A Final Note On Bodies From The Library 2021

As I have already said, for reasons of little relevance in this context, I missed several presentations. Mainly: The Opening Panel: Martin Edwards, Alison Joseph and Kate Ellis discuss Howdunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by The Detection Club; Martin Edwards and Christine Poulson: Anthony and Peter Shaffer; Jim Noy: From Holmes to Hammer: A Hierarchy of Detection; Moira Redmond and Len Tyler: The Great Gladys (Mitchell); and Mark Green Fogginess: A comparison of the writing styles of the four Queens of Crime. (Speakers).

I already read Howdunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by The Detection Club, and Peter Shaffer’s The Woman in the Wardrobe and I would have like to arrive on time to the presentations by Jim Noy and Mark Green, Mark had already started when I could connect. And I would certainly have like to listen at what Moira Redmond and Len Tyler said about The Great Gladys. So far, I’ve only read The Saltmarsh Murders, but I’m looking forward to reading in due time When Last I Died and The Rising of The Moon, as suggested for the conference. Stay tuned.

About the Author: Gladys Maude Winifred Mitchell – or ‘The Great Gladys’ as Philip Larkin called her – was born in 1901, in Cowley in Oxfordshire. She graduated in history from University College London and in 1921 began her long career as a teacher. Her hobbies included architecture and writing poetry. She studied the works of Sigmund Freud and her interest in witchcraft was encouraged by her friend, the detective novelist Helen Simpson. Her first novel, Speedy Death, was published in 1929 and introduced readers to Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley, the detective heroine of a further sixty six crime novels. She wrote at least one novel a year throughout her career and was an early member of the Detection Club, alongside Agatha Christie, G.K Chesterton and Dorothy Sayers. In 1961 she retired from teaching and, from her home in Dorset, continued to write, receiving the Crime Writers’ Association Silver Dagger in 1976. Gladys Mitchell died in 1983. (Source: Penguin.co.uk)

She also wrote mysteries as Malcolm Torrie, and historical novels as Stephen Hockaby. Mrs Bradley eventually appeared in no fewer than sixty-six novels as well as numerous short stories, and although their quality varied widely, the best of them were amusingly original. (Martin Edwards’ The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books)

Bibliography as Gladys Mitchell: Speedy Death (1929); The Mystery of a Butcher’s Shop (1929); The Longer Bodies (1930); The Saltmarsh Murders (1932); Death at the Opera (1934) aka Death in the Wet; The Devil at Saxon Wall (1935); Dead Men’s Morris (1936); Come Away Death (1937); St Peter’s Finger (1938); Printer’s Error (1939); Brazen Tongue (1940); Hangman’s Curfew (1941); When Last I Died (1941); Laurels Are Poison (1942); The Worsted Viper (1943); Sunset Over Soho (1943); My Father Sleeps (1944); The Rising of the Moon (1945); Here Comes a Chopper (1946); Death and the Maiden (1947); The Dancing Druids (1948); Tom Brown’s Body (1949); Groaning Spinney (1950); The Devil’s Elbow (1951); The Echoing Strangers (1952); Merlin’s Furlong (1953); Faintley Speaking (1954); Watson’s Choice (1955); Twelve Horses and the Hangman’s Noose (1956); The Twenty-third Man (1957); Spotted Hemlock (1958); The Man Who Grew Tomatoes (1959); Say It With Flowers (1960); The Nodding Canaries (1961); My Bones Will Keep (1962); Adders on the Heath (1963); Death of a Delft Blue (1964); Pageant of Murder (1965); The Croaking Raven (1966); Skeleton Island (1967); Three Quick and Five Dead (1968); Dance to Your Daddy (1969); Gory Dew (1970); Lament for Leto (1971); A Hearse on May-Day (1972); The Murder of Busy Lizzie (1973); A Javelin for Jonah (1974); Winking at the Brim (1974); Convent on Styx (1975); Late, Late in the Evening (1976); Noonday and Night (1977); Fault in the Structure (1977); Wraiths and Changelings (1978); Mingled with Venom (1978); Nest of Vipers (1979); The Mudflats of the Dead (1979); Uncoffin’d Clay (1980); The Whispering Knights (1980); The Death-Cap Dancers (1981); Lovers, Make Moan (1981); Here Lies Gloria Mundy (1982); The Death of a Burrowing Mole (1982); The Greenstone Griffins (1983); Cold, Lone and Still (1983); No Winding-Sheet (1984); The Crozier Pharaohs (1984); and Sleuth’s Alchemy, Cases of Mrs. Bradley and Others (2005) a collection of all but one of Gladys Mitchell’s short stories from 1938 to 1956, many previously uncollected; edited and with a comprehensive introduction by Nicholas Fuller.

imageOverview: When psychoanalyst and detective Mrs Bradley’s grandson finds an old diary in her rented cottage it attracts the interest of this most unconventional of detectives, for the book’s owner – now deceased – was once suspected of the murders of both her aunt and cousin. Does the missing diary finally reveal what happened to old aunt Flora? Is the case of Bella Foxley really closed? And what happened to the boys from the local reformatory who went missing at the same time? As events unfold, Mrs. Bradley faces one of her most difficult cases to date, one that will keep readers guessing until the very end…
Opinionated, unconventional, unafraid… If you like Poirot and Miss Marple, you’ll love Mrs Bradley. (Source: Vintage Digital)


(Source: Facsimile Dust Jacket, LLC. Alfred A. Knopf (USA), 1942)

22047462Overview: Could there be a Jack-the-Ripper copycat in the sleepy village of Brentford? Two women have been found brutally murdered, each under the light of a full moon. When a third mutilated body is identified, brothers Simon and Keith Innes discover that their brother Jack was mysteriously absent from their home on that last moonlit night. After Jack’s snob’s knife goes missing from his tool box, Simon and Keith have no choice but to investigate and clear his name. With the help of the peculiar amateur detective Mrs. Bradley, the brothers race to find answers…before the rising of another full moon.

The belovedly eccentric Mrs. Bradley and her ingenious sleuthing are sure to impress in this cleverly woven classic. You’ll never guess who lurks in the shadows—and why. (Source: Goodreads)


(Source: Facsimile Dust Jacket, LLC. Michael Joseph (UK) 1945)

Bodies From The Library 2021: Steve Barge and Kate Jackson consider The Resurrection of Brian Flynn

The Resurrection of Brian Flynn by Steve Barge and Kate Jackson was another presentation I could follow in full at Bodies From the Library 2021 Zoom Conference last Saturday. For those who might not know them:

Steve Barge reviews crime fiction, both classic and modern at his blog, In Search Of The Classic Mystery Novel. He divides his time between looking for classic mystery plots in modern releases and investigating the lost authors of the Golden Age, in particular Brian Flynn, where he has been instrumental in getting Flynn’s first ten books reprinted.

Kate Jackson has been hooked on crime, (well the reading of), since university and shares her thoughts on the topic at her blog, Cross-Examining Crime, as well as in CADs magazine. She is a CWA member and compiler of the puzzles in The Pocket Detective and The Pocket Detective 2. She also contributed to the publication: The 100 Greatest Literary Detectives (2018), ed. by Eric Sandberg, writing on Juanita Sheridan’s Lily Wu.

Their presentation took the form of an interview wherein Kate Jackson was the interviewer and Steve Barge the interviewee.

But, who was Brian Flynn?

Up to now the only information available in the Internet referred to Brian Flynn (1885 – 1958), an English author and an accountant in government service, a lecturer in elocution and speech, an amateur actor, who wrote about 50 novels, mostly for the library market. His serial character is Anthony Bathurst. (gadetection) In addition to that you may check the following post at Mystery File, and the Classic Crime Fiction page, but besides that very little was known.

Now we know that Brian Flynn was born in 1885 in Leyton, Essex. He won a scholarship to the City Of London School, and from there went into the civil service. In World War I he served as Special Constable on the Home Front, also teaching “Accountancy, Languages, Maths and Elocution to men, women, boys and girls” in the evenings, and acting in his spare time. It was a seaside family holiday that inspired Brian Flynn 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: Dean Street Press)

Unfortunately, Brian Flynn books until recently were, and some still are, very difficult to find. But thanks to the combine efforts of the nice folks at Dean Street Press and of crime fiction historian Steve Barge, the first twenty books have been republished and and, later this year, will come to light the following ten. All them with an Introduction by Steve Barge.

The suggested readings for the Conference were: The Mystery Of The Peacock’s Eye; The Murders Near Mapleton; Murder en Route; The Fortescue Candle; and Tread Softly. The last two I’m looking forward to reading shortly. Stay tuned.

You may find more information about Brian Flynn at In Search Of The Classic Mystery Novel.


“The gentleman in Number Fifty-four—Mr. Griggs—’e’s been murdered!”

Albert Griggs, the Secretary of State for Home Affairs, is considering an important case. Two brothers have killed a servant-girl in the course of a robbery. Griggs looks at the facts carefully and comes to his final decision – he will not overturn the death penalty.

Was it this execution that led to Griggs being found shot in a hotel room? Or the fact that he had been accused by taking liberties with a certain young lady? Griggs had many enemies – and one of them hated him enough to murder him. But when Anthony Bathurst investigates, he finds something even more perplexing – how is the murder linked to the poisoning of Daphne Arbuthnot, an actress, on stage in the middle of a performance? And how is the Ku Klux Klan involved?

The Fortescue Candle was originally published in 1936. This new edition features an introduction by crime fiction historian Steve Barge.


“This man Merivale admits that he killed his wife. Makes no bones about it whatever. Confesses that he strangled her. But he says that he was fast asleep at the time that he was doing it. That all he did, he did in a dream.”

Chief Inspector MacMorran is up against the most extraordinary case of his career – a self-confessed killer who may well be found innocent given the circumstances. MacMorran is sure that Merivale is the murderer, but, worried about exoneration in court, he recruits investigator Anthony Bathurst to find evidence to convict.

Bathurst isn’t convinced. If Merivale killed his wife deliberately, why pick such a risky story which is just as likely to convict as clear him? But if Merivale is innocent, was a third party involved? And if so – how?

Tread Softly was first published in 1937. This new edition features an introduction by Steve Barge.

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