A Cruel Necessity
Two-time Edgar nominee LC Tyler is best known for his series featuring Ethelred and Elsie – a third-rate novelist and his gloriously vulgar agent, respectively. And so he should be: He’s twice won Britain’s “Last Laugh” award for the Best Humorous Mystery of the Year.
But with A Cruel Necessity, the first in the John Grey historical mystery series, Tyler takes a sharp turn into the shadows. There are still some chuckles to be had, but not many: This is England in the year 1657, Oliver Cromwell is in power, and joy has essentially been outlawed. A young lawyer with a taste for beer and pretty women, Grey finds pleasures enough, even in this backwater Essex town, but he’d be wise to keep his amusement to himself: A Royalist spy has been found dead in a local ditch, and Cromwell’s agents are eager – distressingly eager – to explain to Grey that this is nothing to laugh about.