Well, wouldn’t you know it, there I was getting on with some work for the next school year – always a thrill to be working on lesson plans when the temperature is making the thermometer melt – and the nice postman distracts me by delivering the latest of the British Library Crime Classics range. It’s not one that I’m going to review immediately as a) I read it about a year ago and wrote a review then and b) it’s getting a re-read in a couple of months for my book group, so I’ll re-review it then. But it’s important that people know this classic is out there in the wild, so I thought I’d pull together some reviews of this and others in the Crime Classics range with a few thoughts.
Oh, the book? In the UK, this has been all but unobtainable for years – I’ve never seen a copy under £100 in any condition. Finally I weakened and went to the Bodleian and read their copy (which didn’t have a map). What is it? Well it’s Death Of Jezebel by Christianna Brand, obviously…
I don’t think trying to read three books in one day is that smart an idea – you don’t get the chance to sit back and think about a mystery if you’re trying to make sure you reach certain points by certain times. I enjoyed this and can see why it’s a classic, but came away with a mild disappointment that it wasn’t – quite – the best thing ever. But I wasn’t reading it under the best conditions and the version in the library didn’t have the plan of the scene of the crime in it. You’ll be pleased to know that this version does, and I’m really looking forward to revisiting this next month – and taking my time, this time.
A somewhat atypical Gideon Fell mystery that is probably one that I most enjoyed when re-reading it and not expecting a locked room or impossibility. A really well-constructed and absorbing mystery. It may have only been picked so that it could be touted as “A Devon Mystery” but sometimes good things happen for the oddest reasons…
I reviewed this one years ago and will get round to re-reading it sooner rather than later, as I can’t remember much about it at all. Apart from being really, really impressed by it…
Carr’s masterpiece, in my opinion (which of course makes it the correct one). A story that keeps you guessing with a smart locked room and a well-hidden killer.
One of a few mysteries to make use of the London Blitz as a backdrop and one of the best. One of my favourite Lorac titles.
Not one of my favourite Lorac mysteries but often touted as one of her best. Who knows, maybe I’m wrong in this case… Of course I’m not, but you’ll probably enjoy it anyway.
There are a bunch of other Crime Classics reviews on my blog if you hunt around. Highlights of those include:
- The Woman In The Wardrobe by Peter Schaffer
- Two-Way Death by E C R Lorac
- Death Of Anton by Alan Melville
- Verdict Of Twelve by Raymond Postgate
- Mystery In The Channel by Freeman Wills Crofts
- Death Makes A Prophet by John Bude (not on the BL website for some reason)
NB: It’s been brought to my attention that the Christianna Brand books aren’t available as ebooks for some reason. I presume this is a rights issue, but if anyone can shed some light on this?