‘The Book of the Dead’ offers story within a story

I wonder if “The Book of the Dead” by Robert Richardson is available as an audio book. I am pretty good at imagining British accents thanks to a serious addiction to the BBC, but I’d love to hear the variety of upper-crust and North Country accents in this story.

A broken down car, pouring rain and a lonely manor house in the English countryside – a perfect beginning for the third murder mystery starring amateur sleuth and playwright Augustus Maltravers. Gus meets the owner of the manor, Charles Carrington, who has an unpublished Sherlock Holmes story by Arthur Conan Doyle written as a gift for his family. Of course, Gus is given a copy of this short story, which is titled “The Attwater Firewitch.”

As Gus turns the pages, we read along with him word for word. It’s kind of annoying when he is interrupted by a murder at the manor and has to put the book down just when Sherlock and Watson are about to solve the mystery of the curse. The story within a story is particularly well done in “The Book of the Dead.”

The cast of supporting characters includes an unsavory designer with no taste or style, a local constable with bulldog characteristics, a bitter loser in the game of love, a vicar with a secret and a much younger wife – the usual suspects in a picturesque English village.

I plan on reading more in the Augustus Maltravers series. I like this intelligent, flippant, funny sleuth who, after hearing the comment, “He’ll go for anything wearing a skirt,” responds with, “Then he should avoid Scotland.”