The Uninvited Guests

The Uninvited Guests - Sadie Jones The Torringtons live on an estate that is about to be foreclosed upon. It is the eve of eldest daughter Emerald’s birthday and despite everything they are determined to welcome their invited guests and celebrate properly. After seeing off their stepfather, who is going on an attempt to stave off the foreclosure, they are informed of a nearby train wreck and the fact that they are to receive the survivors until the railway company can arrange to pick them up. Sure enough, a small group of shell-shocked people soon arrive on their doorstep. Something is not quite right about the group, and they are given tea and shut into the morning room, so as not to interrupt the birthday festivities. Neither the survivors nor the homeowners are happy about the arrangement and sure enough, chaos ensues. Chaos is given a hearty helping hand by a single mysterious stranger who seems to know much more about the family than he should.

I was expecting to like this book. It is billed as a combination mystery, ghost story and English social comedy. For me it was none of the above. Oh, there were humourous moments, and some mystery, but overall it just failed to deliver because everything seemed so improbable. I know its fiction, but still? It lacked the elegance of a good Edwardian story. The only saving grace in this book is the character of Smudge, the youngest daughter. She charmingly walks to the beat of her own drum and for the most part also cannot fathom what is happening in her own home. A feeling she had in common with this reader.