George Limnelius (1886 – 1950)

George Limnelius, a reference to Limmel his mother’s maiden name, is the pseudonym that Lewis George Robinson (1886-1950) used to publish his three crime novels: The Medbury Fort Murder (1929), Tell No Tales (1931), and The Manuscript Murder (1933). He had a long and distinguished career as a medical officer in the British Army during the First World War reaching the rank of colonel when he retired due to health reasons. Robinson also penned an inverted mystery novel under his own name, The General Goes Too Far (1936), which was adapted as the motion picture The High Command (1937), directed by Thorold Dickinson and starring Lionel Atwill, Lucie Mannheim and James Mason.

Editorial Renacimiento (in Spanish)

George Limnelius (in Spanish)

‘A memorable setting, strong characterisation and sound plotting distinguish George Limnelius’ crime-writing debut. This locked-room mystery begins quietly, with background and character sketched at some length. When Major Hugh Preece of the Royal Army Medial Corps is consulted by a subaltern called Lepean, his realisation that he has encountered the man before triggers memories of past indiscretions.’

‘Why the novel has often been overlooked by historians of the genre is itself a mystery, but its merits were long championed by the late Robert Adey, the leading expert on locked-room mysteries and impossible crime stories.’ (Martin Edwards’ The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books (British Library Crime Classics, 2017). 

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(Source: Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC. Doubleday The Crime Club (USA), 1929)

The Medbury Fort Murder, originally published in 1929 for the Crime Club, Inc. by Doubleday, Doran & Company, Garden City, New York, is a ‘golden-age’ murder mystery involving the killing of an unpopular British Army officer stationed at an out-of-the way post in England. Loathsome Lt. Lepean is found with his throat cut and his head nearly severed from his body in a locked room at the isolated Medbury Fort situated on the Thames. Lepean was not at all admired among his fellow soldiers. The arrogant, sneering soldier was a known user of women and is revealed early on to be a ruthless blackmailer. There are at least four men who had very good reason to kill Lepean, two of them were being blackmailed. Was it one of them who slew the soldier or someone else? (Source: Amazon). In this edition of The Medbury Fort Murder, the UK English spellings have been changed, in nearly all cases, to those used in the United States.

The Medbury Fort Murder has been reviewed, among others, at ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’ Pretty Sinister Books, Mysteries Ahoy! and Beneath the Stains of Time.

Godfrey R. Benson (1864 – 1945)

6222253Godfrey Rathbone Benson, the first Baron Charnwood (6 November 1864 – 3 February 1945) was a British author, academic, Liberal politician and philanthropist. Benson was born in Alresford, Hampshire, the son of William Benson, a barrister, and Elizabeth Soulsby Smith. He was educated at Winchester and Balliol College, Oxford. He graduated in 1887, and would later become a philosophy lecturer at Balliol. He was involved in Liberal politics and represented Woodstock in the House of Commons from 1892 to 1895, and later, after his elevation to the peerage in 1911, in the House of Lords. On 11 May 1897 he married Dorothea Mary Roby Thorpe, daughter of Roby Thorpe and Nelly Mundella, at St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster, London, England. They had four children. He was called to the bar by the Inner Temple in 1898. He held the office of Mayor of Lichfield between 1909 and 1911 and he was created 1st Baron Charnwood, of Castle Donington, in the County of Leicester on 29 June 1911. Lord Charnwood was the author of many works, including two biographies, Abraham Lincoln (1916) and Theodore Roosevelt (1923), and a detective novel, Tracks in the Snow (1906) [Included in The Haycraft-Queen Cornerstones of Detective Fiction]. Charnwood was also involved in charitable work with the deaf and disabled, becoming the first President of the National Institute for the Deaf from 1924 until 1935. He died on 3 February 1945 at age 80.

Track in the Snow by Lord Charnwood is a detective story and, as such, is above the average. But it has other virtues that are seldom found in mystery novels. The action turns upon the murder in 1896 of Eustace Peters, a wealthy bachelor, who was found stabbed in bed at his house in Long Wilton ; and the narrative takes the form of a series of reminiscences of the hunt for the criminal and the subsequent trial, written years afterwards by the clergyman who was Rector of that parish at the time. The Rector describes how suspicion first fell upon Peters’s gardener, and how it then veered from one to another of four possible men, until finally the crime was driven remorselessly home to the real culprit. All this is ingenious and exciting enough, but the uncommon distinction of the book ties in its incidental scenes of country life, its portraiture, its strong literary style, and the charm with which Lord Charnwood has invested the Rector’s own personality. (Source: The Spectator)

And Martin Edwards writes concerning Track in the Snow in his book The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books (British Library Crime Classics, 2017): 

Godfrey Benson enjoyed a career of distinction before and after making aa solitary venture into crime fiction. Tracks in the Snow: Being the History of a Crime is narrated by Robert Driver, rector of a country parish, and opens crisply: ‘On the morning of the 29th of January, 1896, Eustace Peters was found murdered in his bed . . .  Much mystery attached to the circumstances of his death. It was into my hands that chances threw the clue to his mystery.’

After Benson was elevated to the peerage in 1911, editions of Tracks into the Snow appeared under the name Lord Charnwood. Later it sank into oblivion, but Benson’s thoughtful, well-crafted prose, his insights into human behaviour, and the way in which the story touches on issues such as free will and the ramifications of Britain’s imperial past combine to make his brief venture into the crime genre notable.

5c2ecfc9-e98f-4a90-9161-2eff7e5c56f2Robert Driver is temporarily fulfilling the post of parson at Long Wilton, a position he finds tedious in the extreme. But the monotony is relieved in terrible fashion when, one snowy evening, his friend Peters is found murdered at his country house, Grenvile Comb. Driver takes an interest in the case, and when a chance discovery leads him to suspect that the police’s suspicions about the culprit’s identity may be entirely incorrect, he is determined to see that justice is done. He finds he must proceed with caution, however, if he is to avoid bringing down further tragedy upon himself and his family.
Originally published in 1906, this vintage detective story will delight all fans of classic crime fiction. (Source: Amazon)