My Book Notes: An Old Lady Dies, 1934 (Scott Egerton # 9) by Anthony Gilbert

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The Orion Publishing Group, 2014. Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 1127 KB. Print Length: 224 pages. ASIN: B00K1C1N5I. ISBN: 978-1-4719-1057-9. First published by Collins in 1934.

hbg-title-9781471910579-8Book Description: Mrs Wolfe was dying – at last. Nobody seemed very sorry about it. Certainly not her relatives or legatees. Mrs Wolfe was wealthy and domineering and her periodical relapses regularly brought her heirs rushing to her bedside. The old lady derived a grim satisfaction from controlling people, but there’s one last thing she is unable to control. For when Mrs Wolfe does die it is not by natural causes, but by treachery . . .

My Take: After reading Death at Four Corners, my blog post is here, I decided to continue reading An Old Lady Dies, thanks largely to Curtis Evans excellent post at The Passing Tramp where he begins by saying:Anthony Gilbert‘s An Old Lady Dies is the penultimate novel in the author’s ten book Scott Egerton series (on #5, The Night of the Fog, see  here).  When it was published it was subjected, as I see it, to a rare uncharitable review from Gilbert’s Detection Club colleague Dorothy L. Sayers, then mystery reviewer for the Sunday Times.’ (to continue reading please click here). Besides it is one of the few books in Scott Egerton series easily available at a very attractive price and I couldn’t resist the temptation to download it immediately on my Kindle. As a side note, I must point out that Scott Egerton makes a late appearance on the novel but this has not prevent me from fully enjoying its reading. Regrettably the other two books in the series I’m most interested in, The Night of the Fog and The Long Shadow, are not readily available. Quite a shame!

As Curtis Evans himself summarise in the aforementioned article, the story revolves around a classic situation in which the tyrannical old lady in the title is fatally poisoned at her manor. When the suspicion of foul play emerges, there is no shortage of suspects among her family. And when the initial inquest finds one of them responsible of her murder, a private eye is brought in with the hope of finding the real culprit. Finally, Scott Egerton is asked to look into the facts.

An Old Lady Dies is a good example of a story with an armchair sleuth, in the classic sense, but it excels above all thanks to a superb description of its characters, the reason why it stands out among the novels of its time. It has an interesting passage, as Curtis Evans points out, ‘in which Gilbert discusses her MP sleuth’s view of the parlous political scene in 1934.’  In conclusion, an original, most enjoyable and easy-to-read book that I strongly recommend.

My rating: A (I loved it)

An Old Lady Dies has been reviewed at The Passing Tramp.

1551

(Source; Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC. Collins The Crime Club (UK), 1934))

About the Author: Anthony Gilbert was the pen name of Lucy Beatrice Malleson (1899 – 1973), Born in London, she spent all her life there, and her affection for the city is clear from the strong sense of character and place in evidence in her work. She published 69 crime novels, 51 of which featured her best known character, Arthur Crook, a vulgar London lawyer totally (and deliberately) unlike the aristocratic detectives, such as Lord Peter Wimsey, who dominated the mystery field at the time. She also wrote more than 25 radio plays, which were broadcast in Great Britain and overseas. Her thriller The Woman in Red (1941) was broadcast in the United States by CBS and made into a film in 1945 under the title My Name is Julia Ross. She was an early member of the British Detection Club, which, along with Dorothy L. Sayers, she prevented from disintegrating during World War II. Malleson published her autobiography, Three-a-Penny, in 1940, and wrote numerous short stories, which were published in several anthologies and in such periodicals as Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and The Saint. The short story ‘You Can’t Hang Twice’ received a Queens award in 1946. She never married, and evidence of her feminism is elegantly expressed in much of her work. (Source: The Orion Publishing Group).

In 1936 she abandoned her early series sleuth, the elegant Liberal MP Scott Egerton, and replaced him with with Arthur Crook, the roguish Cockney defense attorney for whom she became best known. Crook appeared in over fifty mysteries between 1936 and 1973, easily eclipsing the ten Egerton detective novels that appeared between 1927 and 1935.  Yet it was on the strength of the Egerton books that Gilbert was admitted to the Detection Club in 1933, and, in truth, from my reading the half-score of Egertons seem generally to offer readers more in the way of detection than the Crooks, which to me often seem to veer more into (though not completely) suspense territory. (Curtis Evans at The Passing Tramp). Lucy Beatrice Malleson also wrote as J. Kilmeny Keith and Anne Meredith.

Scott Egerton series: Tragedy at Freyne (1927); The Murder of Mrs Davenport (1928); Death at Four Corners (1929); The Mystery of the Open Window (1929); The Night of the Fog (1930); The Body on the Beam (1932); The Long Shadow (1932); The Musical Comedy Crime (1933); An Old Lady Dies (1934); and The Man Who Was Too Clever (1935).

The Orion publishing group publicity page

Anthony Gilbert page at Golden Age of Detection Wiki

Anthony Gilbert at The Grandest Game in the World

Una señora mayor muere, de Anthony Gilbert

Descripción del libro: Mrs Wolfe se moría, por fin. Nadie parecía lamentarlo mucho. Ciertamente ninguno de sus parientes o legatarios. La señora Wolfe era rica y dominante y sus recaídas periódicas llevaban regularmente a sus herederos a apresurarse a su lado. La anciana obtenía una nefasta satisfacción controlando a la gente, pero hay una última cosa que no puede controlar. Porque cuando la señora Wolfe muere no es por causas naturales, sino por traición. . .

Mi opinión: Después de leer Death at Four Corners, la entrada de mi blog está aquí, decidí continuar leyendo An Old Lady Dies, gracias en gran parte al excelente artículo de Curtis Evans en The Passing Tramp, donde comienza diciendo: “An Old Lady Dies de Anthony Gilbert es la penúltima novela del autor en la serie de diez libros de Scott Egerton (en el n. ° 5, The Night of the Fog, se puede ver aquí). Cuando se publicó, fue objeto, a mi modo de ver, de una reseña poco caritativa por la colega de Gilbert en el Detection Club, Dorothy L. Sayers, entonces crítica de misterio para el Sunday Times” (para continuar leyendo, haga clic aquí). Además, es uno de los pocos libros de la serie de Scott Egerton fácilmente asequibles a un precio muy atractivo y no pude resistir la tentación de descargarlo inmediatamente en mi Kindle. Como nota al margen, debo señalar que Scott Egerton tiene una aparición tardía en la novela, pero esto no me ha impedido disfrutar plenamente de su lectura. Lamentablemente, los otros dos libros de la serie que más me interesan, The Night of the Fog and The Long Shadow, no están disponibles. ¡Qué lástima!

Como resume el propio Curtis Evans en el artículo antes mencionado, la historia gira en torno a una situación clásica en la que la tiránica anciana del título es fatalmente envenenada en su mansión. Cuando surge la sospecha de juego sucio, no faltan sospechosos entre su familia. Y cuando la investigación inicial encuentra a uno de ellos responsable de su asesinato, se contrata a un detective privado con la esperanza de encontrar al verdadero culpable. Finalmente, se solicita a Scott Egerton que investigue los hechos.

An Old Lady Dies  es un buen ejemplo de una historia con un detective de salón, en el sentido clásico, pero sobresale sobre todo gracias a una soberbia descripción de sus personajes, razón por la que destaca entre las novelas de su época. Tiene un pasaje interesante, como señala Curtis Evans, “en el que Gilbert analiza la opinión de su detective Miembro del Parlamento (MP) del lamentable escenario politico en 1934“. En conclusión, un libro original, muy agradable y fácil de leer que recomiendo encarecidamente.

Mi valoración: A (Me encantó)

Acerca del autor: Anthony Gilbert fue el principal seudónimo de Lucy Beatrice Malleson (1899 – 1973), nacida en Londres, pasó toda su vida allí, y su afecto por la ciudad es evidente por el marcado sentido de la personalidad y del lugar que se evidencia en su trabajo. Publicó 69 novelas policiacas, 51 de ellas protagonizadas por su personaje más conocido, Arthur Crook, un abogado londinense totalmente (y deliberadamente) vulgar a diferencia de los detectives aristocráticos, como Lord Peter Wimsey, que dominaba el campo del misterio en ese momento. También escribió más de 25 obras de radio, que se transmitieron en Gran Bretaña y en el extranjero. Su thriller The Woman in Red (1941) fue retransmitido en los Estados Unidos por la CBS y se convirtió en una película en 1945 bajo el título My Name is Julia Ross. Fue una de las primeras integrantes del British Detection Club, que, junto con Dorothy L. Sayers, evitó que se desintegrara durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Malleson publicó su autobiografía, Three-a-Penny, en 1940, y escribió numerosos relatos breves, que se publicaron en varias antologías y en publicaciones periódicas como Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine y The Saint. El relato “You Can’t Hang Twice” obtuvo un premio Queens en 1946. Nunca se casó y su feminismo se manifiesta elegantemente en una gran parte de su trabajo. (Fuente: The Orion Publishing Group).

En 1936 abandonó a su detective inicial, el elegante diputado liberal Scott Egerton, y lo sustituyó por Arthur Crook, un pícaro abogado defensor cockney por quien llegó a ser más conocida. Crook apareció en más de cincuenta misterios entre 1936 y 1973, eclipsando fácilmente las diez novelas policiacas de Egerton que aparecieron entre 1927 y 1935. Sin embargo, fue gracias a los libros de Egerton que Gilbert fue admitida en el Detection Club en 1933 y, en verdad, a partir de mi lectura, al menos la mitad de los Egerton generalmente ofrecen mas a los lectores en el campo de la detección los Crooks, que en mi opinión a menudo parecen inclinarse más (aunque no completamente) hacia el terreno del suspense. (Curtis Evans en The Passing Tramp). Lucy Beatrice Malleson también escribió como J. Kilmeny Keith y Anne Meredith.

My Book Notes: Death at Four Corners, 1929 (Scott Egerton # 3) by Anthony Gilbert

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The Orion Publishing Group, 2014. Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 1199 KB. Print Length: 448 pages. ASIN: B00K1C1MTA. ISBN: 978-1-4719-1041-8. First published by Collins in 1929.

hbg-title-9781471910418-7Blurb: The discovery by Scott Egerton of the body of an unknown man in clerical attire, with a bullet through his head, in the loneliest part of the cliffs at Four Corners, Sir Gervase Blount’s estate, gave rise to the following questions: Who was he, and why was he there?  Whose was the button clenched in his left hand?  Who was the member of the house-party who recognised him, and why did he keep silence?  Who was the mysterious stranger who forced his way into the dead man’s room on the night of his death?  Whose was the diamond ear-ring found outside the dead man’s door?  Who brought the body down to Four Corners?  Follow the clues in this most fascinating detective novel and answer the questions for yourself as you pass from chapter to chapter to the thrilling climax. (Collins, 1929)

My Take: After a chance encounter in London, Sir Gervase Blount invites Doctor Ambrose to spend a weekend at his estate in Four Corners together with other guests. At the small station of Little Kirbey  Scott Egerton picks Doctor Ambrose up on behalf of Blount. Blount apologises for not having been able to collect him himself, impeded for having to attend an unexpected matter. Egerton and Dr Ambrose decide to go on foot up to Four Corners. On their way, they find a man’s body laying over a sort of platform over the sea, on the edge of a cliff. It looks like someone had slipped, and ended up there. After a dangerous and steep descent, Egerton realises nothing can be done to help him, he’s dead. By his clothes, he appears to be a cleric. The flowers underneath him clearly indicates he fell there after dark and he had been shot clean through the head. Egerton observation skills are evident. He also realises that the dead man boots could not be his own and that he has two old scars on his chin. Besides, he has a button tightly clenched in one hand and some marks around his wrists, but all identification marks have been carefully removed.

The body of the unknown was salvaged the next day by the local police. Egerton simply handed over the button, telling them where he had found it and letting the law draw its own conclusions. The police doctor was puzzled by the circumstances of the death. There were no bruises or abrasions on the body such as must have resulted if he actually stumbled and pitched over the rock, nor could he find any injury to the skull. The next point was to decide if the man had taken his own life, but that theory was eliminated by the presence of the button in his hand. That left only the alternative of murder, and the investigation will be founded on that thesis. In view of the complexity of the case the local authorities ask for the assistance of Scotland Yard, who send one James Bremner to take over the investigation.

What follows first is Bremner’s investigation that ends with the identification of the body and the arrest of a suspect. However, we are still in the first third of the book and we can easily imagine the story can’t end up like that. Next, is the turn of the defence to dig further into case to exculpate his client and come up with an alternative version of the facts. And finally, Scott Egerton returns to the story, after having disappeared from the two previous sections, to explain what really had happened.

It is thus true that we won’t see much of Scott Egerton through most of the novel, but this should not bother us. The general features of this character at the beginning of the story are more than enough to become acquaintance with him. In fact the opening chapters are probably the best part of the novel. The investigation by Scotland Yard that comes next is carry out routinely. But anyhow the story has seem to me well constructed and is quite interesting. I should also point out the high-quality of  the writing. It is quite possible, as someone has stressed, that the solution is not very original, though I can’t add anything further, since I’ve not read all that much as to verify this assertion.

I was particularly keen to read the Scott Egerton book series by Anthony Gilbert thanks to Curtis Evans’ articles at The Passing Tramp and it was finally Xavier Lechard who provided me the final push when he very much praised Anthony Gilbert’s The Long Shadow in Facebook. Regrettably, Lucy Malleson only published ten book in this series and only four are easily affordable right now. Ultimately, even if Death at Four Corners may fell short from being a superb novel, it has spark my interest in the series, I quite enjoyed it and I recommend it.

My rating: B (I liked it)

Death at Four Corners has been reviewed, among others, at A Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection, The Grandest Game in the World,

23468 (1)

(Source; Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC. Collins Detective Novel (UK), 1929)

About the Author: Anthony Gilbert was the pen name of Lucy Beatrice Malleson (1899 – 1973), Born in London, she spent all her life there, and her affection for the city is clear from the strong sense of character and place in evidence in her work. She published 69 crime novels, 51 of which featured her best known character, Arthur Crook, a vulgar London lawyer totally (and deliberately) unlike the aristocratic detectives, such as Lord Peter Wimsey, who dominated the mystery field at the time. She also wrote more than 25 radio plays, which were broadcast in Great Britain and overseas. Her thriller The Woman in Red (1941) was broadcast in the United States by CBS and made into a film in 1945 under the title My Name is Julia Ross. She was an early member of the British Detection Club, which, along with Dorothy L. Sayers, she prevented from disintegrating during World War II. Malleson published her autobiography, Three-a-Penny, in 1940, and wrote numerous short stories, which were published in several anthologies and in such periodicals as Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and The Saint. The short story ‘You Can’t Hang Twice’ received a Queens award in 1946. She never married, and evidence of her feminism is elegantly expressed in much of her work. (Source: The Orion Publishing Group).

In 1936 she abandoned her early series sleuth, the elegant Liberal MP Scott Egerton, and replaced him with with Arthur Crook, the roguish Cockney defense attorney for whom she became best known. Crook appeared in over fifty mysteries between 1936 and 1973, easily eclipsing the ten Egerton detective novels that appeared between 1927 and 1935.  Yet it was on the strength of the Egerton books that Gilbert was admitted to the Detection Club in 1933, and, in truth, from my reading the half-score of Egertons seem generally to offer readers more in the way of detection than the Crooks, which to me often seem to veer more into (though not completely) suspense territory. (Curtis Evans at The Passing Tramp). Lucy Beatrice Malleson also wrote as J. Kilmeny Keith and Anne Meredith.

Scott Egerton book series: The Tragedy at Freyne, 1927; The Murder of Mrs Davenport, 1928; Death at Four Corners, 1929; The Mystery of the Open Window, 1930; The Night of the Fog, 1930; The Body on the Beam, 1932; The Long Shadow, 1932; The Musical Comedy Crime, 1933; An Old Lady Dies, 1934; and The Man Who Was Too Clever, 1935.

Those in bold have been published by Orion at The Murder Room. Curtis Evans has reviewed The Night of the Fog, 1930 and An Old Lady Dies, 1934 at The Passing Tramp. And Xavier Lechard has very much praised The Long Shadow, 1932.

The Orion publishing group publicity page

Anthony Gilbert page at Golden Age of Detection Wiki

Death at Four Corners, de Anthony Gilbert

Contraportada: El descubrimiento por Scott Egerton del cuerpo de un hombre desconocido con vestimenta eclesiástica, con una bala en la cabeza, en la parte más solitaria de los acantilados de Four Corners, la propiedad de Sir Gervase Blount, dio lugar a las siguientes preguntas: ¿Quién era y cómo llegó hasta allí? ¿De quién era el botón que tenía en su mano izquierda? ¿Quién fue el asistente a la fiesta que lo reconoció y por qué guardó silencio? ¿Quién era el misterioso desconocido que entró en la habitación del muerto la noche de su muerte? ¿De quién era el pendiente de diamantes que se encontró junto a la puerta del muerto? ¿Quién llevó el cuerpo hasta Four Corners? Sigue las pistas en una fascinante novela policial e intenta contestar a estas preguntas conforme pasas de un capítulo a otro hasta alcanzar el emocionante desenlace. (Collins, 1929)

Mi opinión: Después de un encuentro casual en Londres, Sir Gervase Blount invita al Doctor Ambrose a pasar un fin de semana en su propiedad de Four Corners junto con otros invitados. En la pequeña estación de Little Kirbey, Scott Egerton recoge al Doctor Ambrose en nombre de Blount. Blount se disculpa por no haber podido recogerlo él mismo, impedido por tener que atender un asunto inesperado. Egerton y el Dr. Ambrose deciden ir a pie hasta Four Corners. En su camino, encuentran el cuerpo de un hombre tendido sobre una especie de plataforma sobre el mar, al borde de un acantilado. Parece que alguien se resbaló y terminó allí. Después de un descenso peligroso y empinado, Egerton se da cuenta de que no se puede hacer nada para ayudarlo, está muerto. Por su ropa, parece ser un clérigo. Las flores debajo del cuerpo indican claramente que cayó allí después del anochecer y que le habían disparado en la cabeza. Las dotes de observación de Egerton se hacen evidentes. También se da cuenta de que las botas del muerto no pueden ser suyas y que tiene dos viejas cicatrices en la barbilla. Además, tiene un botón firmemente apretado en una mano y algunas marcas alrededor de sus muñecas, pero todas las marcas de identificación han sido cuidadosamente eliminadas.

El cuerpo del desconocido fue rescatado al día siguiente por la policía local. Egerton simplemente entregó el botón, les dijo dónde lo había encontrado y dejó que la ley sacara sus propias conclusiones. El médico de la policía estaba desconcertado por las circunstancias de la muerte. No había magulladuras o abrasiones en el cuerpo como las que hubieran resultado si realmente tropezó y cayó sobre la roca, ni pudo encontrar ninguna herida en el cráneo. El siguiente punto fue decidir si el hombre se había quitado la vida, pero esa teoría fue eliminada por la presencia del botón en su mano. Eso deja solo la alternativa del asesinato, y la investigación se basará en esa hipótesis. Dada la complejidad del caso, las autoridades locales solicitan la asistencia de Scotland Yard, que envía a un tal James Bremner para que se haga cargo de la investigación.

Lo que sigue primero es la investigación de Bremner que termina con la identificación del cuerpo y el arresto de un sospechoso. Sin embargo, todavía estamos en el primer tercio del libro y podemos imaginarnos fácilmente que la historia no puede terminar así. A continuación, le toca a la defensa profundizar en el caso para exculpar a su cliente y proponer una versión alternativa de los hechos. Y finalmente, Scott Egerton regresa a la historia, después de haber desaparecido de los dos apartados anteriores, para explicar lo que realmente había sucedido.

Por tanto, es cierto que no vamos a ver mucho a Scott Egerton en la mayor parte de la novela, pero esto no debería molestarnos. Los rasgos generales de este personaje al principio de la historia son más que suficientes para llegar a conocerlo. De hecho, los primeros capítulos son probablemente la mejor parte de la novela. La investigación de Scotland Yard que viene a continuación se lleva a cabo de forma rutinaria. Pero de todos modos la historia me ha parecido bien construida y es bastante interesante. También debo señalar la alta calidad de la escritura. Es muy posible, como alguien ha subrayado, que la solución no sea muy original, aunque no puedo agregar nada más, ya que no he leído tanto como para verificar esta afirmación.

Estaba particularmente interesado en leer la serie de libros de Scott Egerton de Anthony Gilbert gracias a los artículos de Curtis Evans en The Passing Tramp y finalmente fue Xavier Lechard quien me dio el empujón final cuando elogió mucho The Long Shadow de Anthony Gilbert en Facebook. Lamentablemente, Lucy Malleson solo publicó diez libros en esta serie y solo cuatro son fácilmente asequibles en este momento. En última instancia, incluso si Death at Four Corners puede no ser una novela excelente, ha despertado mi interés en la serie, la disfruté bastante y la recomiendo.

Mi valoración: B (me gustó)

Acerca del autor: Anthony Gilbert fue el seudónimo de Lucy Beatrice Malleson (1899 – 1973), nacida en Londres, pasó toda su vida allí, y su afecto por la ciudad es evidente por el marcado sentido de la personalidad y del lugar que se evidencia en su trabajo. Publicó 69 novelas policiales, 51 de las cuales protagonizadas por su personaje más conocido, Arthur Crook, un abogado londinense totalmente (y deliberadamente) vulgar a diferencia de los detectives aristocráticos, como Lord Peter Wimsey, que dominaba el campo del misterio en ese momento. También escribió más de 25 obras de radio, que se transmitieron en Gran Bretaña y en el extranjero. Su thriller The Woman in Red (1941) fue transmitido en los Estados Unidos por la CBS y se convirtió en una película en 1945 bajo el título My Name is Julia Ross. Fue una de las primeras integrantes del British Detection Club, que, junto con Dorothy L. Sayers, evitó que se desintegrara durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Malleson publicó su autobiografía, Three-a-Penny, en 1940, y escribió numerosos relatos breves, que se publicaron en varias antologías y en publicaciones periódicas como Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine y The Saint. El relato “You Can’t Hang Twice” obtuvo un premio Queens en 1946. Nunca se casó y su feminismo se manifiesta elegantemente en una gran parte de su trabajo. (Fuente: The Orion Publishing Group).

En 1936 abandonó a su detective inicial, el elegante diputado liberal Scott Egerton, y lo sustituyó por Arthur Crook, un pícaro abogado defensor cockney por quien llegó a ser más conocida. Crook apareció en más de cincuenta misterios entre 1936 y 1973, eclipsando fácilmente las diez novelas de detectives de Egerton que aparecieron entre 1927 y 1935. Sin embargo, fue gracias a los libros de Egerton que Gilbert fue admitida en el Detection Club en 1933 y, en verdad, a partir de mi lectura, al menos la mitad de los Egerton generalmente ofrecen mas a los lectores en el campo de la investigación que los Crooks, que en mi opinión a menudo parecen inclinarse más (aunque no completamente) hacia el terreno del suspense. (Curtis Evans en The Passing Tramp). Lucy Beatrice Malleson también escribió como J. Kilmeny Keith y Anne Meredith.

Anthony Gilbert (Lucy Beatrice Malleson) [1899 – 1973]

squareAnthony Gilbert was one of four pseudonyms adopted by Lucy Beatrice Malleson, born in Upper Norwood, a suburb of London, on February 15, 1899. Her father was a stockbroker, and she was educated at St. Paul’s Girls’ School in Hammersmith. During World War I, Malleson’s father lost his position, and although her mother urged her to train as a teacher, Malleson learned typing and shorthand so that she could earn an immediate income for the family. From the age of seventeen onward, she wrote verse and short pieces for Punch and various literary weeklies. During her early years as a secretary, she began to produce novels. In 1922, after attending a performance of John Willard’s theatrical hit The Cat and the Canary, she tried her hand at detective fiction but had no success until her first Anthony Gilbert book, The Tragedy at Freyne (1927), was published.

During her long career, Malleson wrote approximately seventy detective novels under the pen name of Anthony Gilbert; those books after 1936 center on the unconventional lawyer-detective Arthur Crook. In 1934, however, Malleson began, under the pseudonym Anne Meredith, a series of inverted detective stories, in which the identity of the murderer is known from the outset. In 1940, she published her only nonfictional work, an autobiography entitled Three-a-Penny, under the Meredith name. She valued her privacy and for many years successfully concealed her identity as the writer of the Gilbert novels. She continued to write radio plays for the British Broadcasting Corporation and published two nondetective books under the additional pseudonyms of Lucy Egerton and J. Kilmeny Keith.

During World War II, Malleson employed her secretarial skills in posts with the Red Cross, the Ministry of Food, and the Coal Association. She never married, and she listed her recreations as reading, theatergoing, and travel. Until the end of her life, she remained a resident of London, extending her familiarity with those small details of metropolitan life that contribute to the liveliness and immediacy of her novels. She died in London on December 9, 1973.

Source: “Lucy Beatrice Malleson – Biography” Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition Ed. Carl Rollyson. eNotes.com, Inc. 2008 eNotes.com 21 Feb, 2020 http://www.enotes.com/topics/lucy-beatrice-malleson#biography-biography-3359

Furthermore Curtis Evans has written in his blog The Passing Tramp:  

“Lucy Beatrice Malleson is, by any objective historical standard I believe, one of the most noteworthy English crime novelists who began writing during the Golden Age of detective fiction (c. 1920 to 1939), yet she receives very little notice in genre studies and has been out-of-print for some time. … In the nearly half-century from 1925 to 1973, the year of Malleson’s death, over seventy detective and crime novels by Malleson were published, most of these under what was her by far most famous pseudonym, Anthony Gilbert (she also published two mysteries under the the abortive pseudonym J. Kilmeny Keith and a few important early psychological crime novels –very hard to find– under the name Anne Meredith, the best known of which is Portrait of a Murderer). Although Malleson was not, as is sometimes erroneously stated, a founding member of the Detection Club, she was a very early initiate, joining this august institution in 1933, along with Gladys Mitchell and E. R. Punshon (Margery Allingham would join the next year, John Dickson Carr in 1936). … The sleuth in the Gilbert books from 1936 onward, the earthy, pugnacious, Cockney lawyer Arthur Crook, was considered an original contribution to the great phalanx of fictional detectives.” [A Life of Crime 3: Anthony Gilbert (Lucy Beatrice Malleson) (1899-1973)].

And in his book, The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books (British Library Publishing, 2017), Martin Edwards wrote:

“Anne Meredith was a pseudonym of Lucy Beatrice Malleson, who had previously published detective fiction as J. Kilmeny Keith, a number of whose books featured a politician-detective called Scott Egerton, and also under the name Anthony Gilbert. Having abandoned an attempt at a thriller, she resolved to venture upmarket and adopt a fresh literary identity for a novel influenced as much by Dostoevsky as by Francis Iles. Yet despite the praise accorded to Portrait of a Murderer, she recognised that ‘the effects of the slump were unlikely to be permanently offset by books modelled, be it ever so faintly, on the works of Russian genius’. She continued to use the Meredith name, not least for her memoir, Three-a-Penny (1940), but ultimately achieve more success as Anthony Gilbert.”

Bibliography (in bold letters the novels that are either in my Kindle or on my wish list)


Scott Egerton detective novels
:
The Tragedy at Freyne
(1927); The Murder of Mrs Davenport (1928); The Mystery of the Open Window (1930); Death at Four Corners (1929); The Night of the Fog (1930); The Body on the Beam (1932); The Long Shadow (1932); The Musical Comedy Crime (1933); An Old Lady Dies (1934); and The Man Who Was Too Clever (1935).

M. Dupuy detective novels:
The Man in Button Boots
(1934); and Courtier To Death (1936) aka The Dover Train Mystery.

Arthur Crook detective novels: Murder by Experts (1936); The Man Who Wasn’t There (1937); Murder Has No Tongue (1937); Treason in My Breast (1938); The Clock in the Hatbox (1939); The Bell of Death (1939); Dear Dead Woman (1940) aka Death Takes a Redhead; The Vanishing Corpse (1941) aka She Vanished in the Dawn; The Woman in Red (1941) aka The Mystery of the Woman in Red; Something Nasty in the Woodshed (1942) aka Mystery in the Woodshed; The Case of the Tea-Cosy’s Aunt (1942) aka Death in the Blackout; The Mouse Who Wouldn’t Play Ball (1943) aka Thirty Days to Live; He Came by Night (1944) aka Death at the Door; The Scarlet Button (1944) aka Murder Is Cheap; A Spy for Mr Crook (1944); The Black Stage (1945) aka Murder Cheats the Bride; Don’t Open the Door (1945) aka Death Lifts the Latch; The Spinster’s Secret (1946) aka By Hook or by Crook; Death in the Wrong Room (1947); Die in the Dark (1947)  aka The Missing Widow; Lift Up the Lid (1948) aka The Innocent Bottle; Death Knocks Three Times (1949); Murder Comes Home (1950); A Nice Cup of Tea (1950)  aka The Wrong Body; Lady-Killer (1951); Miss Pinnegar Disappears (1952) aka A Case for Mr Crook; Footsteps Behind Me (1953) aka Black Death; Snake in the Grass (1954) aka Death Won’t Wait; Is She Dead Too? (1955) aka A Question of Murder; And Death Came Too (1956); Riddle of a Lady (1956); Give Death a Name (1957); Death Against the Clock (1958); Death Takes a Wife (1959) aka Death Casts a Long Shadow; Third Crime Lucky (1959) aka Prelude to Murder; Out for the Kill (1960); She Shall Die (1961) aka After the Verdict; Uncertain Death (1961); No Dust in the Attic (1962); Ring for a Noose (1963); The Fingerprint (1964); Knock, Knock! Who’s There? (1964) aka The Voice; Passenger to Nowhere (1965); The Looking Glass Murder (1966); The Visitor (1967); Night Encounter (1968) aka Murder Anonymous; Missing from Her Home (1969); Death Wears a Mask (1970) aka Mr.Crook Lifts the Mask; Tenant for the Tomb (1971); Murder is a Waiting Game (1972); A Nice Little Killing (1974).

Non Series books:
The Case Against Andrew Fane
(1931); and Death in the Fancy Dress (1934).

With the Detection Club:
Crime on the Coast and No Flowers by Request
(1984).

As Anne Meredith:
Portrait of a Murderer
(1933); The Coward (1934); The Gambler (1937); The Showman (1938); The Stranger (1939); The Adventurer (1940); There’s Always Tomorrow (1941) aka Home Is the Heart; The Family Man (1942); Curtain, Mr Greatheart (1943); The Beautiful Miss Burroughes (1945); The Rich Woman (1947); The Sisters (1948); The Draper of Edgecumbe (1950); A Fig for Virtue (1951); Call Back Yesterday (1952); The Innocent Bride (1954); The Day of the Miracle (1955); Impetuous Heart (1956); Christine (1957); A Man in the Family (1959); The Wise Child (1960); and Up Goes the Donkey (1962).

As J Kilmeny Keith: The Man Who Was London (1925); and The Sword of Harlequin (1927)

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