Suicide Excepted (1939) by Cyril Hare

At Pendlebury Hall, a fairly downbeat hotel, there is for once some mild excitement when Leonard Dickinson, a rather tiresome individual who poured his miseries into the ear of Inspector Mallett, commits suicide. It’s an open and shut case, no real reason to suspect anything else.

But when Anne and Stephen, Leonard’s children, return home, they are less than convinced that their father would commit suicide. And there’s the small matter of the legal situation. They stand to inherit his entire estate… provided he was murdered. So they set out to find the truth.

At this point in the year, I’m racing around finding the last few books to tick of my scorecard for Bev’s Challenge. One of the categories I was struggling to fill was “Has won a prize.” There simply weren’t many prizes knocking around in the Golden Age, but Kate, my fellow blogger at Cross Examining Crime awards a book of the month, and this was one such recipient. So I thought, Kate likes it, must be good…

You can guess what’s coming can’t you?

I didn’t get on with this one at all. The writing is pleasant and enjoyable but most of the middle section bored me. There’s some amazingly clumsy misdirection at the end (the bit in the car) and as a whole, this didn’t work for me.

I’m not going to say much more, as I read this while being juggling a bucketload of work tasks and other things, so I really wasn’t in the best frame of mind when reading it. Reading it in dribs and drabs when I had the chance really didn’t help matters. Who knows, I might have liked it more on another day. But that bit in the car is rubbish… Tell you what, go and read Kate’s review instead…

Just The Facts, Ma’am: WHY – Won an award


  1. I enjoyed this – I think it’s the best of the books featuring only Mallett – but I agree thar the car scene is pretty implausible. It’s redeemed by the very ending, though.


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