Cyril 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)
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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)
(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.