May 2015’s book of the month

May’s reading covered five decades of crime fiction, starting more than a century ago with Frank Froest’s The Grell Mystery (1913), a bit of a hymn to Scotland Yard. Robert Grell, ‘social idol, millionaire and diplomat, and winner of the greatest matrimonial prize in London’ is killed – but is it him? Trust the Yard to get to the bottom of things.

Ianthe Jerrold’s The Studio Crime is a 1929 classic by an early member of the Detection Club, brought back into print by Dean Street Press. Affable and optimistic sleuth John Christmas unravels the mysterious death of a wannabe Renaissance man in St John’s Wood.

Ianthe Jerrold’s Dead Man’s Quarry is the 1930 follow-up, set in the Welsh Marches. A young nobleman is murdered during a cycling holiday. Golden Age mystery with just a touch of the Enid Blyton style.

Ethel Lina White’s Some Must Watch (1933) is a claustrophobic suspense novel. A young servant inexplicably stays in a spooky mansion as everyone else is picked off one by one.

John and Emery Bonett’s Dead Lion was my #1949book and sees two amateur detectives, one of whom is more interested in a beautiful suspect, tackling the murder of an unpleasant literary critic.

Nicolas Freeling’s Double-Barrel (1964) takes his pontificating Dutch detective Van Der Valk to a small-minded provincial town to locate the author of a series of poison-pen letters.

Len Deighton’s 1978 thriller SS-GB is an alternative history set in Nazi-occupied London in 1941. Archer of the Yard gets far too involved in German politics in his investigation into the death of a scientist.

My pick of the month? I’m going with Dead Man’s Quarry. A fantastic light read. Review to follow…

You can read other bloggers’ picks at Mysteries in Paradise.

About pastoffences

Past Offences exists to review classic crime and mystery books, with ‘classic’ meaning books originally published before 1987.
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2 Responses to May 2015’s book of the month

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Glad you liked the Jerrold so well, Rich, and looking forward to your review. Good that Dean Street is re-releasing some of these solid titles.


  2. tracybham says:

    With the exception of Len Deighton, I have not read anything by these authors, so you have provided me with several suggestions of books to try in the future.


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