Death Of Jezebel and more from the British Library

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…

Death of Jezebel by Christianna Brand

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.

The Seat Of The Scornful by John Dickson Carr

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…

Green For Danger by Christianna Brand

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…

Till Death Do Us Part by John Dickson Carr

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.

Checkmate To Murder by E C R Lorac

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.

Murder In The Mill-Race by E C R Lorac

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:

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?

4 comments

  1. I am so pleased to see this re-issued. My copy arrives on Saturday (in fact I bought two). One is to give to a friend, who always is asking me why I am so taken with GAD. I will ask her to read this as one of the GAD classics to see if I can hook her onto the genre. Is it perfect, perhaps not, But I have yet to read a perfect GAD novel yet (I continue to search). Christie’s ATTWN comes close and was the book as a teenager that started my love for the golden age.

    Whilst I have a hardback with dust jack in very good condition for which I spent too much, it has been a prized possession. Nevertheless, I happily will re-read this one and I love the BLCC choice of cover for DoJ.

    As your post shows, the British Library really have upped their crime classics range with some of the best classics available from Carr and Brand. I look forward to see what other classics they re-issue in the future.

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  2. Thrilled to see these releases too! I bought a copy of Death of Jezebel a year or so ago. I paid too much money for it and I think someone must have used it as an ashtray. Still, I read it, and the book was good. So happy that the title is properly available to everyone.

    Are the ebook rights still owned by Mysterious Press, perhaps? Annoying if Jezebel is still not available in ebook in the UK, since that title is apparently only available as an ebook in the US or something.

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    • Worry not ! As of today …12 Aug .. this book is available as an e.book in the UK. The first 20% is fantastic and I will do a review fairly soon. There have been issues with this author though with regard to e books. Let’s hope a big success will dispel those problems for the future.

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