My Book Notes: Murder en Route: An Anthony Bathurst Mystery, 1930 (Anthony Bathurst Mysteries Book # 8) by Brian Flynn

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Dean Street Press, 2019. Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 985 KB. Print Length: 222 pages. ASIN: B07XK12DMT. eISBN: 978 1 913054 50 2. First published in 1930 by John Long. This new edition includes an introduction by crime fiction historian Steve Barge.

51iqX1y4GDLBook 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.

My Take: One cold and uncomfortable night in mid-November, the last motor-bus left the coastal town of Esting, destination Raybourne, where it was due to arrive in an hour and five minutes. The bus in question was a double-decker with its roof uncovered and there was one only passenger travelling on the upper deck, despite the bad weather. Since he got on, the bus did not pick up more passengers. No one else through out the entire journey climbed to the upper floor. At destination, the conductor waited on his platform for the passenger to descend. Realising he was not coming down, he went upstairs to see if he was asleep, but soon he felt that something odd had happened. The passenger in question was not asleep, he was dead. In fact, he had been murdered, something that seemed impossible since he had been all alone since he got on the bus. To make matters worse, the victim was not carrying any documents and cannot be identified. This will be one of the most baffling cases the local police will have to tackle, but fortunately they will count with the invaluable help of Anthony Bathurst, who happens to be in the area and becomes interested in the case.

Murder en Route is the eighth book in the Anthony Bathurst series, and the second I’ve read. Steve Barge, who blogs at In Search of the Classic Mystery, is, in a sense, responsible for sparking my interest in Brian Flynn and, from what I understand, Murder en Route is one of his best novels, among the ten currently available. For this reason I rushed to read it before others, and it has not disappointed me in the least. I was particularly interested in this novel since its plot revolves around an impossible crime and from what we can read in the Introduction, even though Flynn has dabbled in impossible crimes before  –The Case Of the Black Twenty-Two and Invisible Death– it is not a recurring theme in his work. A later book, The Spiked Lion, also deals with a locked room murder, but these are the exceptions rather than the rule. Steve Barge also highlights in his introduction that ‘this is the first time that Flynn has adopted a first person narrator since his opening book, an it is a slightly odd choice, given that the Reverend begins his narration in Chapter Four, he has to relate some incidents where he was not present, whereas other chapters on such events are written in the third person. . . . , slightly odd, but it does not distract from the tale which is, on a relative scale, one of Flynn’s better works.’ Ultimately, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Murder en Route. The story is well constructed, the author plays fair with the reader, and the readers count with a good number of clues at their disposal to anticipate the final outcome. Highly recommended.

My Rating: A (I loved it)

Murder en Route has been reviewed, among others, at Pretty Sinister Books, Beneath the Stains of Time, In Search of the Classic Mystery, Cross-Examining Crime, and Classic Mysteries.


Source: Facsimile Dust Jackets, LLC

About the Author: Brian 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:  Steve Barge’s Introduction and Dean Street Press).

The first ten books in the series have been published by Dean Street Press: 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 (1929), Murder en Route (1930), The Orange Axe (1931), The Triple Bite (1931).

Dean Street Press publicity page

Brian Flynn at In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel

Murder En Route, de Brian Flynn

Descripción del libro:”La educación es como el asesinato. No se puede ocultar “. Anthony Bathurst entra en una iglesia de Glebeshire y cuando resulta que el vicario conoce al médico forense en un caso de asesinato, Bathurst se siente enganchado. Pronto sigue el rastro del asesino más extraño. ¿Quién podría haber matado al hombre algo misterioso, aunque bastante poco sospechoso, en el piso superior de un autobús local? Bathurst reúne a un grupo de ayudantes, con la ayuda reticente del Inspector Curgenven, para llegar al fondo de un caso sumamente desconcertante. Y el vicario mismo ayuda a contar la historia de lo que es un crimen aparentemente imposible.

Mi opinión: Una noche fría y desapacible a mediados de noviembre, el último autobús salió de la ciudad costera de Esting, destino Raybourne, donde debía llegar en una hora y cinco minutos. El autobús en cuestión era de dos pisos con el techo descubierto y solo llevaba un pasajero viajando en el piso superior, desafiando el mal tiempo. Desde que subió, el autobús no recogió más pasajeros y nadie más durante todo el viaje subió al piso de arriba. Al llegar a su destino, el revisor esperó en su plataforma a que el pasajero descendiera. Al darse cuenta de que no iba a bajar, subió para ver si se encontraba dormido, pero pronto sintió que algo extraño había sucedido. El pasajero en cuestión no estaba dormido, estaba muerto. De hecho, había sido asesinado, algo que parecía imposible, ya que había estado solo desde que se subió al autobús. Para empeorar las cosas, la víctima no llevaba ningún documento y no puede ser identificada. Este será uno de los casos más desconcertantes que la policía local tendrá que abordar, pero afortunadamente contarán con la invaluable ayuda de Anthony Bathurst, quien se encuentra en el área y se interesa por el caso.

Murder en Route es el octavo libro de la serie Anthony Bathurst, y el segundo que he leído. Steve Barge, que escribe en su blog In Search of the Classic Mystery, es, en cierto sentido, responsable de haber despertado mi interés por Brian Flynn y, por lo que entiendo, Murder en Route es una de sus mejores novelas, entre las diez disponibles actualmente. Por esta razón, me apresuré a leerla antes que otras, y no me ha decepcionado lo más mínimo. Estaba particularmente interesado en esta novela ya que su trama gira en torno a un crimen imposible y, por lo que podemos leer en la Introducción, a pesar de que Flynn ha hecho incusiones en crímenes imposibles antes –The Case Of the Black Twenty-Two and Invisible Death–  no es un tema recurrente en su obra. Un libro posterior, The Spiked Lion, también trata sobre un asesinato en una habitación cerrada, pero estas son las excepciones y no la regla. Steve Barge también destaca en su introducción que “esta es la primera vez que Flynn adopta un narrador en primera persona desde su primer libro, y es una elección un poco extraña, dado que el Reverendo comienza su narración en el Capítulo Cuarto, tiene que contar algunos incidentes donde no estuvo presente, mientras que otros capítulos sobre tales sucesos están escritos en tercera persona. . . . , un poco extraño, pero no distrae de la historia que es, en una escala relativa, una de las mejores obras de Flynn“. En definitiva, he disfrutado mucho leyendo Murder en Route. La historia está bien construida, el autor juega limpio con el lector y los lectores cuentan con una buena cantidad de pistas a su disposición para anticipar el resultado final. Muy recomendable.

Mi valoración: A (Me encantó)

Sobre el autor: Brian Flynn nació en 1885 en Leyton, Essex. Obtuvo una beca para la City Of London School, aunque ingresó en el cuerpo de funcionarios civiles del Estado (ocupando el cuarto lugar de todo el país en el examen de ingreso) en lugar de ir a la universidad, la educación clásica que recibió allí claramente le acompañaron siempre. Episodios prolongados de fiebre reumática le impidieron participar activamente en la Primera Guerra Mundial, pero en cambio sirvió como agente especial de la policía en la retaguardia mientras enseñaba “contabilidad, idiomas, matemáticas y expresión oral a hombres, mujeres, niños y niñas” por las tardes, y actuaba formando parte de los Actores de Trevelyan en su tiempo libre. Fueron unas vacaciones familiares junto al mar las que le inspiraron a dedicarse a escribir a mediados de los años veinte. Al encontrar que la mayoría de las novelas de misterio de la época eran “extremadamente mediocres”, se decidió a escribir la suya propia. Edith, su mujer, le animó a terminarla, y tras un período prolongado buscando editor, John Hamilton en el Reino Unido y Macrae Smith en los Estados Unidos la publicaron en el 1927 como The Billiard-Room Mystery. Brian Flynn murió en 1958. En total, escribió y publicó 57 misterios, la gran mayoría protagonizados por el genial detective Anthony Bathurst. (Fuente: Introducción de Steve Barge y Dean Street Press).

Anna Katharine Green (1846–1935)

Anna-Katharine-GreenAnna Katharine Green (1846-1935) was an American poet and novelist. She was one of the first writers of detective fiction in America and distinguished herself by writing well plotted, legally accurate stories. Born in Brooklyn, New York, her early ambition was to write romantic verse, and she corresponded with Ralph Waldo Emerson. When her poetry failed to gain recognition, she produced her first and best known novel, The Leavenworth Case (1878). She became a bestselling author, eventually publishing about 40 books. She was in some ways a progressive woman for her time-succeeding in a genre dominated by male writers-but she did not approve of many of her feminist contemporaries, and she was opposed to women’s suffrage. Her other works include A Strange Disappearance (1880), The Affair Next Door (1897), The Circular Study (1902), The Filigree Ball (1903), The Millionaire Baby (1905), The House in the Mist (1905), The Woman in the Alcove (1906), The House of the Whispering Pines (1910), Initials Only (1912), and The Mystery of the Hasty Arrow (1917), (Source: Goodreads)

Many of Anna Katharine Green’s books are available electronically from Project Gutenberg.

Further reading:

md22757119478From Wikipedia: The Leavenworth Case (1878), subtitled A Lawyer’s Story, is an American detective novel and the first novel by Anna Katharine Green. Set in New York City, it concerns the murder of a retired merchant, Horatio Leavenworth, in his New York mansion. The popular novel introduced the detective Ebenezer Gryce, and was influential in the development of the detective novel. In her autobiography, Agatha Christie cited it as an influence on her own fiction.

Synopsis: Everett Raymond is a junior partner in the firm of Veeley, Carr & Raymond, attorneys and counselors at law. When Mr. Horatio Leavenworth, a very old and wealthy client, is found murdered, Everett finds himself entangled in the case. Leavenworth has been inexplicably shot while sitting at his own library table at night, all the doors in the house locked and untampered with. Suicide is quickly ruled out. Was the killer someone inside the house? Suspects abound: Thomas, the butler; Harwell, the private secretary and amanuensis to Mr. Leavenworth; and Mary and Eleanore Leavenworth, the two lady nieces, one of whom has been left out of her uncle’s will. Everett dives in as right-hand man to the inscrutable police detective Ebenezer Gryce, a brilliant investigator on the New York Metropolitan Police Force.

From a vanished servant to a secret marriage, from a shadowy mustached man to a forged confession, this swiftly plotted Victorian-era mystery, full of twists and turns and devastating cliffhangers, will keep you guessing until the very last page. Influential in the development of the modern suspense novel and a huge bestseller when it was first published, The Leavenworth Case is a groundbreaking tale not to be missed. (Source: Mysterious Press)

The Leavenworth Case has been reviewed, among others, at Golden Age of Detection Wiki, Cross-Examining Crime, Mysteries Ahoy! My Reader’s Block, Vintage Pop Fictions, and the crime segments.

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