Bathurst 34 – Exit Sir John (1947) by Brian Flynn

The death of Sir John Wynyard at his stately home on Boxing Day was surely due to natural causes – a heart attack in a man his age must surely be natural. But if that was the case, why was his solicitor and his chauffeur both found dead the next day – both of them clearly murdered? And why did all three bodies have a note on them from the mysterious “Mr Levi” demanding the return of a diamond, a diamond nobody seems to know anything about?

As Scotland Yard arrive, in the form of Inspector MacMorran and Anthony Bathurst (who just seems to automatically tag along at this point), the problem seems to be which way to look. Which of the victims was the prime focus of the murderer? And is their work over, or has it just begun?

Exit, Sir John was one of the Dean Street Press Brian Flynn books re-released this year, and I thought I’d finish up the year by taking another look at it, given that it was one of the earliest Bathurst titles that I read, way back when, and I could barely remember anything about it. OK, I remembered enough of the plot to talk about it in my introduction, but I had genuinely forgotten who the killer was and what exactly they were up to.

It seemed a little slower than I recalled, at least until Bathurst shows up. We do get the company of Helen Repton in one of her earlier appearances, although here she’s here as a civilian and gets much less to do – in fact nothing to do – in her role as a female police officer (one of the earliest in crime fiction).

As I said in my review, it’s a little under-clued but we do get to see Bathurst’s chain of deduction to get to the murderer. Not entirely convinced about one of the murder methods – the second dodgy sporting method in a row since hitting a moving jockey with a dart – but it’s hardly an important part of the plot, despite Flynn cluing it.’

All in all, it was nice to revisit this one. It’s not going to rank with the very best, but an average (to be honest, above-average) outing for Flynn is still streets ahead of some other out-of-print authors (looking at you, Mr Cobb!)

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