Category Archives: Campbell, Alice

Water Weed by Alice Campbell

Water WeedWater Weed
by Alice Campbell
Rating: ★★★★
Publication Date: January 1, 1929
Genre: crime, mystery
Pages: 294
ReRead?: No

Young Virginia Carew is making a trip to England when she encounters old friend Glenn Hillier—strangely altered from the last time they met. Glenn is besotted with a glamorous middle-aged lady, with whom he’s been staying in the blissful English countryside. It isn’t long before Virginia too is a guest of the family, but there are snakes in this garden of Eden—snakes at first entangled in jealousy; then blackmail; finally murder.

In the events which follow, Glenn disappears, suspected by some of suicide. Virginia finds her world up-ended as events take an ever darker turn. It’ll be up the intrepid young American to stay one step ahead of the police, and finish the case before the deadly water weed pulls her down . . .

My DSP December started out very productively – I finished this one on December 8. Since then, I went on a short holiday getaway with my husband and have also been sick with whatever part of the tripledemic I’ve been unfortunate enough to develop, so I’ve only finished one more, which I will review shortly. I am still planning to get one more of the Furrowed Middlebrow titles read – probably something by Molly Clavering – but 4 is not as many as I had hoped to complete!

I bought Water Weed in October, after eyeing the Alice Campbell mystery tranche for a few months. There were elements of it that I really liked, and then there were elements that I felt could have been done better. I liked the main character/amateur sleuth Virginia Carew but was pretty annoyed by Glenn, and the murder victim, Cuckoo, was beyond unlikeable.

There were some plot points that didn’t startle me because Campbell definitely hints around them, but that were likely very shocking for readers of the time. The book itself had a bit of a gothic feel to it – it reminded me of one of Patricia Wentworth’s darker-toned mysteries a bit, maybe Lonesome Road or The Catherine Wheel, relying on shocking family secrets for the resolution. I will definitely read more of Campbell’s mysteries.

The other DSP that I have finished is also one of their golden age mysteries – Dead Man’s Quarry by Ianthe Jerrold.