My Book Notes: Tread Softly, 1937 (Anthony Bathurst Mysteries # 20) by Brian Flynn

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

Dean Street Press, 2020. Book Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 1085 KB. Print Length: 208 pages. ASIN: B08F6YT7HN. eISBN: 978 1 913527 58 7. Originally published in the UK by John Long in 1937, and in the US by Mill in 1938. 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.”

54834704._SY475_Description: 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.

My Take: At first it all seems pretty straightforward. A famous stage and film actor, Claude Merivale, gives himself in to the police for killing his wife, Vera. He confesses he had strangled her. However, the most amazing thing about this case is that he claims he was sound asleep while he did it, that all he did was in a dream. Merivale assures he remembers almost everything about his dream. He was being attacked by a number of people and all he did was defend himself by fighting against them. In the struggle, he turned to the sleeping woman next to him and strangled her, in a state that he describes as semi-conscious unconsciousness. His story was investigated by Scotland Yard and found to be true. Mrs Merivale was found dead in bed, strangled. As soon as the day dawned, Merivale had gone to confess the crime.The bedroom door was locked, Merivale himself had locked it, as he told, when he gave himself in and he handed them the key with which they unlocked the door. There was nothing in the house that could suggest any other thing. Chief Inspector Andrew MacMorran is convinced that Merivale killed his wife deliberately, but he’s afraid that his defence could be strengthened by hard medical evidence to the contrary and he worries that on the trial that will take place could be acquitted. For this reason he turns to his friend Anthony Bathurst for assistance that could confirm his suspicions. The story has two clearly differentiated parts. The first one extends until the trial and concludes with the verdict. In the second, Anthony Bathurst, unsatisfied with the outcome of the trial decides to continue his investigation on his own account in search of the truth.

I must admit, I found this story quite uneven. While the first part until the trial got me bored at times, fortunately everything changes during its second part and I found the outcome of the story very rewarding and even memorable. I’m sorry to say I’m not as enthusiastic of this book as Steve Barge and other fellow bloggers, but in any case it is a worthy addition to the series. In itself it is a good demonstration that Brian Flynn liked to explore new territories, and thus avoiding to fall into formulas. Of this, this book is a good example. I look forward to the next batch of Anthony Bathurst Mysteries that will go on sale as from 6 September 2021 (books 21 to 30).

Tread Softly has been reviewed, among others, by Steve Barge at In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, Kate Jackson at Cross-Examining Crime,TomCat at Beneath the Stains of Time, Dead Yesterday, Aidan at Mysteries Ahoy! and Les Blatt at Classic Mysteries.

About the Author: 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)

The first twenty books in the series have been published so far by Dean Street Press are: The Billiard Room Mystery (1927); The Case Of The Black Twenty-two (1928); The Case of the Peacock’s Eye (1930) aka The Mystery Of The Peacock’s Eye; The Murders Near Mapleton (1929); The Five Red Fingers (1929); Invisible Death (1929); The Creeping Jenny Mystery (1930) aka The Crime At the Crossways; Murder en Route (1930); The Orange Axe (1931); The Triple Bite (1931); The Padded Door (1932); The Edge of Terror (1932); The Spiked Lion (1933); The League of Matthias (1934); The Horn (1934); The Case of the Purple Calf (1934) aka The Ladder Of Death; The Sussex Cuckoo (1935); The Fortescue Candle (1936); Fear and Trembling (1936) aka The Somerset Murder Case; and Tread Softly (1937). In bold the ten most recommended books.

Dean Street Press publicity page

Brian Flynn at In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel

Tread softly (Pisa con cuidado) de Brian Flynn

“Este hombre Merivale admite haber matado a su mujer. En cualquier caso no nos engañemos. Confiesa que él la estranguló. Pero dice que estaba profundamente dormido en el momento en que lo estaba haciendo. Que todo lo que hizo, lo hizo en un sueño”.

Descripción: El inspector jefe MacMorran se enfrenta al caso más extraordinario de su carrera: un asesino confeso que bien puede resultar inocente dadas las circunstancias. MacMorran está seguro de que Merivale es el asesino, pero, preocupado porque el tribunal le exculpe, contrata al investigador Anthony Bathurst para encontrar pruebas para condenarlo. Bathurst no está convencido. Si Merivale mató a su esposa deliberadamente, ¿por qué elegir una historia tan arriesgada que es tan probable que lo condene como que lo absuelva? Pero si Merivale es inocente, ¿había un tercer implicado? Y de ser así, ¿de qué manera? Tread Softly se publicó por primera vez en 1937. Esta nueva edición incluye una introducción de Steve Barge.

Mi opinión: Al principio, todo parece bastante sencillo. Un famoso actor de teatro y cine, Claude Merivale, se entrega a la policía por matar a su esposa, Vera. Confiesa que la había estrangulado. Sin embargo, lo más sorprendente de este caso es que afirma que estaba profundamente dormido mientras lo hacía, que todo lo que hizo fue en un sueño. Merivale asegura que recuerda casi todo sobre su sueño. Estaba siendo atacado por varias personas y todo lo que hizo fue defenderse luchando contra ellas. En la lucha, se volvió hacia la mujer dormida a su lado y la estranguló, en un estado que describe como inconsciencia semiconsciente. Su historia fue investigada por Scotland Yard y se encontró que era cierta. La Sra. Merivale fue encontrada muerta en la cama, estrangulada. Apenas amaneció Merivale había ido a confesar el crimen. La puerta del dormitorio estaba cerrada, el propio Merivale la había cerrado, según relató, cuando se entregó y les entregó la llave con la que abrieron la puerta. No había nada en la casa que pudiera sugerir otra cosa. El inspector jefe Andrew MacMorran está convencido de que Merivale mató a su esposa deliberadamente, pero teme que su defensa pueda fortalecerse con pruebas médicas contundentes en sentido contrario y le preocupa que en el juicio que se llevará a cabo pueda ser absuelto. Por esta razón, recurre a su amigo Anthony Bathurst en busca de ayuda que pueda confirmar sus sospechas. La historia tiene dos partes claramente diferenciadas. La primera se extiende hasta el juicio y concluye con el veredicto. En la segunda, Anthony Bathurst, insatisfecho con el resultado del juicio decide continuar su investigación por su propia cuenta en busca de la verdad.

Debo admitir que encontré esta historia bastante desigual. Si bien la primera parte hasta el juicio me aburrió por momentos, afortunadamente todo cambia durante su segunda parte y encontré el resultado de la historia muy gratificante e incluso memorable. Lamento decir que no estoy tan entusiasmado con este libro como Steve Barge y otros colegas blogueros, pero en cualquier caso es una valiosa adición a la serie. En sí mismo es una buena demostración de que a Brian Flynn le gustaba explorar nuevos territorios, y así evitar caer en fórmulas. De esto, este libro es un buen ejemplo. Espero con interés el próximo lote de Anthony Bathurst Mysteries que saldrá a la venta a partir del 6 de septiembre de 2021 (libros 21 a 30).

Sobre el autor: Brian Flynn nació en 1885 en Leyton, Essex. Obtuvo una beca para la City Of London School, aunque ingresó en el cuerpo de funcionarios civiles del Estado (ocupando el cuarto lugar de todo el país en el examen de ingreso) en lugar de ir a la universidad, la educación clásica que recibió allí claramente le acompañaron siempre. Episodios prolongados de fiebre reumática le impidieron participar activamente en la Primera Guerra Mundial, pero en cambio sirvió como agente especial de la policía en la retaguardia mientras enseñaba “contabilidad, idiomas, matemáticas y expresión oral a hombres, mujeres, niños y niñas” por las tardes, y actuaba formando parte de los Actores de Trevelyan en su tiempo libre. Fueron unas vacaciones familiares junto al mar las que le inspiraron a dedicarse a escribir a mediados de los años veinte. Al encontrar que la mayoría de las novelas de misterio de la época eran “extremadamente mediocres”, se decidió a escribir la suya propia. Edith, su mujer, le animó a terminarla, y tras un período prolongado buscando editor, John Hamilton en el Reino Unido y Macrae Smith en los Estados Unidos la publicaron en el 1927 como The Billiard-Room Mystery. Brian Flynn murió en 1958. En total, escribió y publicó 57 misterios, la gran mayoría protagonizados por el genial detective Anthony Bathurst. (Fuente: Introducción de Steve Barge y Dean Street Press).

Los primeros veinte libros de la serie que hasta ahora han sido publicados por Dean Street Press son: The Billiard Room Mystery (1927); The Case Of The Black Twenty-two (1928); The Case of the Peacock’s Eye (1930) aka The Mystery Of The Peacock’s Eye; The Murders Near Mapleton (1929); The Five Red Fingers (1929); Invisible Death (1929); The Creeping Jenny Mystery (1930) aka The Crime At the Crossways; Murder en Route (1930); The Orange Axe (1931); The Triple Bite (1931); The Padded Door (1932); The Edge of Terror (1932); The Spiked Lion (1933); The League of Matthias (1934); The Horn (1934); The Case of the Purple Calf (1934) aka The Ladder Of Death; The Sussex Cuckoo (1935); The Fortescue Candle (1936); Fear and Trembling (1936) aka The Somerset Murder Case; and Tread Softly (1937). En negrita los diez mas recomendados.

My Book Notes: The Fortescue Candle, 1936 (Anthony Bathurst Mysteries # 18) by Brian Flynn

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

Dean Street Press, 2020. Book Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 994 KB. Print Length: 216 pages. ASIN : B08K7K5T85. eISBN: 978 1 913527 54 9. Originally published in 1936 by John Long. This new edition features an introduction by crime fiction historian Steve Barge.

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

51BZ5PC7oXL.SX316.SY480._SL500_Book Description: 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?

My Take: Occasionally, we might feel certain laziness to tackle a new author with an extensive production, as it may be the case of Brian Flynn. Fortunately, we can count with some help to simplify this task. In this particular case Steve Barge has come to help us to make a better choice which novels to read first. His suggestions are available at My Top Ten Brian Flynn Titles – so far…

Add to this what TomCat says about Brian Flynn’s The Fortescue Candle:  ‘The synopsis promised a detective story reminiscent of early period Christopher Bush and Steve’s introduction made even more curious as he named it “one of my favourite motives from Golden Age detective fiction.” I can appreciate a good and original motive as much as an expertly crafted alibi or locked room-trick. The Fortescue Candle didn’t disappoint!’

On my side, I can only add I wasn’t able to see the denouement coming. That should suffice to encourage you to read this novel which I strongly recommend. And I look forward to reading Tread Softly next.

The Fortescue Candle has been reviewed, among others, by Steve Barge at In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel and TomCat at Beneath the Stains of Time.

About the Author: 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)

The first twenty books in the series have been published so far by Dean Street Press are: The Billiard Room Mystery (1927); The Case Of The Black Twenty-two (1928); The Case of the Peacock’s Eye (1930) aka The Mystery Of The Peacock’s Eye ; The Murders Near Mapleton (1929); The Five Red Fingers (1929); Invisible Death (1929); The Creeping Jenny Mystery (1930) aka The Crime At the Crossways; Murder en Route (1930); The Orange Axe (1931); The Triple Bite (1931); The Padded Door (1932); The Edge of Terror (1932); The Spiked Lion (1933); The League of Matthias (1934); The Horn (1934); The Case of the Purple Calf (1934) aka The Ladder Of Death; The Sussex Cuckoo (1935); The Fortescue Candle (1936); Fear and Trembling (1936) aka The Somerset Murder Case; and Tread Softly (1937). In bold the ten most recommended books.

Dean Street Press publicity page

Brian Flynn at In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel

The Fortescue Candle, de Brian Flynn

El caballero del número cincuenta y cuatro, el señor. Griggs, ¡ha sido asesinado!

Descripción del libro: Albert Griggs, el Secretario de Estado de Interior, está estudiando un caso importante. Dos hermanos han matado a una criada en el transcurso de un robo. Griggs analiza los hechos detenidamente y llega a su decisión final: no condonará la pena de muerte. ¿Fue esta ejecución lo que motivó que Griggs fuera encontrado muerto de un tiro en la habitación de un hotel? ¿O el hecho de que lo hubieran acusado de tomarse libertades con cierta jovencita? Griggs tenía muchos enemigos, y uno de ellos lo odiaba lo suficiente como para matarlo. Pero cuando Anthony Bathurst investiga, encuentra algo aún más desconcertante: ¿cómo se relaciona el asesinato con el envenenamiento de Daphne Arbuthnot, una actriz, en el escenario en medio de una actuación? ¿Y cómo es que está involucrado el Ku Klux Klan?

Mi opinión: En ocasiones, podemos sentir cierta pereza para abordar un nuevo autor con una producción extensa, como puede ser el caso de Brian Flynn. Afortunadamente, podemos contar con alguna ayuda para simplificar esta tarea. En este caso particular, Steve Barge ha venido a ayudarnos a elegir mejor qué novelas leer primero. Sus sugerencias están disponibles en My Top Ten Brian Flynn Titles – so far…

Agregue a esto lo que dice TomCat sobre The Fortescue Candle de Brian Flynn: ‘La sinopsis promete una historia policiaca que recuerda el período inicial de Christopher Bush y la introducción de Steve hace que sea más curiosa todavía cuando considera que contiene “uno de mis motivos favoritos de la Edad de Oro de la literatura policiaca“. Puedo apreciar un motivo bueno y original tanto como una coartada perfectamente elaborada o un truco en un cuarto cerrado. ¡The Fortescue Candle no defrauda!

Por mi parte, solo puedo agregar que no pude ver venir el desenlace. Eso debería ser suficinete para animarle a leer esta novela que recomiendo encarecidamente. Y espero leer Tread Softly a continuación.

Sobre el autor: Brian Flynn nació en 1885 en Leyton, Essex. Obtuvo una beca para la City Of London School, aunque ingresó en el cuerpo de funcionarios civiles del Estado (ocupando el cuarto lugar de todo el país en el examen de ingreso) en lugar de ir a la universidad, la educación clásica que recibió allí claramente le acompañaron siempre. Episodios prolongados de fiebre reumática le impidieron participar activamente en la Primera Guerra Mundial, pero en cambio sirvió como agente especial de la policía en la retaguardia mientras enseñaba “contabilidad, idiomas, matemáticas y expresión oral a hombres, mujeres, niños y niñas” por las tardes, y actuaba formando parte de los Actores de Trevelyan en su tiempo libre. Fueron unas vacaciones familiares junto al mar las que le inspiraron a dedicarse a escribir a mediados de los años veinte. Al encontrar que la mayoría de las novelas de misterio de la época eran “extremadamente mediocres”, se decidió a escribir la suya propia. Edith, su mujer, le animó a terminarla, y tras un período prolongado buscando editor, John Hamilton en el Reino Unido y Macrae Smith en los Estados Unidos la publicaron en el 1927 como The Billiard-Room Mystery. Brian Flynn murió en 1958. En total, escribió y publicó 57 misterios, la gran mayoría protagonizados por el genial detective Anthony Bathurst. (Fuente: Introducción de Steve Barge y Dean Street Press).

Los primeros veinte libros de la serie que hasta ahora han sido publicados por Dean Street Press son: The Billiard Room Mystery (1927); The Case Of The Black Twenty-two (1928); The Case of the Peacock’s Eye (1930) aka The Mystery Of The Peacock’s Eye ; The Murders Near Mapleton (1929); The Five Red Fingers (1929); Invisible Death (1929); The Creeping Jenny Mystery (1930) aka The Crime At the Crossways; Murder en Route (1930); The Orange Axe (1931); The Triple Bite (1931); The Padded Door (1932); The Edge of Terror (1932); The Spiked Lion (1933); The League of Matthias (1934); The Horn (1934); The Case of the Purple Calf (1934) aka The Ladder Of Death; The Sussex Cuckoo (1935); The Fortescue Candle (1936); Fear and Trembling (1936) aka The Somerset Murder Case; and Tread Softly (1937). En negrita los diez mas recomendados.

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.

51BZ5PC7oXLDescription

“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.

51P46COzM7LDescription

“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.

My Book Notes: The Murders near Mapleton, 1929 (Bathurst Mysteries Book # 4) by Brian Flynn

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

Dean Street Press, 2019. Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 1168 KB. Print Length: 200 pages. ASIN: B07XL51J4T. eISBN: 978 1 913054 42 7. First published in 1929 by John Hamilton. This new edition includes an introduction by crime fiction historian Steve Barge.

51yxmyfYP9LBook Description: “This is not suicide, gentlemen. This is murder! Cold-blooded murder! The sooner we get the police here and find Sir Eustace Vernon, the better!”. Christmas Eve at Vernon House is in full swing. Sir Eustace’s nearest and dearest, and the great and the good of Mapleton, are all there. But the season of comfort and joy doesn’t run true to form. Before the night is out, Sir Eustace has disappeared and his butler, Purvis, lies dead, poisoned, with a threatening message in his pocket. Or is it her pocket? That same evening, Police Commissioner Sir Austin Kemble and investigator Anthony Bathurst are out for a drive. They come across an abandoned car at a railway crossing, and find a body – Sir Eustace Vernon, plus two extraordinary additions. One, a bullet hole in the back of his head. Two, a red bon-bon in his pocket with a threatening message attached.

(Incidentally, a bon-bon was the name given to Christmas crackers at that time)

My Take: One Christmas Eve, at his home in Vernon House, Sir Eustace Vernon is celebrating a dinner party. Among the guests are Father Jewell, the priest of the Roman Catholic Church in Mapleton; Mr and Mrs Venables, the Mayor and Mayoress of Mapleton; Doctor Lionel Carrington, a local doctor; and Major Prendergast together with his wife. They are what could be termed the ‘local people’. The rest of the guests are Mr and Mrs Morris Trentham, London friends of Sir Eustace; and Mr Terence Desmond, a friend of Mis Ashley, Sir Eustace’s niece. Shortly after dinner, Sir Eustace excuses himself for having to leave unexpectedly to attend a matter beyond his control. Later on, Doctor Carrington would declare ‘that he was absolutely certain at that particular moment of the grim presence of Tragedy.’

It then follows a set of extraordinary events. First it is a chilling scream coming from Sir Eustace’s study where Hammond, one of the maids, has fainted. Then comes the discovery of a sort of suicide note handwritten by Sir Eustace himself which does not bode well. And, while a search-party is taken shape to find Sir Eustace, a scream of horror is heard again coming from the servant’s quarters. Another maid has just found the lifeless body of Purvis, the butler, seated in a chair. Immediately, Doctor Carrington instructs Terence Desmond to phone the local police to investigate the somewhat peculiar circumstances of Purvis’ death. The most curious aspect of this case is that the victim is holding the red wrapper of a bon-bon with a note-paper that read: ‘One hour to live: You pay your debt –to-night!’ Surprises will not end there and, upon the arrival of Inspector Craig, it is discovered that Purvis was actually a woman, something that all those present ensure they did not know.

On top of this all, Inspector Craig receives a phone call at Vernon House informing him that Sir Eustace Vernon’s body has been found on the railway line a few yard from Dyke’s Crossing. He must have driven straight there and thrown himself under a passing train. But what puzzles him most is the identity of his informant–it’s no less a person than Sir Austin Kemble–the Commissioner of Police. It’s clearly going to be a case for Scotland Yard.

What readers are still unaware of is that Sir Eustace was already dead when he was run over by the train, that he carried in his pocket a red wrapper of a bon-bon with the same threatened than the one found on Purvis and that Anthony Bathurst was accompanying Sir Austin Kemble when they found Sir Eustace’s body.

The Murders near Mapleton is the fourth book in the Bathurst Mystery series published by Dean Street Press. A series that, if I understand correctly can be read in no particular order. It is also the third book in the series that I have read and, why not say it, I’ve enjoyed. Although, it is true, I’ve followed Dr Puzzle’s recommendation that can be found below. The story, as can be seen in the summary, is complex enough for keeping the reader interested on the plot development, a plot that has also enough twists and turns to increase the intrigue. Eventually, everything will be solved in a satisfactory manner even though I was left with the doubt if the writer has play fair all the time. In any case it is quite an entertaining book to read, and quite appropriate for this time of the year. It goes without saying I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series and, in particular, those included among Puzzle Doctor’s Top Ten Brian Flynn Titles.

The Murders near Mapleton has been reviewed, among others, at The Passing Tramp, In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, Beneath the Stains of Time, Cross-Examining Crime, Bedford Bookshelf, Mysteries Ahoy!  and The Grandest Game in the World.

About the Author: Brian Flynn was born in 1885 in Leyton, Essex. He won a scholarship to the City Of London School, and while he went into the civil service (ranking fourth in the whole country on the entrance examination) rather than go to university, the classical education that he received there clearly stayed with him. Protracted bouts of rheumatic fever prevented him fighting in the Great War, but instead he served as a Special Constable on the Home Front. Flynn worked for the local government while teaching “Accountancy, Languages, Maths and Elocution to men, women, boys and girls” in the evenings, and acting as part of the Trevelyan Players in his spare time. It was a seaside family holiday that inspired him 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:  Steve Barge’s Introduction and Dean Street Press).

The first twenty books in the series have been published by Dean Street Press – so far…: The Billiard Room Mystery (1927), The Case Of The Black Twenty-two (1928), The Mystery Of The Peacock’s Eye (1928), The Murders near Mapleton (1929), The Five Red Fingers (1929), Invisible Death (1929), The Creeping Jenny Mystery (1929), Murder en Route (1930), The Orange Axe (1931), The Triple Bite (1931), The Padded Door (1932), The Edge Of Terror (1932), The Spiked Lion (1933), The League Of Matthias (1934), The Horn (1934), The Case Of The Purple Calf aka The Ladder of Death (1934), The Sussex Cuckoo (1935), The Fortescue Candle (1936), Fear And Trembling aka The Somerset Murder (1936), Tread Softly (1937).

Puzzle Doctor’s Top Ten Brian Flynn Titles – so far…: Tread Softly (Book 20); The Mystery Of The Peacock’s Eye (Book 3); The Creeping Jenny Mystery (Book 7); The Horn (Book 15); The Padded Door (Book 11); Murder En Route (Book 8);
Fear and Trembling
(Book 19); The Murders Near Mapleton (Book 4); The Fortescue Candle (Book 18); and The Edge of Terror (Book 12).

Dean Street Press publicity page

Brian Flynn at In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel

The Murders near Mapleton, de Brian Flynn

Descripción del libro: “Esto no es un suicidio, señores. ¡Esto es un asesinato! ¡Un asesinato a sangre fría! ¡Cuanto antes tengamos a la policía aquí y encontremos a Sir Eustace Vernon, mejor!”. La Nochebuena en Vernon House está en pleno apogeo. Los más cercanos y queridos de Sir Eustace, y la flor y nata de Mapleton, se encuentran todos allí. Pero la temporada de consuelo y alegría no se comporta como debería. Antes de que termine la noche, Sir Eustace ha desaparecido y su mayordomo, Purvis, yace muerto, envenenado, con un mensaje amenazante en el bolsillo. ¿O llace muerta? Esa misma noche, el Jefe de la Policía Sir Austin Kemble y el investigador Anthony Bathurst salieron a dar una vuelta. Se encuentran con un automóvil abandonado en un cruce ferroviario y encuentran un cuerpo: Sir Eustace Vernon, además de dos novedades singulares. Una, un agujero de bala en la parte posterior de la cabeza. Dos, un bon-bon rojo en el bolsillo con un mensaje amenazador.

(Por cierto, un bon-bon era el nombre que se le daba a las galletas navideñas en ese momento)

Mi opinión: Una Nochebuena, en su casa de Vernon House, Sir Eustace Vernon está celebrando una cena. Entre los invitados se encuentran el padre Jewell, sacerdote de la Iglesia Católica Romana de Mapleton; el Sr. y  la Sra. Venables, alcalde y alcaldesa de Mapleton; El doctor Lionel Carrington, el médico de la localidadl; y el Mayor Prendergast junto con su esposa. Son lo que podría denominarse “los personajes de la localidad”. El resto de invitados son el Sr. y la Sra. Morris Trentham, amigos londinenses de Sir Eustace; y el señor Terence Desmond, amigo de Mis Ashley, la sobrina de sir Eustace. Poco después de la cena, Sir Eustace se disculpa por tener que irse inesperadamente para atender un asunto que escapa a su control. Más tarde, el doctor Carrington declararía “que estaba absolutamente seguro en ese momento particular de la sombría presencia de una tragedia.”

Luego sigue una serie de sucesos extraordinarios. Primero es un grito escalofriante procedente del estudio de sir Eustace, donde Hammond, una de las doncellas, se ha desmayado. Luego viene el descubrimiento de una especie de nota de suicidio escrita a mano por el propio Sir Eustace que no augura nada bueno. Y, mientras se forma un grupo de búsqueda para encontrar a Sir Eustace, se escucha de nuevo un grito de horror procedente de las habitaciones de los sirvientes. Otra criada acaba de encontrar el cuerpo sin vida de Purvis, el mayordomo, sentado en una silla. Inmediatamente, el doctor Carrington le indica a Terence Desmond que llame a la policía local para investigar las circunstancias un tanto peculiares de la muerte de Purvis. Lo más curioso de este caso es que la víctima sostiene el envoltorio rojo de un bon-bon con un papel de notas que dice: ‘Una hora de vida: ¡paga tu deuda esta noche!’ Las sorpresas no terminan ahí. y, a la llegada del inspector Craig, se descubre que Purvis era en realidad una mujer, algo que todos los presentes aseguran desconocer.

Además de todo esto, el inspector Craig recibe una llamada telefónica en Vernon House informándole que el cuerpo de Sir Eustace Vernon ha sido encontrado en la vía del tren a pocos metros de Dyke’s Crossing. Debió haber conducido directamente allí y arrojarse debajo de un tren que pasaba. Pero lo que más lo desconcierta es la identidad de su informante, no es otro que Sir Austin Kemble en persona, el Jefe Superior de la Policía. Claramente será un caso para Scotland Yard.

Lo que aún desconocen los lectores es que Sir Eustace ya estaba muerto cuando fue arrollado por el tren, que llevaba en el bolsillo un envoltorio rojo de un bon-bon con la misma amenaza que la encontrada en Purvis y que Anthony Bathurst acompañaba a Sir Austin Kemble cuando encontraron el cuerpo de Sir Eustace.

Los asesinatos cerca de Mapleton es el cuarto libro de la serie de misterios de Bathurst publicada por Dean Street Press. Una serie que, si entiendo correctamente, se puede leer sin ningún orden en particular. También es el tercer libro de la serie que he leído y, por qué no decirlo, lo he disfrutado. Aunque, es cierto, he seguido la recomendación del Dr. Puzzle que se puede encontrar a continuación. La historia, como se puede ver en el resumen, es lo suficientemente compleja como para mantener al lector interesado en el desarrollo de la trama, una trama que también tiene suficientes giros y vueltas para aumentar la intriga. Eventualmente, todo se resolverá de manera satisfactoria, aunque me quedé con la duda de si el escritor ha jugado limpio en todo momento. En cualquier caso, es un libro bastante entretenido de leer, y bastante apropiado para esta época del año. No hace falta decir que espero leer el resto de los libros de la serie y, en particular, los incluidos entre los diez mejores títulos de Brian Flynn según Puzzle Doctor.

Sobre el autor: Brian Flynn nació en 1885 en Leyton, Essex. Obtuvo una beca para la City Of London School, aunque ingresó en el cuerpo de funcionarios civiles del Estado (ocupando el cuarto lugar de todo el país en el examen de ingreso) en lugar de ir a la universidad, la educación clásica que recibió allí claramente le acompañaron siempre. Episodios prolongados de fiebre reumática le impidieron participar activamente en la Primera Guerra Mundial, pero en cambio sirvió como agente especial de la policía en la retaguardia mientras enseñaba “contabilidad, idiomas, matemáticas y expresión oral a hombres, mujeres, niños y niñas” por las tardes, y actuaba formando parte de los Actores de Trevelyan en su tiempo libre. Fueron unas vacaciones familiares junto al mar las que le inspiraron a dedicarse a escribir a mediados de los años veinte. Al encontrar que la mayoría de las novelas de misterio de la época eran “extremadamente mediocres”, se decidió a escribir la suya propia. Edith, su mujer, le animó a terminarla, y tras un período prolongado buscando editor, John Hamilton en el Reino Unido y Macrae Smith en los Estados Unidos la publicaron en el 1927 como The Billiard-Room Mystery. Brian Flynn murió en 1958. En total, escribió y publicó 57 misterios, la gran mayoría protagonizados por el genial detective Anthony Bathurst. (Fuente: Introducción de Steve Barge y Dean Street Press).

Los primeros veinte libros de la serie han sido publicados por Dean Street Press, hasta ahora…: The Billiard Room Mystery (1927), The Case Of The Black Twenty-two (1928), The Mystery Of The Peacock’s Eye (1928), The Murders near Mapleton (1929), The Five Red Fingers (1929), Invisible Death (1929), The Creeping Jenny Mystery (1929), Murder en Route (1930), The Orange Axe (1931), The Triple Bite (1931), The Padded Door (1932), The Edge Of Terror (1932), The Spiked Lion (1933), The League Of Matthias (1934), The Horn (1934), The Case Of The Purple Calf aka The Ladder of Death (1934), The Sussex Cuckoo (1935), The Fortescue Candle (1936), Fear And Trembling aka The Somerset Murder (1936), Tread Softly (1937).

Steve Barge aka The Puzzle Doctor ha seleccionado de mejor a menor sus diez más recomendados: Tread Softly (Book 20); The Mystery Of The Peacock’s Eye (Book 3); The Creeping Jenny Mystery (Book 7); The Horn (Book 15); The Padded Door (Book 11); Murder En Route (Book 8); Fear and Trembling (Book 19); The Murders Near Mapleton (Book 4); The Fortescue Candle (Book 18); y The Edge of Terror (Book 12).

My Book Notes: Murder en Route: An Anthony Bathurst Mystery, 1930 (Anthony Bathurst Mysteries Book # 8) by Brian Flynn

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

Dean Street Press, 2019. Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 985 KB. Print Length: 222 pages. ASIN: B07XK12DMT. eISBN: 978 1 913054 50 2. First published in 1930 by John Long. This new edition includes an introduction by crime fiction historian Steve Barge.

51iqX1y4GDLBook Description: “Education’s like murder. It will out.” Anthony Bathurst drops into a Glebeshire church and when it transpires that the vicar is acquainted with the medical examiner on a case of murder, Bathurst is hooked. He is soon on the trail of a most bizarre murderer. Who could have slain the slightly mysterious, yet quite unsuspicious, man on the top of a local bus? Bathurst assembles a band of helpers, with the reluctant help of Inspector Curgenven, to get to the bottom of a most perplexing case. And the vicar himself helps narrate the story of what is a seemingly impossible crime.

My Take: One cold and uncomfortable night in mid-November, the last motor-bus left the coastal town of Esting, destination Raybourne, where it was due to arrive in an hour and five minutes. The bus in question was a double-decker with its roof uncovered and there was one only passenger travelling on the upper deck, despite the bad weather. Since he got on, the bus did not pick up more passengers. No one else through out the entire journey climbed to the upper floor. At destination, the conductor waited on his platform for the passenger to descend. Realising he was not coming down, he went upstairs to see if he was asleep, but soon he felt that something odd had happened. The passenger in question was not asleep, he was dead. In fact, he had been murdered, something that seemed impossible since he had been all alone since he got on the bus. To make matters worse, the victim was not carrying any documents and cannot be identified. This will be one of the most baffling cases the local police will have to tackle, but fortunately they will count with the invaluable help of Anthony Bathurst, who happens to be in the area and becomes interested in the case.

Murder en Route is the eighth book in the Anthony Bathurst series, and the second I’ve read. Steve Barge, who blogs at In Search of the Classic Mystery, is, in a sense, responsible for sparking my interest in Brian Flynn and, from what I understand, Murder en Route is one of his best novels, among the ten currently available. For this reason I rushed to read it before others, and it has not disappointed me in the least. I was particularly interested in this novel since its plot revolves around an impossible crime and from what we can read in the Introduction, even though Flynn has dabbled in impossible crimes before  –The Case Of the Black Twenty-Two and Invisible Death– it is not a recurring theme in his work. A later book, The Spiked Lion, also deals with a locked room murder, but these are the exceptions rather than the rule. Steve Barge also highlights in his introduction that ‘this is the first time that Flynn has adopted a first person narrator since his opening book, an it is a slightly odd choice, given that the Reverend begins his narration in Chapter Four, he has to relate some incidents where he was not present, whereas other chapters on such events are written in the third person. . . . , slightly odd, but it does not distract from the tale which is, on a relative scale, one of Flynn’s better works.’ Ultimately, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Murder en Route. The story is well constructed, the author plays fair with the reader, and the readers count with a good number of clues at their disposal to anticipate the final outcome. Highly recommended.

My Rating: A (I loved it)

Murder en Route has been reviewed, among others, at Pretty Sinister Books, Beneath the Stains of Time, In Search of the Classic Mystery, Cross-Examining Crime, and Classic Mysteries.

1352

Source: Facsimile Dust Jackets, LLC

About the Author: Brian Flynn was born in 1885 in Leyton, Essex. He won a scholarship to the City Of London School, and while he went into the civil service (ranking fourth in the whole country on the entrance examination) rather than go to university, the classical education that he received there clearly stayed with him. Protracted bouts of rheumatic fever prevented him fighting in the Great War, but instead he served as a Special Constable on the Home Front. Flynn worked for the local government while teaching “Accountancy, Languages, Maths and Elocution to men, women, boys and girls” in the evenings, and acting as part of the Trevelyan Players in his spare time. It was a seaside family holiday that inspired him 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:  Steve Barge’s Introduction and Dean Street Press).

The first ten books in the series have been published by Dean Street Press: The Billiard Room Mystery (1927), The Case Of The Black Twenty-two (1928), The Mystery Of The Peacock’s Eye (1928), The Murders near Mapleton (1929), The Five Red Fingers (1929), Invisible Death (1929), The Creeping Jenny Mystery (1929), Murder en Route (1930), The Orange Axe (1931), The Triple Bite (1931).

Dean Street Press publicity page

Brian Flynn at In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel

Murder En Route, de Brian Flynn

Descripción del libro:”La educación es como el asesinato. No se puede ocultar “. Anthony Bathurst entra en una iglesia de Glebeshire y cuando resulta que el vicario conoce al médico forense en un caso de asesinato, Bathurst se siente enganchado. Pronto sigue el rastro del asesino más extraño. ¿Quién podría haber matado al hombre algo misterioso, aunque bastante poco sospechoso, en el piso superior de un autobús local? Bathurst reúne a un grupo de ayudantes, con la ayuda reticente del Inspector Curgenven, para llegar al fondo de un caso sumamente desconcertante. Y el vicario mismo ayuda a contar la historia de lo que es un crimen aparentemente imposible.

Mi opinión: Una noche fría y desapacible a mediados de noviembre, el último autobús salió de la ciudad costera de Esting, destino Raybourne, donde debía llegar en una hora y cinco minutos. El autobús en cuestión era de dos pisos con el techo descubierto y solo llevaba un pasajero viajando en el piso superior, desafiando el mal tiempo. Desde que subió, el autobús no recogió más pasajeros y nadie más durante todo el viaje subió al piso de arriba. Al llegar a su destino, el revisor esperó en su plataforma a que el pasajero descendiera. Al darse cuenta de que no iba a bajar, subió para ver si se encontraba dormido, pero pronto sintió que algo extraño había sucedido. El pasajero en cuestión no estaba dormido, estaba muerto. De hecho, había sido asesinado, algo que parecía imposible, ya que había estado solo desde que se subió al autobús. Para empeorar las cosas, la víctima no llevaba ningún documento y no puede ser identificada. Este será uno de los casos más desconcertantes que la policía local tendrá que abordar, pero afortunadamente contarán con la invaluable ayuda de Anthony Bathurst, quien se encuentra en el área y se interesa por el caso.

Murder en Route es el octavo libro de la serie Anthony Bathurst, y el segundo que he leído. Steve Barge, que escribe en su blog In Search of the Classic Mystery, es, en cierto sentido, responsable de haber despertado mi interés por Brian Flynn y, por lo que entiendo, Murder en Route es una de sus mejores novelas, entre las diez disponibles actualmente. Por esta razón, me apresuré a leerla antes que otras, y no me ha decepcionado lo más mínimo. Estaba particularmente interesado en esta novela ya que su trama gira en torno a un crimen imposible y, por lo que podemos leer en la Introducción, a pesar de que Flynn ha hecho incusiones en crímenes imposibles antes –The Case Of the Black Twenty-Two and Invisible Death–  no es un tema recurrente en su obra. Un libro posterior, The Spiked Lion, también trata sobre un asesinato en una habitación cerrada, pero estas son las excepciones y no la regla. Steve Barge también destaca en su introducción que “esta es la primera vez que Flynn adopta un narrador en primera persona desde su primer libro, y es una elección un poco extraña, dado que el Reverendo comienza su narración en el Capítulo Cuarto, tiene que contar algunos incidentes donde no estuvo presente, mientras que otros capítulos sobre tales sucesos están escritos en tercera persona. . . . , un poco extraño, pero no distrae de la historia que es, en una escala relativa, una de las mejores obras de Flynn“. En definitiva, he disfrutado mucho leyendo Murder en Route. La historia está bien construida, el autor juega limpio con el lector y los lectores cuentan con una buena cantidad de pistas a su disposición para anticipar el resultado final. Muy recomendable.

Mi valoración: A (Me encantó)

Sobre el autor: Brian Flynn nació en 1885 en Leyton, Essex. Obtuvo una beca para la City Of London School, aunque ingresó en el cuerpo de funcionarios civiles del Estado (ocupando el cuarto lugar de todo el país en el examen de ingreso) en lugar de ir a la universidad, la educación clásica que recibió allí claramente le acompañaron siempre. Episodios prolongados de fiebre reumática le impidieron participar activamente en la Primera Guerra Mundial, pero en cambio sirvió como agente especial de la policía en la retaguardia mientras enseñaba “contabilidad, idiomas, matemáticas y expresión oral a hombres, mujeres, niños y niñas” por las tardes, y actuaba formando parte de los Actores de Trevelyan en su tiempo libre. Fueron unas vacaciones familiares junto al mar las que le inspiraron a dedicarse a escribir a mediados de los años veinte. Al encontrar que la mayoría de las novelas de misterio de la época eran “extremadamente mediocres”, se decidió a escribir la suya propia. Edith, su mujer, le animó a terminarla, y tras un período prolongado buscando editor, John Hamilton en el Reino Unido y Macrae Smith en los Estados Unidos la publicaron en el 1927 como The Billiard-Room Mystery. Brian Flynn murió en 1958. En total, escribió y publicó 57 misterios, la gran mayoría protagonizados por el genial detective Anthony Bathurst. (Fuente: Introducción de Steve Barge y Dean Street Press).