The Case Of The Haven Hotel (1948) by Christopher Bush

It was Murder Eve, and I was the last person in Sandbeach to suspect it.

Ludovic Travers is in need of a break, so he books a week in the Haven Hotel for himself and, as his wife is away, his good friend Superintendent George Wharton. Wharton finds himself tied up with work – pesky criminals – so starts the vacation without him. Relaxing, he socialises with his fellow guests, among them a peculiar vicar, an attractive woman, an unpublished author and an ex-Army Major who seems to be able to get his hands on things that he shouldn’t, given the rationing in place.

Soon, a death occurs – but is it murder? With no body and all indications of an accident, Travers finds himself conducting his own investigation. But it takes an attempt on Travers’ own life before it becomes clear that a ruthless murderer is on the prowl…

Time for the usual bit, praising Dean St Press and Curtis Evans for reprinting the Ludovic Travers mysteries. Well done, chaps, as I probably would never have stumbled across these. I’d read one Bush before these reprints started and I wasn’t that enthralled by it, but I’m certainly a fan now. Dean St Press are reissuing them faster than I can read them – this is part of the fourth tranche of releases, books 31 to 40, released on May 5, 2019, with 23 more to come in the future – and at the halfway point in the Bush canon, there is no perceived drop in quality in my eyes.

I’ve already reviewed Book 35, The Case Of The Seven Bells, as I have my own copy of it, and this is book 33. It certainly passes my first test for a classic crime novel. In the sort of book where you have no idea who is going to be murdered, how interesting is the pre-murder section of the book? It can sometimes drag, but I found Travers to be engaging company, with his little observations and suspicions, mostly about black market stockings and such. The pace of the tale is broken up well with suspicious death, attempt on Travers’ life, a second death and some non-murder revelations keeping things moving well.

At the end of the day, the killer is probably guessable, although partly as there aren’t that many suspects, but Bush wisely keeps enough surprises in the tale to keep the reveal satisfying. This is another entertainingly clever mystery in a series that continues to be a source of constant enjoyment for me and it’s well worth your time.

Availability: Well, you’ve a couple of weeks at time of writing to wait, but it, and all of the books from The Case Of The Second Chance to The Case Of The Happy Medium will be out as ebook and in paperback on 6th May 2019

Just The Facts, Ma’am: WHEN: During a trip/vacation

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