Angela’s Christmas Adventure by Clara Benson

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I was so glad when I got the notification that there was a new Angela Marchmont mystery.

This one is in New York where Angela had moved in the last book. This one is a short book, and we see the old characters: Angela, Barbara, Marthe, William, Edgar. In this case one of Angela’s neighbour, Mrs Dressler, tells Angela about her late husband’s nephew being in love with her niece, and he intends to propose with a ring that belonged to Mrs Dressler’s mother. However, things don’t go as they expected as the ring disappears. Jim, Mrs Dressler’s nephew, tells Angela how he was examining the ring, and then he turned to see something that had scared Essie, the parlour maid, and then it was gone. We learn that in the adjacent room was Mrs Dressler with her lawyer Mr Geary and his son Randolph.

Barbara helps Mrs Dressler to find the ring, but it is nowhere to be found. When Angela realizes that the ring might have been sucked by the central vacuum cleaner installed in the building, Essie denies using the hoover near the ring. However, she discovers that someone used the distraction of Essie and Jim to filch the ring, using the vacuum cleaner and then he got it from the pan where the dust and other dirt collected. Angela finds out that Randolph, the lawyer’s son, was on the balcony and using his father’s stick, he got to suck the ring with the vacuum cleaner, and then he simply collected it. William gets the ring back from a pawnbroker, and Angela decides not to say anything to Mrs Dressler. So with Barbara’s help they pretend that the ring was in the apartment all the time. Angela then confronts Randoph, who confesses to the robbery because of some gambling debts he has. Angela promises not to say anything as she feels generous, but she warns him that she will have an eye on him.

The story ends with a nice, magical touch. The old man that Angela keeps seeing in the hall seems to be the spirit of Mrs Dressler, and it is when Angela saw the man that it occurred to her that the mystery lay on the vaccum cleaner.

Apart from the mystery, it is nice to know more about our characters. Barbara seems to have settled in New York with Angela. She still calls her Angela, and I imagine people still don’t know about her being her daughter. I imagine she wants to spare the girl the scandal, which might mar her reputation.

As for Edgar, he is in Saratoga and has a stud farm. He is still lying low because of his past and because Edgar Belancourt is supposed to be dead. We know that he wants to marry Angela and has asked her several times, but she has refused his proposals because according to her, there are many reasons why it would be a bad idea. I understand that their marriage is another complication, especially when their past history is quite complex. Yet, it is nice of Edgar being so romantic with Angela.

The story is brief and I wanted more, but I hope that we get to see more of Angela in the future. I really miss her adventures!!!

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