Day: March 26, 2020

E. & M.A. Radford (1891-1973) and (1894-1990

radfordEdwin Isaac Radford (1891-1973) with his wife Mona Augusta Radford (born Mangan) (1894-1990) made up the writing duo E. & M. A. Radford. Edwin Radford married Mona Augusta Mangan in 1939. Edwin worked as a journalist, holding many editorial roles on Fleet Street in London, while Mona was a popular leading lady in musical-comedy and revues until her retirement from the stage. The couple turned to crime fiction when they were both in their early fifties. Edwin described their collaborative formula as: “She kills them off, and I find out how she done it.” Their primary series detective was Harry Manson who they introduced in 1944. The Radfords spent their final years living in Worthing on the English South Coast. (Source: Dean Street Press)

Dean Street Press have republished six of their classic mysteries: Murder Jigsaw (1944), Murder Isn’t Cricket (1946), Who Killed Dick Whittington? (1947), The Heel Of Achilles (1950), Death Of A Frightened Editor (1959) and Death And The Professor (1961).

Death and the Professor (1961) is of particular interest to every locked room reader. A collection of short stories structured as a detective novel with seven of the eight stories covering an entire page in Robert Adey’s Locked Room Murders (1991). (TomCat at Beneath the Stains of Time)

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?’).

Bibliography:

Harry Manson NovelsInspector Manson’s Success (1944), Murder Jigsaw (1944), Crime Pays No Dividends (1945) aka Death of a Peculiar Rabbit (republished 1969), Murder Isn’t Cricket (1946), It’s Murder to Live! (1947), Who Killed Dick Whittington? (1947), John Kyleing Died (1949), The Heel of Achilles (1950), Look in At Murder (1956), Death On the Broads (1957), Death of a Frightened Editor (1959), Death At the Chateau Noir (1960), Murder on My Conscience (1960), Death’s Inheritance (1961), Death Takes the Wheel (1962), From Information Received (1962), A Cosy Little Murder (1963), Murder Of Three Ghosts (1963), The Hungry Killer (1964), Mask of Murder (1965), Murder Magnified (1965), Death of a Gentleman (1966), Jones’s Little Murders (1967), The Middlefold Murders (1967), No Reason for Murder (1967), The Safety First Murders (1968), Trunk Call to Murder (1968), Death of an Ancient Saxon (1969), Death of a Peculiar Rabbit (1969), Two Ways to Murder (1969), Murder Is Ruby Red (1970), Murder Speaks (1970), Dead Water (1971), The Greedy Killers (1971), and Death Has Two Faces (1972).

Other Novels: The Six Men (1958), Married to Murder (1959), and Death an the Professor (1961).

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(Facsimile Dust Jacket, Andrew Melrose Ltd. (UK), 1946)

Book Description: Why should a holidaymaker, sitting to enjoy a game of village cricket, suddenly meet with death in the shape of a flying bullet?

That most English of sporting pastimes: a cricket match between two rivalrous village teams. The game has just ended in a closely fought draw,  and the village green is emptied of all spectators, bar one. A dead man is found sitting in a deck chair on the boundary line, clearly shot during the match. The man is a stranger, with no obvious clue to his identity or that of his killer. Nobody has seen or heard the shot fired. The local police are baffled, and call in Scotland Yard. Enter Dr. Manson, investigative detective par excellence, to solve a seemingly impossible crime.

Murder Isn’t Cricket was originally published in 1946. This new edition includes an introduction by crime fiction historian Nigel Moss.

Murder Isn’t Cricket has been reviewed, among others at Beneath the Stains of Time.

Cyril Hare (1900 – 1958)

OIPCyril Hare was the pseudonym for the distinguished lawyer Alfred Alexander Gordon Clark. He was born in Surrey, in 1900, and was educated at Rugby and Oxford. A member of the Inner Temple, he was called to the Bar in 1924 and joined the chambers of Roland Oliver, who handled many of the great crime cases of the 1920s. He practised as a barrister until the Second World War, after which he served in various legal and judicial capacities including a time as a county court judge in Surrey.

Hare’s crime novels, many of which draw on his legal experience, have been praised by Elizabeth Bowen and P.D. James among others. He died in 1958 – at the peak of his career as a judge, and at the height of his powers as a master of the whodunit. (Source: faber.co.uk)

For additional information click here at Martin Edwards website.

Bibliography: Tenant for Death (1937); Death is No Sportsman (1938); Suicide Excepted (1939); Tragedy at Law (1942); With a Bare Bodkin (1946); When the Wind Blows aka The Wind Blows Death (1949); An English Murder aka The Christmas Murder (1951); That Yew Tree’s Shade aka Death Walks the Woods (1954); He Should Have Died Hereafter aka Untimely Death (1958); and Best Detective Stories aka Death Among Friends (1959)

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(Facsimile Dust Jacket, Faber & Faber Limited (UK), 1939)

Synopsis: An Inspector Mallett mystery, originally published in 1939, by one of the best-loved Golden Age crime writers, Cyril Hare. Inspector Mallett’s stay at the country house hotel of Pendlebury Old Hall has been a disappointment. Room, food and service have been a letdown and he eagerly anticipates the end of his holiday. His last trial is to sit and listen when an elderly and boorish man, whose family once owned the house, joins his table. The next day the man is dead and Mallett unwittingly finds himself investigating the suspicious ‘suicide’. ‘Adroit in its manipulation …and distinguished by a plot-twister which I’ll wager Christie wishes she’d thought of’ – “New York Times”. ‘Mr. Hare’s controlled ingenuity and lively, sardonic characterization put “Suicide Excepted” in a very high class’ – “Observer”. (Source: Amazon)

Suicide Excepted has been reviewed, among others, at My Reader’s Block, Countdown John’s Christie Journal, Cross Examining Crime, and Bedford Bookshelf. With these recommendations, you can’t be wrong. Stay tuned.