Miss Pym Disposes (1946) – Josephine Tey

The unexpected success of her pop-psychology book has made former French teacher Lucy Pym London's latest literary celebrity. When she receives a lecture invitation from her old friend Henrietta - now headmistress of Leys Physical Training College - Miss Pym eagerly accepts. She expects to stay for just a single night - but after the students win her over, she extends her stay - for just a few days… then a few weeks.At first, life in the college seems idyllic (especially for Lucy Pym,…

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Death on the Riviera – John Bude (1952)

Detective-Inspector Meredith and Sergeant Strang are heading to the French Riviera to assist in breaking up a currency counterfeiting ring, and bring at least one of its members back to England with them. Along with their French colleagues Blampignon and Gibaud, they quickly pick up a trail that leads to the Villa Paloma, where rich widow Nesta Hedderwick lives with her niece Dilys, her companion Miss Pillgrew, the gigolo-esque Tony, his friend Kitty, and the artist Paul Latour. They're soon joined by Bill Dillon,…

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Fear For Miss Betony – Dorothy Bowers (1941)

Former governess Emma Betony is interrupted in her attempt to join a retirement community for gentlewomen by a letter from one of her former charges, Grace Aram. Miss Betony used to regale Grace with exotic tales of her aunt, Mary Shagreen, which provided a bright spot in her childhood. Grace now runs a small school which has been evacuated to a former nursing home in the countryside - though two of the patients still live on the site. Grace begs Miss Betony for help;…

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Mr. Splitfoot – Helen McCloy (1968)

Fifteen year old Lucinda's parents Francis and Folly are hosting a dinner party at their mansion high in the Catskill Mountains; the invited guests are Francis' literary agent David Crowe and his wife Serena, and the head of the publishing house Bradford Alcott and his wife Ginevra. Resentful of the adults - particularly her stepmother Folly - Lucinda plots with her friend Vanya to scare them with a supernatural manifestation of "Mr Splitfoot". But things don't quite go to plan. First, Dr. Basil Willing…

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The Honjin Murders – Seishi Yokomizo (1947 trans. 2019 Louise Heal Kawai)

The wedding between Kenzo, the eldest son of the proud Ichiyanagi family, and Katsuko, the daughter of a fruit farmer made good, goes ahead despite the objections of Kenzo's family. But the silence of a snow-filled night is broken by screams, and the wild strumming of a koto. When the relatives investigate the annex where the newlyweds are staying, they find it locked. Outside, in the snow, lies a katana but no footprints. Inside lie the bodies of the couple, "soaked in the crimson…

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Castle Skull (1931) – John Dickson Carr

Castle Skull was once owned by the monstrous magician Maleger, and then, on Maleger's mysterious death, by the famed actor Myron Alison. A peaceful night at Myron's home across the river is disturbed by the sound of screams. The house-guests look up to see a burning body dancing on the battlements of the castle - as Myron spends his final moments in agony. Summoned by financier Jérôme D'Aunay to investigate, Henri Bencolin and Jeff Marle soon find themselves in collaboration - or perhaps in…

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The Postscript Murders (2020) – Elly Griffiths

As a Golden Age of Detection fanatic, me reviewing a modern crime novel is a bit like a velociraptor reviewing an iPhone. But Elly Griffiths' The Postscript Murders has a stronger than usual connection to the Golden Age.The story starts with the death of Peggy Smith, ninety-year-old resident of the Seaview Apartments in Shoreham on Sea. Her carer, Natalka, thinks she was murdered, and through force of personality manages to convince DS Harbinder Kaur, Peggy's neighbour Edwin, and the owner of a local cafe,…

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The Lost Gallows (1931) – John Dickson Carr

A limousine joyrides through the fogbound streets of London with a corpse at the wheel. The shadow of a gallows is seen on an unknown street. Nezam al Moulk receives threatening packages delivered directly to his room even though no one could have entered.Ten years ago a duel was fought in Paris - and now the mysterious hangman Jack Ketch wants revenge. Will he drag his victims to Ruination Street, or can Henri Bencolin stop him before it's too late? Henri Bencolin and Jeff…

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Death at the Bar (1940) – Ngaio Marsh

Ngaio Marsh has long been considered one of the "Queens of Crime", a leading author in the fair-play detective tradition of the inter-war years. You just have to look at the laudatory comments covering my reprint edition to see her reputation - "She writes better than Christie", "Among the Queens of Crime she stands out as an Empress", and so on. Reactions I've seen on classic crime fiction blogs have been… less positive. However, this is my first time reading a Marsh book, so…

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It Walks By Night (1930) – John Dickson Carr

John Dickson Carr is a pretty special author to me. He was the first Classic Crime author I really got into after the obvious Agatha Christie, and discovering the joys of a good Carr or Carter Dickson is what made me want to explore more to see what else was out there. I've already read a lot of his books, but I want to share my enjoyment of them by re-reading them and writing reviews. I've decided to start at the beginning for now,…

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The Thin Man (1934) – Dashiell Hammett

Ex- private detective Nick Charles returns to New York with his wife Nora (and dog Asta) for what he thinks will be a brief Christmas holiday, and a chance to catch up with old friends. When he bumps into Dorothy Wynant, daughter of Nick's old client Clyde Wynant, she asks him to track down her father, the titular Thin Man. Nick does his best to avoid getting pulled back into detecting. But the murder of Clyde Wynant's secretary Julia Wolf drags Nick further and…

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The City & The City (2009) – China Miéville

Inspector Tyador Borlu of the Bezsel Extreme Crimes Unit is assigned to investigate the case of an unknown woman whose body has been found discarded in a dilapidated urban area. Leads are few, until he gets an extra-legal tipoff, and begins to uncover a conspiracy that reaches wider than he thinks… This celebrated science-fiction novel is in fact also a detective novel, and a pretty good one too. The strange location and themes of the sci-fi intertwine with the position and investigative procedure of…

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Trent’s Last Case (1913) – E. C. Bentley

Published in 1913, Edmund Clerihew Bentley's first detective novel, Trent's Last Case, is sometimes cited as an early beginning for the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, the inter-war (with change) period when clues, twists, and the intellectual challenge were at the height of their popularity in crime fiction. So what better book to kick off the blog? The titular Last Case concerns the shooting of Sigsbee Manderson, the Napoleon of Finance. His body is found just next to his shed, with a bullet wound…

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