The Ladies Of Locksley by Francis Vivian

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.


  1. 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! 🙂


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