Mister Mottley Cooks His Goose is the first of the Mister Mottley cases by Ellen Seltz.
Edmund Mottley has had a spot of bother at university, and so his father has decided to send him to a friend’s house for the Christmas period where he is to interview for a job. He isn’t much enamoured with the idea but off he goes, to find that there is much more going on in the house than he could have imagined.
There is a full house when Edmund arrives; the young schoolboy, Tommy (and his imaginary dog), his tutor, his step-mother’s journalist friend as well as a Russian professor. Tommy quickly confides in Edmund…he thinks there is something going on in the house, and he thinks he knows who the culprit is and has been keeping a watchful eye on them. Edmund, naturally, believes this to be Tommy’s childish fantasy, but soon he realises that it might not be the case…
Told through both narrative and letters, this short story is typical of those set between the wars, in style, plot and language, making it a thoroughly entertaining Christmas read. Edmund is an interesting character and I liked the way he befriended the lonely Tommy. The other characters, as well as the storyline itself, was engaging, and contained enough depth to ensure that I read it in one sitting.
This was a charming period read, and I will be definitely reading the second short story in this series, Mister Mottley and the Key of D.