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Miss Seetons Finest [Mass Market Paperback]

Hamilton Crane
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 25 2002 Heron Carvic's Miss Seeton
When art teacher Miss Seeton answers her country's call to duty during World War II, her life changes dramatically. Armed with a sketch pad, she becomes the most unlikely master of detection in this, her first mystery -- and finest hour.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent WW II mystery July 14 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Prime Minister Churchill arouses England's patriotism in the upcoming Battle of Britain against Nazi Germany. However, suspicions of treachery and sabotage run high throughout the countryside in the summer of 1940. When the Ministry of Information, Subsection P(F/S) learns that an art teacher Miss Emily Seeton seems to be sketching military secrets, they investigate. Mr. Steptoe arrives and explains that his office is the Publicity and Fact Sheet subsection of the Information Ministry. He "borrows" several of Emily's drawings of the area. Soon the officials debate whether Emily is spying for the Nazis because she seemed to know in advance the plans behind the Miracle at Dunkirk.
After proving her loyalty to her country, Major Haynes hires Emily to sketch the workers at the Spitfire Factory where escalating sabotage on a minor scale seems to have occurred. Emily quickly realizes that someone is more than just a traitor. That unknown individual will murder to insure the success of his quest, which Emily believes is personal and not misguided loyalty to Hitler.
The twenty-second Miss Seeton novel actually takes place prior to the previous books (five authored by Heron Carvic, three by Hampton Charles, and fourteen by Hamilton Crane). MISS SEETON'S FINEST HOUR is indeed the first case for the amateur detective. Ms. Crane ingeniously describes the disposition of a young Emily that cleverly fits the personality of Emily in her future tales. The story line's feel for the hysteria yet courage of 1940 England adds to the overall depth of the tremendous novel. The who-done-it is intriguing, but the characterization of a young Emily turns this tale into Ms. Crane's finest hour.

Harriet Klausner
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5.0 out of 5 stars Some Background About Miss Seeton July 16 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This novel is a joy! We finally find out some of the reasons Miss Seeton is the way she is! As a'prequel', this one is very well done, and fits with all that we already know about Miss Seeton. I was finished with it far too soon, and still would like to know more about Miss Seeton. She is an interesting and quirky character. Even if you haven't read the other Miss Seeton books, you will find much to enjoy here. Hamilton Crane (aka Sarah J. Mason) weaves a wonderful plot, full of twists and turns. All of her Miss Seeton books, and her own series the Trewley and Stone stories, are very tightly plotted and well written. A very enjoyable read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book About Miss Seeton Sept. 17 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
For people already aquainted with Miss Seeton, this is a must read about an earlier time in Miss Seeton's life. I have had little success with character series going "back" in time with the latest book but this one is very well done.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent WW II mystery July 14 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Prime Minister Churchill arouses England's patriotism in the upcoming Battle of Britain against Nazi Germany. However, suspicions of treachery and sabotage run high throughout the countryside in the summer of 1940. When the Ministry of Information, Subsection P(F/S) learns that an art teacher Miss Emily Seeton seems to be sketching military secrets, they investigate. Mr. Steptoe arrives and explains that his office is the Publicity and Fact Sheet subsection of the Information Ministry. He "borrows" several of Emily's drawings of the area. Soon the officials debate whether Emily is spying for the Nazis because she seemed to know in advance the plans behind the Miracle at Dunkirk.
After proving her loyalty to her country, Major Haynes hires Emily to sketch the workers at the Spitfire Factory where escalating sabotage on a minor scale seems to have occurred. Emily quickly realizes that someone is more than just a traitor. That unknown individual will murder to insure the success of his quest, which Emily believes is personal and not misguided loyalty to Hitler.
The twenty-second Miss Seeton novel actually takes place prior to the previous books (five authored by Heron Carvic, three by Hampton Charles, and fourteen by Hamilton Crane). MISS SEETON'S FINEST HOUR is indeed the first case for the amateur detective. Ms. Crane ingeniously describes the disposition of a young Emily that cleverly fits the personality of Emily in her future tales. The story line's feel for the hysteria yet courage of 1940 England adds to the overall depth of the tremendous novel. The who-done-it is intriguing, but the characterization of a young Emily turns this tale into Ms. Crane's finest hour.

Harriet Klausner
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Background About Miss Seeton July 16 2001
By Carolyn K Armistead - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This novel is a joy! We finally find out some of the reasons Miss Seeton is the way she is! As a'prequel', this one is very well done, and fits with all that we already know about Miss Seeton. I was finished with it far too soon, and still would like to know more about Miss Seeton. She is an interesting and quirky character. Even if you haven't read the other Miss Seeton books, you will find much to enjoy here. Hamilton Crane (aka Sarah J. Mason) weaves a wonderful plot, full of twists and turns. All of her Miss Seeton books, and her own series the Trewley and Stone stories, are very tightly plotted and well written. A very enjoyable read!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book About Miss Seeton Sept. 17 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
For people already aquainted with Miss Seeton, this is a must read about an earlier time in Miss Seeton's life. I have had little success with character series going "back" in time with the latest book but this one is very well done.
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it! Aug. 6 2012
By Jean B. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
When I bought this, I read a review saying it was awful! But I had read all the others and got it anyway. I must say, I love it! In it you see glimpses of the older Miss Seeton in the younger one. You also see some of the reasons for character traits. I would definitely read more of this version if they were available!
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine mystery to be enjoyed on its own merits but don't expect the original Miss Seeton. Oct. 7 2010
By Atheen M. Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoyed this book, but it required me to suspend my knowledge of the earlier Miss Seeton books, those by the original author Heron Carvic. Carvic's Miss Seeton is somewhat dithering. She's sweet and genuine and a "relic" of a more refined era with its own issues. She is totally unaware of her value and definitely unaware of the havoc she brings about for the "bad guys" around her. It is this havoc and the obvious and very comic frustration of the villains that make the stories delightfully funny and a joy to read.

Some of the books written by a second author, Charles Hampton, Miss Seeton by Appointment (Heron Carvic's Miss Seeton) are more cynical and even harsh. Some of the funniest subsidiary characters were turned into very unpleasant rather than amusing people, and that's when I stopped reading the books. Only recently have I started reading them again. Having successfully managed to make a transfer to the reborn Nero Wolfe, Three at Wolfe's Door (The Rex Stout Library), under the skillful authorship of Robert Goldsborough Silver Spire: A Nero Wolfe Mystery, I decided I'd try again with the Miss Seeton series produced by this new author.

Ms Crane--a very apropos pseudonym for Sarah Mason who also writes under her own name, Party Girl: A Novel--has done a fine job of returning some of the merriment to the series. The Nutts especially have flourished under her more sympathetic pen and the Colvedons, a very lovely family, are again in full flower. Yet even Ms Mason does not seem to have captured the essential Miss Seeton and seems to have put the character onto a more rarified plain of her own.

This book has moved even further away from the original author's Miss Seeton. It is 1940's England and Miss Seeton is a woman in her 30s called upon to assist MI5 as she does Scotland Yard in modern times. She is employed to find sabatours in an aircraft factory through her psychic art. This Miss Seeton is more rooted in the world as it really is. While she continues with her internal struggle over doing the right thing, she's much more pragmatic than the Carvic Seeton and more aware of the implications of events. The threats to her are real and anything but amusing. In this book she's a young version of Agathat Christies' Miss Marple,Miss Marple: the Complete Short Stories, and one might have expected her to age into that type of elderly person rather than into the comical Miss Seeton that she does. So there is still a major mismatch.

That said, however, I enjoyed the new Miss Seeton as a character by herself. It is as though she is a new rather than an old one. I'd enjoy more of the series in this venue and with this temperment. As a prequel, the story says much about from whence some of her foibles come, but it doesn't really tell you how she became the much less personally competent individual she is in Carvic's mysteries.

"Miss Seeton's Finest Hour" is well written as a mystery. There were abundant clues and even more abundant red herrings. Although I felt I knew who was not the culprit and had a feeling I knew who was, I really did not tumble to the guilty party until the end. Here a very delft slight of hands misdirected me. As a historic murder mystery I felt it was well written and well researched. Though it does not have the magnificent prose style of the Maisy Dobbs mysteries, Maisie Dobbs (Book 1) , by Jacqueline Winspear or the Reavel Family mysteries, We Shall Not Sleep: A Novel (World War I), by Anne Perry it is still an expertly written book.

A fine mystery to be enjoyed on its own merits but don't expect the original Miss Seeton.
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