Roger Cartland was a respectable businessman in life but in death… well, that’s another matter. When the jeweller’s body is found in a crashed car, a murder investigation begins as poison is found in his system. Inspector Knollis soon finds out that Cartland had a sideline – namely working as part of a criminal gang.
When Knollis’ friend, Brother Ignatius gets involved, the inspector finds himself with a problem – Ignatius knows more than he is telling but is unwilling to send a killer to the gallows. So Knollis finds himself trying to sort out the central problem – when exactly did Cartland ingest the poison? For it seems almost impossible for the poison to have been administered…
A quick review, as I’m a little pressed for time, so please insert a bundle of your choice of bon mots and witty epithets – and credit me with them, obviously. When you’ve finished chuckling, on with the review.
After reading The Singing Masons, I was at a loss as to why Francis Vivian had been unheard of for so long, and The Ladies of Locksley just fuels that confusion. While it’s not my favourite mystery sub-genre, namely centred around a criminal conspiracy – John Rhode does this a bit, for example in Proceed With Caution – this ticks along nicely. While Knollis’ shouty co-sleuth, Superintendent Manson, gets a bit wearing, there is some nice work here.
Admittedly, I did guess the murderer, but they are well-hidden, possibly better than in The Singing Masons. While I think I probably prefer the first book, this is still a strong title and definitely worthy of rediscovery. I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of the Vivian catalogue and thanks again to Dean St Press for re-releasing these. Highly Recommended.
Thanks for this splendid recommendation, Doc! I’m planning to go through the entire series and you got my attention with the quasi-impossible poisoning. I did not expect this series to have any impossible crimes, or even borderline ones, but welcome it with open arms! 🙂
Don’t get too excited by that phrase – it’s never presented as an impossibility, just an unknown element as each possible source of the poison is dismissed. And I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it before…
Hey, I’ll settle for a howdunit.
“And I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it before…”
Yes, it is used in an Agatha Christie novel.
[…] The Ladies Of Locksley by Francis Vivian – a well-written Golden Age detective novel, not as strong as The Singing Masons though. […]
[…] which feature Inspector Knollis. Those ten, as I mentioned when I reviewed The Singing Masons and The Ladies Of Locksley, have recently been re-released by the good folks at Dean Street Press. Vivian is an author who I […]