My Book Notes: Bats in the Belfry, 1937 (Robert MacDonald #13) by E. R. C. Lorac


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British Library Publishing, 2018. Book Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 4687 KB. Print Length: 233 pages. ASIN: B078HWKW7W. eISBN: 978-0-7123-6451-5. Originally published in 1937 by Collins. With and Introduction by Martin Edwards, 2018.

BatsInTheBelfry_Website-350x525Book Description: Bruce Attleton dazzled London’s literary scene with his first two novels—but his early promise did not bear fruit. His wife Sybilla is a glittering actress, unforgiving of Bruce’s failure, and the couple lead separate lives in their house at Regent’s Park. When Bruce is called away on a sudden trip to Paris, he vanishes completely—until his suitcase and passport are found in a sinister artist’s studio, the Belfry, in a crumbling house in Notting Hill. Inspector Macdonald must uncover Bruce’s secrets, and find out the identity of his mysterious blackmailer. This intricate mystery from a classic writer is set in a superbly evoked London of the 1930s.

My Take: Martin Edwards at his blog ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’ wrote about Bats in the Belfry:

‘The novel does not read as though it was written in haste, and my guess is that Lorac planned the story very carefully before sitting down to write it up. The first chapter introduces us to the key characters – Bruce Attleton and his attractive but selfish wife Sybilla, their friends Thomas Burroughs, Neil Rockingham and Richard Grenville, and Bruce’s ward, Elizabeth. The occasion is the funeral of Attleton’s cousin, who has been killed in a car accident. We soon learn that Attleton is being plagued by a mysterious stranger called Debrette, but the nature of the connection between them is unclear. When both Attleton and Debrette go missing, Grenville tries to find out what is going on.’

Besides Bats in the Belfry was selected by Edwards for inclusion in his book The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books (2017) in which he specifically highlights that the plot is elaborate, the characterisation crisp and the atmosphere of the dark London streets well evoked. And I, for my part,  cannot do other but agree with him. While perhaps, it has not enthused me as much as to some other bloggers whose reviews I have included below. Anyway, Lorac is an author that has interested me, and I look forward to reading some other of the books listed hereafter.

My Rating: B (I liked it)

About the Author: E. C. R. Lorac, a British crime writer, was the pseudonym of Edith Caroline Rivett (1894-1958) who also wrote as Carol Carnac. (“Lorac is Carol” spelled backwards). Rivett was born in Hendon, Middlesex (now London) and educated at South Hampstead High School and the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London. A very prolific writer, she wrote forty-eight mysteries under her first pen name, and twenty-three under her second. Lorac first book The Murder on the Burrows (1931) was followed by almost two novels a year, usually featuring Scottish Chief Inspector Robert MacDonald. The novels written as Carol Carnac feature Inspector Julian Rivers. An important author of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction she was elected a member of the Detection Club in 1937. Other E. C. R. Lorac books, which are now easily available thanks to the British Library Crime Classics, include: Fell Murder (1944); Murder by Matchlight (1945); Fire in the Thatch (1946), and Murder in the Mill-Race (1952). Some other of her books, which I expect to be soon available, are: Murder in St John’s Wood (1934), Murder in Chelsea (1934), The Organ Speaks (1934), Death of an Author (1935), A Pall for a Painter (1936), Policemen in the Precinct (1949) aka And Then Put Out the Light, Murder of a Martinet (1951) aka I Could Murder Her, Shroud of Darkness (1954), and The Double Turn (1956) as Carol Carnac.

Bats in the Belfry has been reviewed, among others, at crossexaminingcrime, ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’, Crime Review UK, Books Please, The Invisible Event, reviewingtheevidence, shotsmag, Clothes In Books, Bedford Bookshelf, gadetection, Northern Reader, FictionFan’s Book Reviews, and Classic Mysteries.

British Library Shop

Poissoned Pen Press publicity page

Edith Caroline Rivett (1894-1958), aka ECR Lorac and Carol Carnac

audible

Bats in the belfry (expresión  inglesa que puede traducirse como “más loco que una cabra”, lit.: murciélagos en el campanario) de E. R. C. Lorac

Descripción del libro: Bruce Attleton tuvo una aparición deslumbrante en la escena literaria de Londres con sus dos primeras novelas, pero estos buenos augurios no dieron sus frutos. Su esposa Sybilla es una actriz brillante, implacable con el fracaso de Bruce, con quien vive separada en su casa de Regent’s Park. Cuando Bruce es llamado a realizar un repentino viaje a París, éste desaparece por completo, hasta que su maleta y su pasaporte aparecen en el siniestro estudio de un artista, el Campanario, en una casa en ruinas en Notting Hill. El inspector Macdonald debe destapar los secretos de Bruce y averiguar la identidad de su misterioso chantajista. Este intrincado misterio de una escritora clásica se desarrolla en el Londres magníficamente evocado de la década de 1930.

Mi opinión: Martin Edwards en su blog ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’escribió sobre Bats in the Belfry:

“La novela no se lee como si hubiera sido escrita a toda prisa, y supongo que Lorac planificó la historia con mucho cuidado antes de sentarse a escribirla. El primer capítulo nos presenta a los personajes clave: Bruce Attleton y su atractiva pero egoísta esposa Sybilla, sus amigos Thomas Burroughs, Neil Rockingham y Richard Grenville, y la pupila de Bruce, Elizabeth. La ocasión es el funeral del primo de Attleton, quien murió en un accidente automovilístico. Pronto nos damos cuenta de que Attleton está siendo acosado por un misterioso desconocido llamado Debrette, pero la naturaleza de la conexión entre ellos no es clara. Cuando tanto Attleton como Debrette desaparecen, Grenville intenta averiguar qué está sucediendo”.

Además, Bats in the Belfry fue seleccionada por Edwards para su inclusión en su libro The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books (2017) en el que destaca específicamente que la trama es elaborada, la caracterización nítida y la atmósfera de las oscuras calles de Londres bien evocadas . Y yo, por mi parte, no puedo hacer otra cosa que estar de acuerdo con él. Si bien tal vez, no me ha entusiasmado tanto como a algunos otros bloggers cuyas reseñas (en inglés) he incluido anteriormente. De todos modos, Lorac es una autora que me ha interesado, y espero leer algunos de los libros que se enumeran a continuación.

Mi valoración: B (Me gustó)

Sobre el autor: E. C. R. Lorac, un escritora de misterio  británica, fue el seudónimo de Edith Caroline Rivett (1894-1958) quien también escribió como Carol Carnac. (“Lorac es Carol’ escrito al revés). Rivett nació en Hendon, Middlesex (ahora Londres) y estudió en la South Hampstead High School y en la Central School of Arts and Crafts en Londres. Escritora muy prolífica, escribió cuarenta y ocho misterios con su primer seudónimo, y veintitrés con el segundo. El primer libro de Lorac The Murder on the Burrows (1931) fue seguido por casi dos novelas al año, generalmente protagonizados por el inspector jefe escocés Robert MacDonald. Las novelas escritas como Carol Carnac cuentan con el inspector Julian Rivers. Una autora importante de la Edad de Oro de la novela policial, fue elegida miembro del Club de Detección en 1937. Otros libros de E. C. R. Lorac, que ahora están fácilmente disponibles gracias a British Library Crime Classics, incluyen: Fell Murder (1944); Murder by Matchlight (1945); Fire in the Thatch (1946), y Murder in the Mill-Race (1952). Otros de sus libros, que espero estén disponibles pronto, son: Murder in St John’s Wood (1934), Murder in Chelsea (1934), The Organ Speaks (1934), Death of an Author (1935), A Pall for a Painter (1936), Policemen in the Precinct (1949) aka And Then Put Out the Light, Murder of a Martinet (1951) aka I Could Murder Her, Shroud of Darkness (1954), y The Double Turn (1956) como Carol Carnac.

2 thoughts on “My Book Notes: Bats in the Belfry, 1937 (Robert MacDonald #13) by E. R. C. Lorac

  1. Thanks for the link, José Ignacio! I’m glad you enjoyed this one – it was my first Lorac and much though I liked it, I’ve actually liked some of the other ones of hers the BL has since published even more, especially Murder By Matchlight.

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