My Book Notes: Death Comes to Cambers, 1935 (Bobby Owen #6) by E. R. Punshon


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Dean Street Press, 2015. Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 606 KB. Print Length: 293 pages. First published in 1935 by Victor Gollancz. This new edition features an introduction by crime fiction historian Curtis Evans. ASIN: B00ZO3RT9I. eISBN: 978 1 910570 36 4.

9781910570364_p0_v1_s550x406Book Description: Police officer Bobby Owen is a weekend guest at Lady Cambers’s majestic country pile, there to advise on security following recent burglary scares. But when the lady of the house disappears, her bed unslept-in, it’s a case of murder not burglary – for Bobby discovers her ladyship, strangled, in a nearby field. One of the finest of the early Bobby Owens novels, Death Comes to Cambers combines wit and excellent characterization in a satisfying and classic whodunit, featuring an eccentric creationist, a superior archaeologist and an inventive cipher.

My Take: Death Comes to Cambers is the sixth outing in the Bobby Owen mysteries by E.R. Punshon. A series which eventually spanned thirty-five novels published between 1933 and 1956. As Curtis Evans tells us in his Introduction: In Death Comes to Cambers Punshon deftly balances an ingenious plot with considerable character interest and amusing satire of English class conventions.

When the story begins detective-sergeant Bobby Owen is spending a weekend at Cambers House, invited by his grandmother Lady Whirlpool. The reason behind this invitation is partly to advise Lady Cambers on the precautions she should take against an eventual burglary. Apparently,  rumours have quickly spread that such occurrences had significantly increase in the area. But nobody would have suspected what happened that morning when Lady Cambers is found strangled in the countryside. The strangest thing about it is that all Cambers House’s doors were locked inwardly when the service awoke that morning and they could not find Lady Cambers anywhere,  with clear signals she had not slept in her bed. Moreover, Colonel Lawson has been recently appointed head of the county police and Owen has serious doubts he is best suited to handle the case. Anyway, there’s no shortage of suspects within her close circle, including her husband, Sir Albert; her nephew Tim Sterling; her butler, Farman; her maid, Amy Emmers; her protégé, Eddy Dane; her tenant’s son, Ray Hardy; the vicar, Mr Andrews; her neighbours, Mr Bowman and his sister, Miss Bowman; and her rival jewellery-connoisseur, Mr Tyler. All and each of them seem to have an adequate motive for murder. In fact she had manage to make a good many enemies. After all she was a strong-willed woman, very fond of interfering in other people’s lives, confident that she always knew what was best for everyone else, and not too scrupulous how she used the power her wealth gave her to enforce her will on others.

As Martin Edwards rightly indicates Death Comes to Cambers is a competent piece of work. It might not be an outstanding novel, but it is really entertaining, the story is well crafted and has an excellent set of quite attractive characters. In all probability one of Punshon’s best , and one that is certainly well worth your while. I strongly recommend it.

Death Comes to Cambers has been reviewed, among others, at Golden Age of Detection Wiki, The Grandest Game in the World, Pretty Sinister Books, ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’, In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, and Classic Mysteries.

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(Source: Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC. V. G. Gollancz (UK), 1935)

About the author: E. R. Punshon, in full Ernest Robertson Punshon, (born East Dulwich, London 25 June 1872 – died Streatham, London 23 October 1956) was an English novelist and literary critic of the early to mid 20th century. He also wrote under the pseudonyms Robertson Halkett and Robertson Halket. Primarily writing on crime and deduction, he enjoyed some literary success in the 1930s and 1940s. Today, he is remembered, in the main, as the creator of Police Constable Bobby Owen, the protagonist of many of Punshon’s novels, who was eventually promoted to sergeant, inspector, superintendent and, finally, commander. A popular Scotland Yard detective, Owen appeared in 35 novels from 1933 to 1956. Punshon reviewed many of Agatha Christie’s novels for The Guardian on their first publication. Punshon was also a prolific writer of short stories, and a selection of his crime and horror fiction has recently been collected together. (Source: Wikipedia)

Suggested bibliography: Information Received (1933); Death Comes to Cambers (1935); The Bath Mysteries (1936); Mystery of Mr. Jessop (1937); Suspects – Nine (1939); Ten Star Clues (1941); Diabolic Candelabra (1942); The Conqueror Inn (1943); Secrets Can’t Be Kept (1944); There’s a Reason for Everything (1945); It Might Lead Anywhere (1946); and Six Were Present (1956).

Plus some others: Crossword Mystery (1934); The Dark Garden (1941); Night’s Cloak (1944); Music Tells All (1948); and The House of Godwinsson (1948).

Dean Street Press has released all the Bobby Owen detective stories, with introductions by mystery scholar Curtis Evans.

Dean Street Press publicity page

Recommended reading

Death Comes to Cambers, de E. R. Punshon

Descripción del libro: El oficial de policía Bobby Owen es invitado a pasar un fin de semana en la imponente casa de campo de Lady Cambers, para asesorar sobre seguridad después de los recientes robos ocurridos. Pero cuando la dueña de la casa desaparece, sin haber dromido en su cama, se trata de un caso de asesinato, no de robo, porque Bobby descubre a la Señora, estrangulada, en un campo cercano. Una de las mejores novelas iniciales de Bobby Owen, Death Comes to Cambers combina ingenio y una excelente caracterización en una novela de policía clásica y satisfactoria, con un creacionista excéntrico, un arqueólogo arrogante y un cifrado ingenioso.

Mi opinión: Death Comes to Cambers es la sexta entrega de los misterios de Bobby Owen de E.R. Punshon. Una serie que finalmente comprendió treinta y cinco novelas publicadas entre 1933 y 1956. Como nos dice Curtis Evans en su introducción: En Death Comes to Cambers, Punshon equilibra hábilmente una trama ingeniosa con unos personajes sumamente interesantes y una divertida sátira de las convenciones de clase inglesas.

Cuando comienza la historia, el sargento detective Bobby Owen pasa un fin de semana en Cambers House, invitado por su abuela, Lady Whirlpool. La razón detrás de esta invitación es en parte para aconsejar a Lady Cambers sobre las precauciones que debe tomar contra un eventual robo. Aparentemente, se han difundido rápidamente rumores de que tales incidentes habían aumentado significativamente en el área. Pero nadie hubiera sospechado lo que sucedió esa mañana cuando encuentran a Lady Cambers estrangulada en el campo. Lo más extraño de esto es que todas las puertas de Cambers House estaban cerradas por dentro cuando el servicio se despertó esa mañana y no pudieron encontrar a Lady Cambers por ningún lado, con señales claras de que no había dormido en su cama. Además, el coronel Lawson ha sido nombrado recientemente jefe de la policía del condado y Owen tiene serias dudas de que sea el más adecuado para manejar el caso. De todos modos, no hay escasez de sospechosos dentro de su círculo cercano, incluido su esposo, Sir Albert; su sobrino Tim Sterling; su mayordomo, Farman; su doncella, Amy Emmers; su protegido, Eddy Dane; el hijo de su arrendatario, Ray Hardy; el vicario, Sr. Andrews; sus vecinos, el señor Bowman y su hermana, la señorita Bowman; y su rival conocedor de joyas, el Sr. Tyler. Todos y cada uno de ellos parecen tener un motivo adecuado para el asesinato. De hecho, se las había arreglado para hacerse con muchos enemigos. Después de todo, era una mujer de voluntad fuerte, muy aficionada a interferir en la vida de otras personas, segura de que siempre sabía lo que era mejor para todos los demás, y no muy escrupulosa en cómo usaba el poder que su riqueza le daba para imponer su voluntad a los demás. .

Como bien indica Martin Edwards, Death Comes to Cambers es un trabajo competente. Puede que no sea una novela sobresaliente, pero es realmente entretenida, la historia está bien elaborada y tiene un excelente conjunto de personajes bastante atractivos. Con toda probabilidad uno de los mejores de Punshon, y uno que sin duda merece la pena. Lo recomiendo encarecidamente.

Acerca del autor: E.R. Punshon, su nombre íntegro Ernest Robertson Punshon (nacido en East Dulwich, Londres el 25 de junio de 1872 – muerto en Streatham, Londres el 23 de octubre de 1956) fue un novelista y crítico literario inglés de principios y mediados del siglo XX. También escribió bajo los seudónimos de Robertson Halkett y Robertson Halket. Escribiendo principalmente sobre delitos y su investigación, disfrutó de cierto éxito literario en las décadas de 1930 y 1940. Hoy en día, se le recuerda, principalmente, como el creador del agente de policía Bobby Owen, el protagonista de muchas de las novelas de Punshon, quien finalmente fue ascendido a sargento, inspector, superintendente y, finalmente, comandante. Owen, un popular detective de Scotland Yard, apareció en 35 novelas entre 1933 y 1956. Punshon reseñó muchas de las novelas de Agatha Christie para The Guardian en su primera edición. Punshon también fue un prolífico escritor de cuentos, y recientemente se ha recopilado una selección de sus novelas policíacas y de terror. (Fuente: Wikipedia)

3 thoughts on “My Book Notes: Death Comes to Cambers, 1935 (Bobby Owen #6) by E. R. Punshon

  1. I’ve only read the very first “Bobby Owens”. Based on your review I think I may need to revisit the series…or at least this book specifically.

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