Title: The Murder of my Aunt
Author: Richard Hull
Re-published by Poisoned Pen Press on 4th September 2018 (paperback)
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers, Golden Age Mystery
Edward Powell lives with his aunt Mildred in the Welsh town of Llwll. His aunt thinks Llwll is a good place to live but Edward hates it there. Bloody hates everything about the place, including the name! Also, Aunt Mildred is no angel. The lady doesn’t seem to know anything other than nag, complain or criticize! Poor Edward. So, one day, Edward loses his temper when Aunt Mildred crosses the limit. He decides to kill her – yep, you read that right!
Why didn’t I read this book before? (I was suggested to, but, ahem…) The story is as narrated by Edward. Whenever Edward vented out his frustrations, I wish I could tell him – “I feel ya, bro! I understand!” As I was reading through, I could feel a bond forming with dear Eddie – the poor thing needed some cheering and ‘you do you!’.
So, moving on, how do you pronounce “Llwll”? Eddie explains:
One writer tells me that “ll” at the beginning of a word is pronounced like “thl” with the “t” partially left out – a guide which is quite useless and impracticable. Another one recommends a slight click made at the back of the throat as if you were going to say “cl” but were prevented apparently by someone seizing you by the throat. All I can say is that if, whenever you are asked where you live, you seize yourself by the throat and start choking, it is apt to cause comment.
But even if you do start to say the word, you still have difficulty in going on. It is of course not a “w”, it is more like a double “o”, but with a slight trace of a “u”!
If you made it until here and tried to pronounce “cl” and double “o” without choking yourself, let’s get to the last “ll”. It is pronounced as “lth.” So Llwll is, um, “cl” “oo” (with a trace of u, remember) “lth”. Phew!
As the story proceeds, the reader is given a slight clue as to the kind of person Aunt Milred is. Rude, arrogant, selfish are the words you might want to use to describe her.
“There is no lack of directness, no finesse about my aunt at all. She says what she wishes to say like a proverbial bull in a china shop.She approaches those difficult situations where angels might well fear to tread, with the delicacy and deliberateness of a steam-roller.”
And who on earth names their dogs Athelthral and Thruthelthrolth. Say what? The lady can even say it fast – Athelthralthruthelthrolth Thruthelthrolthathelthral. *Disclaimer* If you are tongue tied trying to saying this out loud, I am not responsible. *End of Disclaimer* Then there is So-So – Eddie’s pekinese. So-So is such a cutie pie, unlike Aunt Mildred’s monstereous dogs. Hmph!
The story gets really interesting when Edward thinks of various ways to kill his aunt. One involves attaching a machine to her car’s petrol tank. The machine successfully creates a spark, thereby causing a boom! Bye, bye Aunt Mildred! But there is one problem – Edward doesn’t know of such a machine nor does he know to build one. Scratch that plan! Thank you, next.
I can go on and on, talking about the story but I won’t. I want you to grab a copy of The Murder of my Aunt and read it. Hull’s an excellent storyteller. He did mention in a letter to his nephew that The Murder of my Aunt (which happens to be his first book) is his best work. I cannot agree less. If you haven’t come across Richard Hull’s works before, start with his first – The Murder of my Aunt.