Month: March 2020

Patricia Wentworth (1877 –1961)

51z WKx-6yL._SY200_Patricia Wentworth was born Dora Amy Elles in Mussoorie, India in 1878 [according to other sources she was born in 1877, not in 1878 as has sometimes been stated]. She was the daughter of a British army officer. She received a high school education at Blackheath High School in London where she and her two brothers were sent to live with her grandmother. After her graduation, she returned to India. She published her first work in the Civil and Military Gazette there. She married Colonel George Dillon in 1906. He died shortly after and left her with a young daughter and three stepsons. She and her children returned to England. She began writing and published six historical fiction novels between 1910 and 1915. In 1920, she married Lieutenant George Oliver Turnbull and moved to Surrey. He encouraged her writing and acted as a scribe for the novels which she dictated to him. Wentworth wrote her first mystery novel The Astonishing Adventure of Jane Smith in 1923. Her first Maud Silver book, Grey Mask was written in 1928. Nine years and fifteen mystery novels later, she returned to Maud Silver, who became her most popular character. Ms. Wentworth wrote over seventy novels. She died on January 28, 1961.

Maud Silver is perhaps Ms. Wentworth’s best known character, and there are 32 Miss Silver novels. Maud Silver, a spinster, retired from her position as a governess and opened a private detective agency. She is quite efficient, and seems to know a great number of people, especially those in the police. She starts a new notebook for each case, and is always knitting garments for her nieces and nephews. Her clients are usually from the upper classes. Wentworth’s novels are definitely cozy, and are frequently set in English villages. Miss Silver was so popular in the US during the 1940’s that Lippincott of Philadelphia became her primary publisher and released the Miss Silver novels in the US before their release in England. Patricia Wentworth’s other characters include Ernest Lamb, a chief investigator who sometimes works with Miss Silver, and Randal March, the chief constable of the county where many of Miss Silver’s cases occur. (Source: sldirectory.com)

A comprehensive bibliography is available here.

To be honest I must admit that the only book by Patricia Wentworth I have read, here, was not precisesly of my liking. Consequently, I was hesitant whether to include her or not on my list. But I changed my mind after having a look at what Curtis Evans wrote at The Passing Tramp about Patricia Wentworth. Thus, I’ll give her another try.

There is no doubt in my mind that Wentworth is a notable figure in mystery genre history precisely for popularizing–indeed, I would say, playing a huge role in originating the very popular conception of–the cozy detective novel.  Beginning in 1943, when she published The Chinese Shawl and Miss Silver Deals with Death, Wentworth over fifteen years published more than two dozen Miss Silver mysteries, most of them, I believe, true detective novels and all of them “cozy,” set in genteel milieus where the social order is disturbed but restored at the end …… (The Passing Tramp)

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(Facsimile Dust Jacket, J. B. Lippincott Company (USA), 1949)

James Cray was always a cruel man . . .
When he was 21 James Lessiter told Henrietta Cray that he loved her before all things and so broke Catherine Lee’s heart. But James has a side to him that most people do not see. When the engagement is broken off no one is sure why and Rietta refuses to explain.
Twenty years later James returns to the village an extremely wealthy man. Rietta is still unmarried and Catherine is a penniless widow living in a cottage on the Lessiter estate.
Trouble is inevitable, for Catherine has started to sell some of the valuable contents of the cottage to keep up a lifestyle she cannot afford but James has his suspicions and is looking forward to exposing her. He has always enjoyed seeing someone else suffer whatever the cost. (Source: Hodder & Stoughton).

Michael Gilbert (1912-2006)

146739 (1)Born in Lincolnshire, England, Michael Francis Gilbert graduated in law from the University of London in 1937, shortly after which he first spent some time teaching at a prep-school which was followed by six years serving with the Royal Horse Artillery. During World War II he was captured following service in North Africa and Italy, and his prisoner-of-war experiences later leading to the writing of the acclaimed novel ‘Death in Captivity’ in 1952.

After the war, Gilbert worked as a solicitor in London, but his writing continued throughout his legal career and in addition to novels he wrote stage plays and scripts for radio and television. He is, however, best remembered for his novels, which have been described as witty and meticulously-plotted espionage and police procedural thrillers, but which exemplify realism.

HRF Keating stated that Smallbone Deceased was amongst the 100 best crime and mystery books ever published. “The plot,” wrote Keating, “is in every way as good as those of Agatha Christie at her best: as neatly dovetailed, as inherently complex yet retaining a decent credibility, and as full of cunningly-suggested red herrings.” It featured Chief Inspector Hazlerigg, who went on to appear in later novels and short stories, and another series was built around Patrick Petrella, a London based police constable (later promoted) who was fluent in four languages and had a love for both poetry and fine wine. Other memorable characters around which Gilbert built stories included Calder and Behrens. They are elderly but quite amiable agents, who are nonetheless ruthless and prepared to take on tasks too much at the dirty end of the business for their younger colleagues. They are brought out of retirement periodically upon receiving a bank statement containing a code.

Much of Michael Gilbert’s writing was done on the train as he travelled from home to his office in London: “I always take a latish train to work,” he explained in 1980, “and, of course, I go first class. I have no trouble in writing because I prepare a thorough synopsis beforehand.”. After retirement from the law, however, he nevertheless continued and also reviewed for ‘The Daily Telegraph’, as well as editing ‘The Oxford Book of Legal Anecdotes’.

Gilbert was appointed CBE in 1980. Generally regarded as ‘one of the elder statesmen of the British crime writing fraternity, he was a founder-member of the British Crime Writers’ Association and in 1988 he was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, before receiving the Lifetime ‘Anthony’ Achievement award at the 1990 Boucheron in London.

Michael Gilbert died in 2006, aged ninety three, and was survived by his wife and their two sons and five daughters. (Source: Goodreads)

Mystery Novels: Close Quarters (1947); They Never Looked Inside aka He Didn’t Mind Danger (1948); The Doors Open (1949); Smallbone Deceased (1950); Death Has Deep Roots (1951); Death in Captivity aka The Danger Within (1952); Fear to Tread (1953); Sky High aka The Country-House Burglar(1955); Be Shot for Sixpence [Serialised in US newspapers as High Spy] (1956); Blood and Judgement (1959); After the Fine Weather (1963); The Crack in the Teacup (1966); The Dust and the Heat aka Overdrive (1967); The Etruscan Net aka The Family Tomb (1969); The Body of a Girl (1972); The Ninety-second Tiger (1973); Flash Point (1974); The Night of the Twelfth (1976); The Empty House (1978); Death of a Favourite Girl  aka The Killing of Katie Steelstock (1980); The Final Throw aka U.S. End-Game (1982); The Black Seraphim (1983); The Long Journey Home (1985); Trouble (1987); Paint, Gold and Blood (1989); The Queen Against Karl Mullen (1991); Roller-Coaster (1993); Ring of Terror (1995); Into Battle (1997); and Over and Out (1998).

Further reading:

A brief look at Michael Gilbert by the late Noah Stewart

A Tribute to Michael Gilbert (1912-2006) by Martin Edwards

Michael Gilbert Obituary at The Telegraph

Michael Gilbert obituary, The Guardian

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(Facsimile Dust Jacket, Hodder & Stoughton (UK), 1947)

Although it was first published in 1947, Gilbert began this novel in the years immediately before World War II and didn’t finish it until he returned from active duty. Set behind the walls of the residential Close of Melchester Cathedral, it’s a classic British mystery in which a young Scotland Yard detective is asked to interrupt his holiday to find out if the accidental death of Canon Whyte was indeed an accident. (Source: Rue Morgue Press)

Close Quarters is the first novel by the British mystery writer Michael Gilbert. Published in England by Hodder and Stoughton in 1947, it did not appear in the United States until 1963. By then Gilbert’s reputation had been firmly established in both countries and his regular American publisher for many years had been Harper & Brothers. Close Quarters, however, was published by Walker and Company, a less prestigious house. In it we are introduced to Chief Inspector Hazlerigg, who will go on to be a recurring character in a number of Gilbert’s works throughout the next ten years. (Source: Wikipedia).

And Martin Edwards commented on Close Quarters: ‘Conceived in the spirit of Golden Age mystery writing, and still an agreeable read today, this whodunit was set in a fictitious Cathedral close.

Michael Innes (1906 – 1994)

descargaJohn Innes Mackintosh Stewart (30 September 1906 – 12 November 1994) was a Scottish novelist and academic. He is equally well known for the works of literary criticism and contemporary novels published under his real name and for the crime fiction published under the pseudonym of Michael Innes. Many devotees of the Innes books were unaware of his other “identity”, and vice versa.

Stewart was born in Edinburgh, the son of Elizabeth Jane (née Clark) and John Stewart of Nairn. His father was a lawyer and Director of Education in the city of Edinburgh. Stewart attended Edinburgh Academy, where Robert Louis Stevenson had been a pupil for a short time, and later studied English literature at Oriel College, Oxford. In 1929 he went to Vienna to study psychoanalysis. He was lecturer in English at the University of Leeds from 1930 to 1935, and then became Jury Professor of English in the University of Adelaide, South Australia. He returned to the United Kingdom to become Lecturer in English at the Queen’s University of Belfast from 1946 to 1948. In 1949 he became a Student (equivalent of Fellow in other Oxford colleges) of Christ Church, Oxford. By the time of his retirement in 1973, he was a professor of the university. He died at Coulsdon.

Stewart wrote several critical studies, including full-length studies of James Joyce, Joseph Conrad, Thomas Love Peacock and Thomas Hardy, as well as many novels and short stories. His last publication was his autobiography Myself and Michael Innes (1987).

Between 1936 and 1986, Stewart, writing under the pseudonym of Michael Innes, published nearly fifty crime novels and short story collections, which he later described as “entertainments”. These abound in literary allusions and in what critics have variously described as “mischievous wit”, “exuberant fancy” and a “tongue-in-cheek propensity” for intriguing turns of phrase. Julian Symons identified Innes as one of the “farceurs”—crime writers for whom the detective story was “an over-civilized joke with a frivolity which makes it a literary conversation piece with detection taking place on the side”—and described Innes’s writing as being “rather in the manner of Peacock strained through or distorted by Aldous Huxley”. His mysteries have also been described as combining “the elliptical introspection … [of] a Jamesian character’s speech, the intellectual precision of a Conradian description, and the amazing coincidences that mark any one of Hardy’s plots”.

The best-known of Innes’s detective creations is Sir John Appleby, who is introduced in Death at the President’s Lodging, in which he is a Detective Inspector at Scotland Yard. Appleby features in many of the later novels and short stories, in the course of which he rises to become Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. Other novels feature portrait painter and Royal Academician, Charles Honeybath, an amateur but nonetheless effective sleuth. The two detectives meet in Appleby and Honeybath. Some of the later stories feature Appleby’s son Bobby as sleuth. (Source: Wikipedia)

Bibliography:

Inspector Appleby Books: Death at the President’s Lodging aka Seven Suspects (1936); Hamlet, Revenge! (1937); Lament for a Maker (1938); Stop Press aka The Spider Strikes (1939); There Came Both Mist and Snow aka A Comedy of Terrors (1940); Appleby on Ararat (1941); The Daffodil Affair (1942); The Weight of the Evidence (1944); Appleby’s End (1945); A Night of Errors (1948); Operation Pax aka The Paper Thunderbolt (1951); A Private View aka One-Man Show aka Murder is an Art (1952); Appleby Plays Chicken aka Death on a Quiet Day (1956); The Long Farewell (1958); Hare Sitting Up (1959); Silence Observed (1961); A Connoisseur’s Case aka The Crabtree Affair (1962); The Bloody Wood (1966); Appleby at Allington aka Death by Water (1968); A Family Affair aka Picture of Guilt (1969); Death at the Chase (1970); An Awkward Lie (1971); The Open House (1972); Appleby’s Answer (1973); Appleby’s Other Story (1974); The Gay Phoenix (1976); The Ampersand Papers (1978); Sheiks and Adders (1982); Appleby and Honeybath (1983); Carson’s Conspiracy (1984); and Appleby and the Ospreys (1986).

Inspector Appleby Collections: Appleby Talking aka Dead Man’s Shoes (1954); Appleby Talks Again (1956); The Appleby File (1975); and Appleby Talks About Crime (2010)

Other novels as Michael Innes: What Happened at Hazelwood (1946); From London Far aka The Unsuspected Chasm (1946); The Journeying Boy (1949); Christmas at Candleshoe aka Candleshoe (1953); The Man from the Sea aka Death by Moonlight (1955); Old Hall, New Hall  aka A Question of Queens (1956); The New Sonia Wayward aka The Case of Sonia Wayward (1960);
Money from Holme
(1964); A Change of Heir (1966); The Mysterious Commission (1974); Honeybath’s Haven (1977); Going It Alone (1980); and Lord Mullion’s Secret (1981).

Christmas at Candleshoe was the basis for the 1977 film Candleshoe starring Jodie Foster, Helen Hayes and David Niven.

Further reading:

An Introduction to Michael Innes

Michael Innes, my favourite mystery author ~ Lynne Murphy

Michael Innes: A Critique by Nick Fuller

And Curt Evans, at The Passing Tramp, wrote:

Perhaps more than any British Golden Age mystery author outside those belonging to the select company of the “Crime Queens” themselves (particularly Dorothy L. Sayers), Michael Innes (1906-1994)–one of the key figures in the development of the erudite, “donnish” detective novel–epitomizes what so many people for so many decades have come to associate with Golden Age British mystery: country houses, dry wit, and lashings and lashings of learned literary allusions.
To be sure, Innes did have a tremendous fantastical streak that set him apart from most other mystery writers, especially in the earlier phases of his crime writing career.  In Inspector John Appleby mysteries like Stop Press (1939), Appleby at Ararat (1941), The Daffodil Affair and Appleby’s End (1945)–which Innes’ English publisher Gollancz rather insistently called detective stories–chimerical elements abound. However, at some point in Innes’ career–say perhaps after the publication of Operation Pax (1951), the fantastification in Innes’ crime fiction diminished, to be replaced by a more sedate sense of genteel British whimsy.
The last 15 of the 32 Appleby mysteries, published between 1962 and 1986, are for the most part genial country house affairs investigated by the now-knighted Sir John Appleby (who has retired from his lofty post as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police), usually with his gentry wife, Judith (Raven) Appleby along for the fun.  Among this later group novels, it’s probably fair to say, there are no masterpieces on par with some of Innes’ preceding crime books, but as a group they afforded (and still do) a safe harbor to traditionalist mystery readers buffeted by the sheer beastliness, as many of them saw it, of modern crime fiction.

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(Facsimile Dust Jacket V. G. Gollancz (UK), 1936)

Synopsis: The members of St Anthony’s College awake one bleak November morning to find the most chilling of crimes has happened in their quiet, contained college. Josiah Umpleby, President of the college, has been shot in his room during the night. The college buzzes with supposition and speculation. Orchard Ground and the lodgings are particularly insulated: only a limited number of senior staff have access and even fewer have their own keys. With the killer walking among them, Inspector John Appleby of the New Scotland Yard is called in to investigate. As tensions rise and accusations abound, can Appleby determine which of the seven suspects had motive and malice enough to murder a colleague in cold blood? (Source: Amazon)

Innes is one of my favorite authors, whose writing manages to include a great deal of wit and humor along with a splendidly complex plot. This was his first mystery. It’s highly entertaining. (Les Blatt at Classic Mysteries)

Anthony Berkeley (1893 – 1971)

anthony berkeleyBorn in 1893, Anthony Berkeley (Anthony Berkeley Cox) was a British crime writer and a leading member of the genre’s Golden Age. Educated at Sherborne School and University College London, Berkeley served in the British army during WWI before becoming a journalist. His first novel, The Layton Court Murders, was published anonymously in 1925. It introduced Roger Sheringham, the amateur detective who features in many of the author’s novels including the classic The Poisoned Chocolates Case. In 1930, Berkeley founded the legendary Detection Club in London along with Agatha Christie, Freeman Wills Crofts and other established mystery writers. It was in 1938, under the pseudonym Francis Iles (which Berkeley also used for novels) that he took up work as a book reviewer for John O’London’s Weekly and The Daily Telegraph. He later wrote for The Sunday Times in the mid 1940s, and then for The Guardian from the mid 1950s until 1970. A key figure in the development of crime fiction, he died in 1971. (Source: Amazon)

Anthony Berkeley Cox tends to be mostly remembered for the first two of his “sophisticated,” psychological “Francis Iles” novels, Malice Aforethought (1931) and Before the Fact (1932). As for the more numerous crime novels Cox wrote under the name “Anthony Berkeley,” the great standouts traditionally have been The Poisoned Chocolates Case, a stunt story much praised by Julian Symons and others, and the clever criminal and judicial extravaganza Trial and Error (1937), in my opinion Cox’s magnum opus. Little of the rest of Cox’s output gets much notice, though in my view some of it, particularly Top Storey Murder (1931), Jumping Jenny (1933) and Not to be Taken (1938), is excellent. (Curt J. Evans)

For further information read:

The Urbane Innovator: Anthony Berkeley, Aka Francis Iles by Martin Edwards 

Elusion Aforethought: The Life and Writing of Anthony Berkeley Cox (1996) by Malcolm J. Turnbull by Kate Jackson

Ranking the Work of Anthony Berkeley by Kate Jackson.

A Selected Anthony Berkeley reading list

Roger Sheringham series: The Layton Court Mystery [published anonymously] (1925); The Wychford Poisoning Case (1926); Roger Sheringham and the Vane Mystery aka The Mystery at Lover’s Cave (1927); The Silk Stocking Murders (1928); The Poisoned Chocolates Case (1929); The Second Shot (1930); Top Storey Murder (1931); Murder in the Basement (1932); Jumping Jenny aka Dead Mrs. Stratton (1933); Panic Party aka  Mr. Pidgeon’s Island (1934); and The Avenging Chance and Other Mysteries From Roger Sheringham’s Casebook (2004).

Novels as Francis Iles: Malice Aforethought (1931); Before the Fact (1931); The Rattenbury Case (1936); and As for the Woman (1939).

Other Crime Novels: The Professor On Paws (1926); Cicely Disappears as A. Monmouth Platts (1927); Mr. Priestley’s Problem aka The Amateur Crime as A.B. Cox (1927); The Piccadilly Murder (1929); The Policeman Only Taps Once (1936); Trial and Error (1937); Not to Be Taken aka A Puzzle in Poison (1938); and Death in the House (1939). (Source: The Urbane Innovator: Anthony Berkeley, Aka Francis Iles by Martin Edwards).

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(Facsimile Dust Jacket, Collins Detective Novel (UK), 1929)

Once Mr Chitterwick had given his evidence, thus clarifying that the elderly lady’s death was murder and not suicide, it appeared a straightforward case. He had seen something being put into the lady’s coffee cup, after all. But then friends and relatives of the accused appeal to Mr Chitterwick, claiming him incapable of such a crime. As Mr Chitterwick investigates, doubts begin to surface, until more evidence arises to hint at a more complicated set of occurrences… (The Langtail Press).

The Piccadilly Murder has been reviewed, among others, at crossexaminingcrime, ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’, The View from the Blue House, and The Grandest Game in the World.

Brian Flynn (1885 – 1958)

Yesterday I mentioned, almost in passing, a new (to me) writer, Brian Flynn.

Among the Dean Street Press books, I’d particularly like to highlight two series. The first is the set of books by Brian Flynn, the second is those by E. and M.A. Radford. They benefit from excellent introductions by two fans who have done a good deal of admirable work in the field. Steve Barge (who blogs as The Puzzle Doctor) is a passionate Flynn fan, while Nigel Moss has long admired the work of the Radfords. I haven’t yet read enough of either novelist to be able to judge them for myself (where does the time go?), but the enthusiasm of Steve and Nigel is a recommendation in itself. (Martin Edwards at ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’).

Today I would like to restate my previous post here.

flynnBrian Flynn was born in 1885 in Leyton, Essex. He won a scholarship to the City Of London School, and while he went into the civil service (ranking fourth in the whole country on the entrance examination) rather than go to university, the classical education that he received there clearly stayed with him. Protracted bouts of rheumatic fever prevented him fighting in the Great War, but instead he served as a Special Constable on the Home Front. Flynn worked for the local government while teaching “Accountancy, Languages, Maths and Elocution to men, women, boys and girls” in the evenings, and acting as part of the Trevelyan Players in his spare time. It was a seaside family holiday that inspired him to turn his hand to writing in the mid-twenties. Finding most mystery novels of the time “mediocre in the extreme”, he decided to compose his own. Edith, the author’s wife, encouraged its completion, and after a protracted period finding a publisher, it was eventually released in 1927 by John Hamilton in the UK and Macrae Smith in the U.S. as The Billiard-Room Mystery. The author died in 1958. In all, he wrote and published 57 mysteries, the vast majority featuring the super-sleuth Anthony Bathurst. (Source:  In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel and Dean Street Press).

For additional information please check Steve Barge’s blog In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, and write down Brian Flynn in his search engine. Particularly Brian Flynn and Me – The Return Of A Forgotten Author.

Bibliography: The Anthony Bathurst Mysteries: The Billiard-Room Mystery (1927), The Case of the Black Twenty-Two (1928), The Mystery of the Peacock’s Eye (1928), The Murders Near Mapleton (1929), The Five Red Fingers (1929)*, Invisible Death (1929)*, The Creeping Jenny Mystery aka The Crime at the Crossways (1929), Murder En Route (1930), The Orange Axe (1931), The Triple Bite (1931), The Padded Door (1932), The Edge of Terror (1932), The Spiked Lion (1933), The League of Matthias (1934), The Horn (1934), The Case of the Purple Calf aka The Ladder of Death (1934), The Sussex Cuckoo (1935), The Fortescue Candle (1936), Fear and Trembling aka The Somerset Murder (1936), Tread Softly (1937), Cold Evil (1938), The Ebony Stag (1938), Black Edged (1939), The Case of the Faithful Heart (1939), The Case of the Painted Ladies (1940), They Never Came Back (1940), Such Bright Disguises (1941), Glittering Prizes (1942), Reverse the Charges (1943), The Grim Maiden (1944), The Case of Elymas the Sorcerer (1945), Conspiracy at Angel (1947), The Sharp Quillet (1947), Exit Sir John (1947), The Swinging Death (1948), Men for Pieces (1949), Black Agent (1950), Where There Was Smoke (1951), And Cauldron Bubble (1951), The Ring of Innocent (1952), The Seventh Sign (1952), The Running Nun (1952), Out of the Dusk (1953), The Feet of Death (1954), The Doll’s Done Dancing (1954), The Shaking Spear (1955), The Mirador Collection (1955), The Toy Lamb (1956), The Dice Are Dark (1956), The Hands of Justice (1957), The Wife Who Disappeared (1957), The Nine Cuts (1958), and The Saints Are Sinister (1958).

* This is slightly odd, as The Five Red Fingers is the first book published by John Long, while Invisible Death was the last title published by John Hamilton. Despite this, and the fact that the first edition of The Five Red Fingers refers to Flynn as the author of “The Silver Troika”, presumably an early title for Invisible Death, the events of The Five Red Fingers are referred to in Invisible Death. Hence the order as presented above is correct, both in publication date and in the order the books take place.

Non-Series: Tragedy at Trinket (1934)

Writing As Charles Wogan
: The Hangman’s Hands (1947),
The Horror At Warden Hall
(1948), and
Cyanide For The Chorister
(1950). (Source: In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel)

My original intention was to read first Murder En Route (1930) here, but finally I decided to follow Steve’s advice who recommends to start reading this series with The Mystery of the Peacock’s Eye (1928).

Without further ado, another one of the books I have on top of my TBR list right now is Murder En Route (1930),

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(Facsimile Dust Jacket, Grosset & Dunlap (USA), 1932 reprint)

Book Description: “Education’s like murder. It will out.”

Anthony Bathurst drops into a Glebeshire church and when it transpires that the vicar is acquainted with the medical examiner on a case of murder, Bathurst is hooked. He is soon on the trail of a most bizarre murderer. Who could have slain the slightly mysterious, yet quite unsuspicious, man on the top of a local bus? Bathurst assembles a band of helpers, with the reluctant help of Inspector Curgenven, to get to the bottom of a most perplexing case. And the vicar himself helps narrate the story of what is a seemingly impossible crime.

Murder en Route was originally published in 1930. This new edition includes an introduction by crime fiction historian Steve Barge.

What others have said:

Jim F Norris @ Pretty Sinister Books: ‘Being one of Flynn’s earliest mystery novels Murder En Route was published in both UK and US editions. But obviously both are as rare as a wooden nickel these days. However, if you are lucky enough to stumble across a copy I’d snap it up in an instant. I enjoyed it immensely and it proves that the obscure writers can dish up an engrossing, ingenious and thrilling detective story to match any of the greats of the Golden Age.’

TomCat @ Beneath the Stains of Time: ‘Overall, Murder en Route is a solidly plotted and fascinating detective novel about a victim who’s as elusive as his murderer, but all of the clues are there for you to pick up and put together, if you can – making it my favorite entry in the series so far. Highly recommended!’

Steve Barge @ In Search of the Classic Mystery: ‘Overall, this is a nicely complex yet clear plot, with some good twists and turns, with the overall picture being an imaginative one. The reader may guess some parts of it, but there are clues there as to what’s going on, and it’s written with Flynn’s light touch making it, as ever, a very enjoyable read, from the opening sections on the bus to the exciting and somewhat unlikely finale. Yes, some characters suffer from the mystery-novel syndrome of not doing the obvious thing due to it making a better story – Flynn is hardly alone in committing this sin – but this is a clever and fun read. Who could ask for more?’

Kate Jackson @ crossexaminingcrime: ‘This is not the first story to use a vicar-type character to narrate a story. In the same year this book was published we also had Christie’s The Murder at the Vicarage (1930) and two years later we would have Gladys Mitchell’s The Saltmarsh Murders. Initially I was not very taken with the narration style of the rector in Murder En Route, finding it at times a bit ponderous, however as the plot unfolds I found he grew on me. Furthermore, for those who love a good cliff hanger, Flynn has plenty of these in store, making it so tempting to read just one more chapter, to find out what happens next…’

Les Blatt @ Classic Mysteries: ‘Between his first mystery, written in 1927, and his last, in 1958, the author, Brian Flynn, wrote more than fifty mysteries. And yet, his name has slipped into complete and, in my opinion, undeserved oblivion. Dean Street Press has begun republishing some of Flynn’s work, including Murder en Route, and there is a great deal there to enjoy. … The new edition from Dean Street Press of Brian Flynn’s Murder en Route includes a very informative and useful introduction, both to this book in particular and to Flynn’s work in general, from mystery historian Steve Barge. If you don’t know Brian Flynn’s work – and I certainly didn’t – I would recommend Murder en Route as a good place to start.’