My Book Notes: I Could Murder Her apa Murder of a Martinet, 1951 (Robert MacDonald #34) by E.C.R. Lorac


Esta entrada es bilingüe, desplazarse hacia abajo para ver la versión en español

Popular Library New York. Format: ebook. Print length: 191 pages. Published by arrangement with Doubleday & Company Inc. Originally published in the UK by Collins Crime Cub, 1951, as Murder of a Martinet and in the US by Doubleday Crime Club, 1951, as I Could Murder Her.

13563689Synopsis: For a long time Muriel Farrington had ruled the lives of her children, gathering them all together, married or single, under the same roof in the old family mansion. She made a fetish of getting her own way, and like to do it gracefully if possible, but if there was any resistance she could always relay on the subtle effects of the time-honoured heart attack. Self-satisfied, and selfish beyond belief, she did not sense the bitter resentment that burned in the breast of her family, and was far realising the point of desperation which was leading inexorably to her own destruction. For Chief Inspector Macdonald this was not one of the easy cases, but it is one of E. C. R. Lorac’s best. (Source: Collins Crime Club)

My Take: Muriel Farrington was a selfish and domineering woman who liked to exercise a tight control over all members of her family. With the sole exception of her husband and her eldest son, from a previous marriage, they all despised her. But nobody never ever dared to face her and leaving was not an option. They all lived at her expense and almost none was determined to lead an independent life, without her financial support. Besides her mansion, Windermere House, she had a small fortune of her own. Within this context, one day Mrs. Farrington was found dead in her bed. Since she was believed to have a weak heart, everyone thinks she had had a heart attack and had died in her sleep. Her death did not appear to have been a surprise to anyone. However, their old family doctor, Dr Baring, had had a car crash the night before and, after being hospitalized, he passed away. In his place, Dr Scott, a young doctor who had previously expressed doubts about Mrs. Farrington’s possible heart condition, refuses to sign her death certificate. He had noticed something strange: a clear mark of a hypodermic injection in her left forearm. The autopsy reveals she had received a dose of insulin and, as she was not diabetic, her death was an inevitable result. Chief Inspector Macdonald and his assistant, Detective Inspector Reeves, must investigate the circumstances that surrounded her death.

I Could Murder Her, originally published in the UK as Murder of a Martinet, is hard to find, but can be accessed through the Open Library. My interest in this novel arose after reading Curtis Evans’ article in The Passing Tramp on Edith Caroline Rivett. I have found the story quite compelling, but not well developed, or at least quite uneven. In my opinion, it would have worked better as a novella or short story. In particular, I felt that several of its central chapters are too repetitive and could have been shortened without hurting the end result. Overall, I found it an interesting read that describes well the era in which it was written and in which the psychology of the characters plays a prominent role.

My rating: B (I liked it)

Murder of a Martinet apa I Could Murder Her has been reviewed, among others, at Mystery File, My Reader’s Block, and A Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection.

2142

(Source: Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC. Collins The Crime Club (UK), 1951)

About the Author: Edith Caroline Rivett wrote under the pseudonyms E.C.R. Lorac, Carol Carnac, Carol Rivett and Mary le Bourne. She was born in Hendon, Middlesex (now London), and she attended the South Hampstead High School, and the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London. A very prolific writer, Rivett wrote forty-eight mysteries under her first pen name (most of these books features her main series character, Chief Inspector Robert Macdonald, a “London Scot” and an avowed bachelor with a love for walking in the English countryside. In 28 of these books, he has the help of his assistant, Detective Inspector Reeves), and twenty-three under her second (they feature three different series characters. The first one is Inspector Ryvet. The other two are Chief Inspector Julian Rivers (who appears in 15 books), and his assistant, Inspector Lansing, who appears in 18 cases (four of them with Ryvet). She was a member of the Detection Club. Her books have been almost entirely neglected since her death, but deserve rediscovery as fine examples of classic British crime fiction in its golden age.

The forty-eight mysteries she wrote as E. C. R. Lorac are The Murder on the Burrows, 1931; The Affair at Thor’s Head, 1932; The Greenwell Mystery, 1932; Death on the Oxford Road, 1933; The Case of Colonel Marchand, 1933; Murder in St John’s Wood, 1934; Murder in Chelsea, 1934; The Organ Speaks, 1935; Death of an Author, 1935; Crime Counter Crime, 1936; Post after Post-Mortem, 1936; A Pall for a Painter, 1936; Bats in the Belfry, 1937; These Names Make Clues, 1937; The Devil and the C.I.D., 1938; Slippery Staircase, 1938; John Brown’s Body, 1938; Black Beadle, 1939 (Spanish title: La sombra del sacristán) ; Death at Dyke’s Corner, 1940; Tryst for a Tragedy, 1940; Case in the Clinic, 1941; Rope’s End, Rogue’s End, 1942; The Sixteenth Stair, 1942; Death Came Softly, 1943; Checkmate to Murder, 1944 (Spanish title: Jaque mate al asesino) ; Fell Murder, 1944; Murder by Matchlight, 1945; Fire in the Thatch, 1946; The Theft of the Iron Dogs, 1946 (US Title: Murderer’s Mistake, 1947); Relative to Poison, 1947; Death before Dinner, 1948 (US Title: A Screen for Murder, 1948) (Spanish title: La muerte antes de comer); Part for a Poisoner, 1948 (US Title: Place for a Poisoner, 1949); Still Waters, 1949; Policemen on the Precinct, 1949 (US Title: And Then Put Out the Light, 1950); Accident by Design, 1950; Murder of a Martinet, 1951 (US Title: I Could Murder Her, 1951); The Dog It Was That Died, 1952 (Spanish title: Y el perro fue el que murió); Murder in the Mill-Race , 1952 (US Title: Speak Justly of the Dead, 1953); Crook O’Lune , 1953 (US Title: Shepherd’s Crook, 1953); Shroud of Darkness, 1954; Let Well Alone, 1954; Ask a Policeman, 1955; Murder in Vienna, 1956; Picture of Death, 1957; Dangerous Domicile, 1957; Death in Triplicate, 1958 (US Title: People Will Talk, 1958) (Spanish title: Muerte por triplicado); Murder on a Monument, 1958; and Dishonour among Thieves, 1959 (US Title: The Last Escape, 1959).

Availability: To the best of my knowledge The British Library Crime Classics have published by now Bats in the Belfry: A London Mystery, 2018; Fire in the Thatch: A Devon Mystery, 2018; Murder in the Mill-Race: A Devon Mystery, 2019; Fell Murder: A Lancashire Mystery, 2019; Murder by Matchlight, 2019; and Checkmate to Murder: A Second World War Mystery, 2020. In addition to one Carol Carnac, Crossed Skis: An Alpine Mystery, 2020. Besides, the following titles are available in e-book format by Reading Essentials: Rope’s End Rogue’s End (1942), Death Came Softly (1943), Murderer’s Mistake (1946), Accident by Design (1950) and Murder in Vienna (1956). A few other titles are available to borrow from Open Library.

Edith Caroline Rivett (1894-1958), aka ECR Lorac and Carol Carnac

E.C.R. Lorac (1894-1958) by Carol Westron

I Could Murder Her aka Murder of a Martinet, de E. C. R. Lorac

Sinopsis: Durante mucho tiempo Muriel Farrington había dominado la vida de sus hijos, agrupándolos a todos, casados ​​o solteros, bajo el mismo techo en la vieja mansión familiar. Convirtiendo el salirse con la suya en un fetiche, y le gusta hacerlo sin problemas si es posible, pero si existía alguna resistencia, siempre podía confiar en los sutiles efectos del viejo recurso del infarto. Satisfecha consigo misma y egoísta hasta extremos inconcebibles, no se daba cuenta del amargo resentimiento que bullía en el pecho de su familia, y estaba lejos de darse cuenta del punto de desesperación que conducía inexorablemente a su propia destrucción. Para el inspector jefe Macdonald, este no fue uno de sus casos más fáciles, pero es uno de los mejores de E. C. R. Lorac. (Fuente: Collins Crime Club)

Mi opinión: Muriel Farrington era una mujer egoísta y dominante a la que le gustaba ejercer un control estricto sobre todos los miembros de su familia. Con la única excepción de su marido y de su hijo mayor, de un matrimonio anterior, todos la despreciaban. Pero nadie jamás se atrevió a enfrentarse a ella y marcharse no era una opción. Todos vivían a expensas de ella y casi ninguno estaba decidido a llevar una vida independiente, sin su apoyo económico. Además de su mansión, Windermere House, tenía una pequeña fortuna propia. En este contexto, un día la Sra. Farrington fue encontrada muerta en su cama. Como se creía que tenía un corazón débil, todos piensan que había tenido un infarto y había muerto mientras dormía. Su muerte no pareció sorprender a nadie. Sin embargo, su antiguo médico de cabecera, el Dr. Baring, había sufrido un accidente automovilístico la noche anterior y, tras ser hospitalizado, falleció. En su lugar, el Dr. Scott, un joven médico que previamente había expresado dudas sobre la posible afección cardíaca de la Sra. Farrington, se niega a firmar su certificado de defunción. Había notado algo extraño: una marca clara de una inyección hipodérmica en su antebrazo izquierdo. La autopsia revela que había recibido una dosis de insulina y, como no era diabética, su muerte fue un resultado inevitable. El inspector jefe Macdonald y su asistente, el inspector Reeves, deben investigar las circunstancias que rodearon su muerte.

I Could Murder Her, publicado originalmente en el Reino Unido como Murder of a Martinet, es difícil de encontrar, pero se puede acceder a esta novela a través de Open Library. Mi interés en ella surgió después de leer el artículo de Curtis Evans en The Passing Tramp sobre Edith Caroline Rivett. He encontrado la historia bastante convincente, pero no bien desarrollada, o al menos bastante desigual. En mi opinión, hubiera funcionado mejor como novela corta o relato breve. En particular, sentí que varios de sus capítulos centrales son demasiado repetitivos y podrían haber sido abreviados sin dañar el resultado final. En general, me pareció una lectura interesante que describe bien la época en la que se escribió y en la que la psicología de los personajes juega un papel destacado.

Mi valoración: B (Me gustó)

Acerca del autor: Edith Caroline Rivett escribió bajo los seudónimos E.C.R. Lorac, Carol Carnac, Carol Rivett y Mary le Bourne. Nació en Hendon, Middlesex (ahora Londres), y asistió a la South Hampstead High School y a la Central School of Arts and Crafts en Londres. Rivett, una escritora muy prolífica, escribió cuarenta y ocho misterios con su primer seudónimo (la mayoría de estos libros protagonizados por el personaje principal de su serie, el inspector jefe Robert Macdonald, un “escocés de Londres” y un soltero confeso a quien le gusta caminar por la campiña inglesa . En 28 de estos libros, cuenta con la ayuda de su asistente, el detective inspector Reeves), y veintitrés bajo del segundo (que cuentan con tres personajes principales diferentes. El primero es el inspector Ryvet. Los otros dos son el inspector jefe Julian Rivers. (que aparece en 15 libros), y su asistente, el inspector Lansing, que aparece en 18 casos (cuatro de ellos con Ryvet). Fue miembro del Detection Club. Sus libros fueron casi completamente olvidados a partir de su muerte, pero merecen su redescubrimiento como buenos ejemplos de la clásica novela policíaca británica en su edad de oro.

Los cuarenta y ocho misterios que escribió como E. C. R. Lorac son The Murder on the Burrows, 1931; The Affair at Thor’s Head, 1932; The Greenwell Mystery, 1932; Death on the Oxford Road, 1933; The Case of Colonel Marchand, 1933; Murder in St John’s Wood, 1934; Murder in Chelsea, 1934; The Organ Speaks, 1935; Death of an Author, 1935; Crime Counter Crime, 1936; Post after Post-Mortem, 1936; A Pall for a Painter, 1936; Bats in the Belfry, 1937; These Names Make Clues, 1937; The Devil and the C.I.D., 1938; Slippery Staircase, 1938; John Brown’s Body, 1938; Black Beadle, 1939 (Spanish title: La sombra del sacristán) ; Death at Dyke’s Corner, 1940; Tryst for a Tragedy, 1940; Case in the Clinic, 1941; Rope’s End, Rogue’s End, 1942; The Sixteenth Stair, 1942; Death Came Softly, 1943; Checkmate to Murder, 1944 (Spanish title: Jaque mate al asesino) ; Fell Murder, 1944; Murder by Matchlight, 1945; Fire in the Thatch, 1946; The Theft of the Iron Dogs, 1946 (US Title: Murderer’s Mistake, 1947); Relative to Poison, 1947; Death before Dinner, 1948 (US Title: A Screen for Murder, 1948) (Spanish title: La muerte antes de comer); Part for a Poisoner, 1948 (US Title: Place for a Poisoner, 1949); Still Waters, 1949; Policemen on the Precinct, 1949 (US Title: And Then Put Out the Light, 1950); Accident by Design, 1950; Murder of a Martinet, 1951 (US Title: I Could Murder Her, 1951); The Dog It Was That Died, 1952 (Spanish title: Y el perro fue el que murió); Murder in the Mill-Race , 1952 (US Title: Speak Justly of the Dead, 1953); Crook O’Lune , 1953 (US Title: Shepherd’s Crook, 1953); Shroud of Darkness, 1954; Let Well Alone, 1954; Ask a Policeman, 1955; Murder in Vienna, 1956; Picture of Death, 1957; Dangerous Domicile, 1957; Death in Triplicate, 1958 (US Title: People Will Talk, 1958) (Spanish title: Muerte por triplicado); Murder on a Monument, 1958; and Dishonour among Thieves, 1959 (US Title: The Last Escape, 1959).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.