My Book Notes: Post After Post-Mortem: An Oxfordshire Mystery, 1936 (Inspector Macdonald # 11) by E.C.R. Lorac


Esta entrada es bilingüe. Desplazarse hacia abajo par ver la versión en español

British Library Publishing, 2022. Book Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 4056 KB. Print Length: 284 pages. ASIN: B09S4TB8WQ. eISBN: 978-0-7123-6724-0. The eleventh book in Chief Inspector Macdonald Mystery series was originally published in the UK by Collins Crime Club in 1936 and has been reissued by the British Library Publishing with an Introduction by Martin Edwards in 2022. 

9780712354752Book Description: The Surrays and their five children form a prolific writing machine, with scores of treatises, reviews and crime thrillers published under their family name. Following a rare convergence of the whole household at their Oxfordshire home, Ruth – middle sister who writes ‘books which are just books’ – decides to spend some weeks there recovering from the pressures of the writing life while the rest of the brood scatter to the winds again. Their next return is heralded by the tragic news that Ruth has taken her life after an evening at the Surrays’ hosting a set of publishers and writers, one of whom is named as Ruth’s literary executor in the will she left behind. Despite some suspicions from the family, the verdict at the inquest is suicide – but when Ruth’s brother Richard receives a letter from the deceased which was delayed in the post, he enlists the help of CID Robert Macdonald to investigate what could only be an ingeniously planned murder.

My Take: Chief Inspector MacDonald agrees to take an interest in the case that psychologist Richard Surray brings to him. No doubt, MacDonald had read about his sister’s death. A few days ago all newspapers had echoed the news of the suicide of the famous writer Ruth Surray. The subsequent investigation confirmed this and the matter was quickly settled to prevent further suffering to the family. But now Richard shows him a letter he just received. It was delayed because the address was wrong. It was probably written and mailed by Ruth herself the evening before her death. The letter leaves no doubt about her state of mind a few hours before she was found dead. How was it possible for her to write that she felt ‘marvellously better now’? shortly before taking her own life.

“But with the stubbornness which is the very essential of the Scot, MacDonald knew that he would go on delving, worrying, inquiring; there was a case, he was convinced –a case not of suicide, but of subtle, well planned, neatly-executed murder.”

I don’t feel necessary to add more about the story at hand to arouse the interest of any potential reader.

While, from my side, I don’t consider Post After Post-Mortem one of Carol Rivett’s best novels, it is also true that I’ve quite enjoyed it. The story captured my interest from the beginning to the end, and this is something many writers cannot achieve. Perhaps the problem was that my expectations where too high, but Post After Post-Mortem offers us a good entertainment, and it is worth a read.

Post After Post-Mortem has been reviewed by Martin Edwards at ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’, Kate Jackson at Cross-examining Crime, L J Hurst at Shotsmag, and Fictionfan at FictionFan’s Book Reviews

2148

(Source: Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC. Collins Crime Club, UK. 1936)

About the Author: E.C.R. Lorac (Lorac is Carol spelled backwards) along with of Carol Carnac and Mary Le Bourne were pennames of Edith Caroline Rivett (1894 – 1958) a prolific British writer of crime fiction, member of the famous Detection Club. She published over 60 novels from 1931-1959. Carol Rivett, as she was know to her family and friends, was born in Hendon, Middlesex, (now London) on 6 May 1894. She attended the South Hampstead High School, and the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London, and she continued as a craft practitioner throughout her life. In 1931 she published her first detective novel The Murder on the Burrows, a well-crafted debut which launched her detective Macdonald on a career that was to last for more than a quarter of a century. Nine Lorac novels were published by Sampson Low, earning increasingly favourable reviews, before she moved to the more prestigious imprint of Collins Crime Club in 1936, with Crime Counter Crime, set during a General Election. She remained a Crime Club stalwart for the rest of her life. In 1937 she was elected a member of the prestigious Detection Club. “Although many of Carol’s prewar detective novels were set in London, her postwar books more often take place in rural England, frequently in the north country. Several novels are specifically set in Lancashire’s lovely Lune Valley, along the River Lune.” (Source: Curtis Evans at The Passing Tramp). Remaining unmarried, she lived her last years with her elder sister, Gladys Rivett (1891 – 1966), in Lonsdale, Lancashire. Carol Rivett died on 2 July 1958 at the Caton Green Nursing Home, Caton-with-Littledale, near Lancaster.

After her dead, her oeuvre was pretty much neglected until 2018, when British Library in its “Crime Classics” series begun to re-issue some of her novels. The following titles have been published as of today: Fire in the Thatch: A Devon Mystery; Bats in the Belfry: A London Mystery; Murder by Matchlight; Murder in the Mill-Race: A Devon Mystery; Fell Murder: A Lancashire Mystery; Checkmate to Murder: A Second World War Mystery and Crossed Skis: An Alpine Mystery (written under the moniker Carol Carnac). A previously unpublished late work, Two-Way Murder, was added in 2021; the original manuscript was under a new pen name, Mary le Bourne, but has been published by the British Library as by E.C.R. Lorac. And lately, These Names Make Clues and Post After Post-Mortem.

As E. C. R. Lorac she wrote: The Murder on the Burrows (1931); The Affair on 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 (1939); Black Beadle (1939); 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); Fell Murder (1944); Murder by Matchlight (1945); Fire in the Thatch (1946); The Theft of the Iron Dogs aka Murderer’s Mistake (1946); Relative to Poison (1947); Death Before Dinner aka A Screen for Murder (1948); Part for a Poisoner aka Place for a Poisoner (1948); Still Waters (1949); Policeman in the Precinct aka And Then Put Out the Light (1949); Accident by Design (1950); Murder of a Martinet aka I Could Murder Her (1951); The Dog It Was That Died (1952); Murder in the Mill-Race aka Speak Justly of the Dead (1952); Crook O’Lune aka 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 aka People Will Talk (1958); Murder on a Monument (1958); Dishonour Among Thieves aka The Last Escape (1959); and Two-Way Murder (2021) previously unpublished probably written around 1957-58. 

British Library Publishing publicity page

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

E. C. R. Lorac at Golden Age of Detection Wiki

E.C.R. Lorac Rises Through The Ranks (Queens of Crime At War 2)

Post After Post-Mortem: An Oxfordshire Mystery, by E.C.R. Lorac

Descripción del libro: Los Surray y sus cinco hijos son escritores muy prolíficos, con decenas de tratados, reseñas y novelas policiacas publicadas con su apellido. Tras un raro encuentro de toda la familia en su casa de Oxfordshire, Ruth, la hermana mediana que escribe “libros que son solo libros”, decide pasar allí unas semanas recuperándose de las tensiones de la vida del escritor mientras el resto de la prole se dispersa por todas partes de nuevo. Su siguiente regreso viene marcado por la trágica noticia de que Ruth se ha quitado la vida después de una noche en casa de los Surray con un grupo de editores y escritores, uno de los cuales es nombrado albacea literario de Ruth en el testamento que dejó.
A pesar de algunas sospechas de la familia, el veredicto de la investigación judicial es suicidio, pero cuando el hermano de Ruth, Richard, recibe una carta de la fallecida que se retrasó en el correo, solicita la ayuda del CID Robert Macdonald para investigar lo que solo podría ser un asesinato ingeniosamente planificado.

Mi opinión: El inspector jefe MacDonald acepta interesarse en el caso que le presenta el psicólogo Richard Surray. Sin duda, MacDonald había leído sobre la muerte de su hermana. Hace unos días todos los periódicos se habían hecho eco de la noticia del suicidio de la célebre escritora Ruth Surray. La investigación posterior lo confirmó y el asunto se resolvió rápidamente para evitar más sufrimiento a la familia. Pero ahora Richard le muestra una carta que acaba de recibir. Se retrasó porque la dirección estaba equivocada. Probablemente fue escrita y enviada por la propia Ruth la noche antes de su muerte. La carta no deja lugar a dudas sobre su estado de ánimo unas horas antes de que la encontraran muerta. ¿Cómo era posible que ella escribiera que se sentía “maravillosamente mejor ahora“? poco antes de quitarse la vida.

“Pero con la terquedad que es la esencia misma del escocés, MacDonald sabía que seguiría indagando, preocupándose, investigando; había un caso, estaba convencido, un caso no de suicidio, sino de asesinato sutil, bien planeado y perfectamente ejecutado”. (Mi traducción libre)

No creo necesario añadir más sobre la historia que nos ocupa para despertar el interés de cualquier lector potencial.

Si bien, por mi parte, no considero Post After Post-Mortem una de las mejores novelas de Carol Rivett, también es cierto que la he disfrutado bastante. La historia capturó mi interés desde el principio hasta el final, y esto es algo que muchos escritores no pueden lograr. Quizás el problema era que mis expectativas eran demasiado altas, pero Post After Post-Mortem nos ofrece un buen entretenimiento, y merece la pena leerla.

Acerca del autor: E.C.R. Lorac (Lorac es Carol escrito al revés) junto con Carol Carnac y Mary Le Bourne fueron seudónimos de Edith Caroline Rivett (1894 – 1958), una prolífica escritora británica de novela policiaca, miembro del famoso Detection Club. Publicó más de 60 novelas entre 1931 y 1959. Carol Rivett, como era conocida por su familia y sus amigos, nació en Hendon, Middlesex (ahora Londres) el 6 de mayo de 1894. Estudió en South Hampstead High School y en Central School of Arts and Crafts de Londres, y continuó practicando la artesanía a lo largo de su vida. En 1931 publicó su primera novela policiaca The Murder on the Burrows, un debut bien elaborado que presentó a su detective Macdonald a una carrera que duraría más de un cuarto de siglo. Sampson Low publicó nueve novelas de Lorac, obteniendo críticas cada vez más favorables, antes de mudarse al sello más prestigioso de Collins Crime Club en 1936, con Crime Counter Crime, ambientada durante unas elecciones generales. Siguió siendo incondicional del Club del Crimen el resto de su vida. En 1937 fue elegida miembro del prestigioso Detection Club. “Aunque muchas de sus novelas de detectives publicadas antes de la guerra estaban ambientadas en Londres, sus libros de posguerra suelen tener lugar en la Inglaterra rural, con frecuencia en el norte del país. Varias novelas están ambientadas específicamente en el encantador Lune Valley de Lancashire, a lo largo del río Lune”. Permaneció soltera y vivió sus últimos años con su hermana mayor, Gladys Rivett (1891 – 1966), en Lonsdale, Lancashire. Edith Rivett murió el 2 de julio de 1958 en Caton Green Nursing Home, Caton-with-Littledale, cerca de Lancaster.

Después de su muerte, su obra estuvo bastante olvidada hasta 2018, cuando la Biblioteca Británica en su serie “Crime Classics” comenzó a reeditar algunas de sus novelas. Los siguientes títulos han sido publicados hasta el día de hoy: Fire in the Thatch: A Devon Mystery; Bats in the Belfry: A London Mystery; Murder by Matchlight; Murder in the Mill-Race: A Devon Mystery; Fell Murder: A Lancashire Mystery; Checkmate to Murder: A Second World War Mystery and Crossed Skis: An Alpine Mystery (escrito bajo el sobrenombre de Carol Carnac). En 2021 se agregó un trabajo tardío inédito, Two-Way Murder ; el manuscrito original estaba bajo un nuevo seudónimo, Mary le Bourne, pero ha sido publicado por la Biblioteca Británica como por E.C.R. Lorac. Y últimamente, These Names Make Clues y Post After Post-Mortem.

Como E. C. R. Lorac escribió: The Murder on the Burrows (1931); The Affair on 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 (1939); Black Beadle (1939); 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); Fell Murder (1944); Murder by Matchlight (1945); Fire in the Thatch (1946); The Theft of the Iron Dogs aka Murderer’s Mistake (1946); Relative to Poison (1947); Death Before Dinner aka A Screen for Murder (1948); Part for a Poisoner aka Place for a Poisoner (1948); Still Waters (1949); Policeman in the Precinct aka And Then Put Out the Light (1949); Accident by Design (1950); Murder of a Martinet aka I Could Murder Her (1951); The Dog It Was That Died (1952); Murder in the Mill-Race aka Speak Justly of the Dead (1952); Crook O’Lune aka 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 aka People Will Talk (1958); Murder on a Monument (1958); Dishonour Among Thieves aka The Last Escape (1959); y Two-Way Murder (2021) inédita probablemente escrita alrededor de 1957-58.

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 )

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.

%d bloggers like this: