Review of 'Mrs Mohr Goes Missing'

Mrs Mohr Goes Missing by Maryla Szymiczkowa

mrs_mohr.jpg In late 19th century Cracow, Poland social climber Zofia Turbotynska is organizing a charity raffle. Approaching the local retirement home her plans are somewhat disturbed when one of the residents, Mrs Mohr, goes missing then is later found dead in the attic. Zofia becomes intrigued and starts investigating, soon discovering Mrs Mohr has been poisoned despite what the local police think. When a short time later another resident is strangled to death Zofia is even more determined, between social engagements and finding suitable household staff, to figure out what exactly is going on at Helcel House.

“Mrs Mohr Goes Missing” is a quirky novel that is set in a time and location that most in the west will be unfamiliar though most will be able to relate to the main character, Zofia, who is determined to climb the social ladder dragging her husband along with her whether he likes it or not. Though she is somewhat self-centred she endears herself to the reader as she fumbles about in her own way though the story ultimately redeeming herself in her investigation. Having said that, without spoiling the ending, Zofia's final performance dramatically differs from what the reader would have expected of her both in characterisation and erudition. It is this contrast that jars in what is otherwise an easy-going, entertaining, and light mystery in the vein of Agatha Christie.

For those unfamiliar with Polish the names do become a bit tricky to keep track of which does slow the reading down somewhat but the action continues apace throughout. Interestingly there is little exposition here for the setting, the reader is expected to just get on with it and figure things out for themselves though for the most part it is easy enough to follow though don't expect to be able to figure out what is going on before the final chapter as, unlike other novels, there are key bits needed to solve the mystery that are revealed only in these final pages. Still, it is quite entertaining if not a bit dizzying by the end…

An interesting, though slightly off-putting, read that delves into an unfamiliar world…at least, for this reviewer. Worth reading? Sure, but expect to put a bit of work into it.

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2021-07-19

Genre: Crime/Mystery

Publisher: Point Blank

Publication Date: 2019

ISBN: 9781786075437