Death in White Pyjamas/Death Knows no Calendar by John Bude

Death in White Pyjamas: & Death Knows No Calendar (British Library Crime Classics Book 76)

⭐⭐⭐

In the first story a set designer is found dead near a lake dressed in white pyjamas and ,of course, almost everybody has a sound reason to hate her. And ” everybody ” means a troupe of actors,a director and a wealthy supporter. The setting,a country house,and the colourful characters are part of the charm. However when it comes to suspense it did not quite deliver the goods. It was really not difficult to guess who the culprit was.
As for the second story,it was basically a locked room mystery. A rather fearsome woman ,who had more than her share of enemies,is found murdered in her locked studio in the garden. Here again it was not really difficult to find the murderer. But once it was established who the miscreant was the amateur sleuth, in this case a Major Boddy,needs to find proof and this drags on and on…The solution to the murder or more precisely the “how” is impossible to guess as the reader does not get any clues.
All in all,two charming stories (country house, quirky characters, English summer garden…) but not quite successful ones when it comes to mystery and suspense.
John Bude has better stories to tell…

Death on a Quiet Day by Michael Innes

Death on a Quiet Day - Michael Innes

David Henchman,a young undergraduate,several other young cubs and their tutor are participating in a reading party. In the morning they pore over texts and in the afternoon they climb hills and discover Dartmoor ‘s treasures. One morning David visits Knack Tor with its magnificent views. When he finally, after a stiff climb,arrives at the top he is not alone. A corpse awaits him there. He then calls for help and manages to attract the attention of a casual passerby. But this hiker seems to have an altogether different agenda. What follows is a wilde chase through heather ,moors,meadows and country lanes. When David finally finds himself in a more safe environment, Inspector Appleby enters the story… I’ve read novels by Michael Innes before and it always amounts to the same thing,sometimes the storyline is definitely worthwhile and sometimes it is all over the place. More than one third of the book consists of young David’s adventures while being chased by the assailants. It feels as if it never going to end and when it finally does, we are confronted by spies and not very intelligent or successful ones. There is definitely a boy scout feeling about. Fine if you like it but it didn’t really work for me.

 

Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith

Portrait of a Murderer (British Library Crime Classics) - Anne Meredith, Martin Edwards

Adrian Gray,an unpleasant patriarch of an equally unpleasant family invites his six children (and their partners) to the family manor to celebrate Christmas. He is not a very loved or likeable man and his family have solid reasons to murder the old man. And one of them does murder Adrian Gray on Christmas Eve. The identity of the murderer is immediately revealed. This is not a who,how or why done it. The story revolves mainly around the exposure and evidence seeking to convict the culprit. It has definitely a modern,not Golden Age at all,twist about it but it took me an eternity to finish it and some parts just dragged on. True,my mother passed away in December and that really didn’t help me to keep focused…

Therefore it is really very difficult to give an unbiased opinion on this classic mystery…

Deep Waters edited by Martin Edwards

Deep Waters - Martin Edwards

Sixteen short stories all relating to water,be it rivers,seasides,estuaries, pools and so on. And ranging in style from classic murder mysteries to tales of the unexpected. Some are good,very good indeed,and some do not quite enchant me so much. But one of the great advantages and delights of these anthologies is the fact that you are introduced to different writers(some famous like Arthur Conan Doyle,C.S.Forester,Michael Innes and some now long forgotten) and their different approach to the “murder mystery”. And notwithstanding the fact that some were written more than a century ago,they are still highly readable and are still a wonderfull source of bookish pleasure.