suit is available now.

About the Contributor:

Jill Brumer has been reading murder mysteries since she was old enough to wrap her hands around a Nancy Drew book. She can be found most days in Houston sewing or teaching others to sew.

This post was written by a guest writer or former contributor for Forever Young Adult.