WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY MARTIN EDWARDS 'Adrian Gray was born in May 1862 and met his death through violence, at the hands of one of his own children, at Christmas, 1931.' Thus begins a classic crime novel published in 1933 that has been too long neglected - until now. It is a riveting portrait of the psychology of a murderer. Each December, Adrian Gray invites his extended family to stay at his lonely house, Kings Poplars. None of Gray's six surviving children is fond of him; several have cause to wish him dead. The family gathers on Christmas Eve - and by the following morning, their wish has been granted. This fascinating and unusual novel tells the story of what happened that dark Christmas night; and what the murderer did next.
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY MARTIN EDWARDS Bruce Attleton dazzled London's literary scene with his first two novels – but his early promise did not bear fruit. His wife Sybilla is a glittering actress, unforgiving of Bruce's failure, and the couple lead separate lives in their house at Regent's Park. When Bruce is called away on a sudden trip to Paris, he vanishes completely – until his suitcase and passport are found in a sinister artist's studio, the Belfry, in a crumbling house in Notting Hill. Inspector Macdonald must uncover Bruce's secrets, and find out the identity of his mysterious blackmailer. This intricate mystery from a classic writer is set in a superbly evoked London of the 1930s.
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY MARTIN EDWARDS Ted Lyte, amateur thief, has chosen an isolated house by the coast for his first robbery. But Haven House is no ordinary country home. While hunting for silverware to steal, Ted stumbles upon a locked room containing seven dead bodies. Detective Inspector Kendall takes on the case with the help of passing yachtsman Thomas Hazeldean. The search for the house's absent owners brings Hazeldean across the Channel to Boulogne, where he finds more than one motive to stay and investigate. Seven Dead is an atmospheric crime novel first published in 1939.
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY MARTIN EDWARDS "Never had I been given a tougher problem to solve, and never had I been so utterly at my wits' end for a solution." A signalman is found dead by a railway tunnel. A man identifies his wife as a victim of murder on the underground. Two passengers mysteriously disappear between stations, leaving behind a dead body. Trains have been a favourite setting of many crime writers, providing the mobile equivalent of the "locked-room" scenario. Their enclosed carriages with a limited number of suspects lend themselves to seemingly impossible crimes. In an era of cancellations and delays, alibis reliant upon a timely train service no longer ring true, yet the railway detective has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in the twenty-first century. Both train buffs and crime fans will delight in this selection of fifteen railway-themed mysteries, featuring some of the most popular authors of their day alongside less familiar names. This is a collection to beguile even the most wearisome commuter.
2018 Macavity Award nominee for Best Nonfiction 2018 Anthony Award nominee for Best Critical/Nonfiction Book This book tells the story of crime fiction published during the first half of the twentieth century. The diversity of this much-loved genre is breathtaking, and so much greater than many critics have suggested. To illustrate this, the leading expert on classic crime discusses one hundred books ranging from The Hound of the Baskervilles to Strangers on a Train which highlight the entertaining plots, the literary achievements, and the social significance of vintage crime fiction. This book serves as a companion to the acclaimed British Library Crime Classics series but it tells a very diverse story. It presents the development of crime fiction-from Sherlock Holmes to the end of the golden age-in an accessible, informative and engaging style. Readers who enjoy classic crime will make fascinating discoveries and learn about forgotten gems as well as bestselling authors. Even the most widely read connoisseurs will find books (and trivia) with which they are unfamiliar-as well as unexpected choices to debate. Classic crime is a richly varied and deeply pleasurable genre that is enjoying a world-wide renaissance as dozens of neglected novels and stories are resurrected for modern readers to enjoy. The overriding aim of this book is to provide a launch point that enables readers to embark on their own voyages of discovery.
"This detective novel is much more than interesting. The numerous characters are well differentiated, and include one of the most feckless, exasperating and lifelike literary men that ever confused a trail." -Dorothy L. Sayers, Sunday Times, 1934. When Miss Pongleton is found murdered on the stairs of Belsize Park station, her fellow-boarders in the Frampton Hotel are not overwhelmed with grief at the death of a tiresome old woman. But they all have their theories about the identity of the murderer, and help to unravel the mystery of who killed the wealthy ‘Pongle’. Several of her fellow residents – even Tuppy the terrier – have a part to play in the events that lead to a dramatic arrest. This classic mystery novel is set in and around the Northern Line of the London Underground. It is now republished for the first time since the 1930s and includes an introduction by Stephen Booth, award-winning crime writer.
Prince’s College, Cambridge, is a peaceful and scholarly community, enlivened by Prudence Pinsent, the Master’s daughter. Spirited, beautiful, and thoroughly unconventional, Prudence is a remarkable young woman. One fine morning she sets out for Suffolk to join her cousin Lord Wellende for a few days’ hunting. On the way Prudence encounters Captain Studde of the coastguard – who is pursuing a quarry of his own. Studde is on the trail of a drug smuggling ring that connects Wellende Hall with the cloistered world of Cambridge. It falls to Prudence to unravel the identity of the smugglers – who may be forced to kill, to protect their secret. This witty and entertaining crime novel has not been republished since the 1930s. This new edition includes an introduction by Kirsten T. Saxton, professor of English at Mills College, California.
Miss Tither, the village busybody, is not the best-loved resident of Hilary Magna. She has made many enemies: bombarding the villagers with religious tracts, berating drunkards, and informing the spouses of cheating partners. Her murder, however, is still a huge shock to the Reverend Ethelred Claplady and his parish. Inspector Littlejohn's understanding of country ways makes him Scotland Yard's first choice for the job. Basing himself at the village inn, Littlejohn works with the local police to investigate what lay behind the murder. A second death does little to settle the collective nerves of the village, and as events escalate, a strange tale of hidden identities, repressed resentment, religious fervour and financial scams is uncovered. Life in the picturesque village of Hilary Magna proves to be very far from idyllic.
On a dark November evening, Sir Wilfred Saxonby is travelling alone in the 5 o’clock train from Cannon Street, in a locked compartment. The train slows and stops inside a tunnel; and by the time it emerges again minutes later, Sir Wilfred has been shot dead, his heart pierced by a single bullet. Suicide seems to be the answer, even though no reason can be found. Inspector Arnold of Scotland Yard thinks again when he learns that a mysterious red light in the tunnel caused the train to slow down. Finding himself stumped by the puzzle, Arnold consults his friend Desmond Merrion, a wealthy amateur expert in criminology. To Merrion it seems that the dead man fell victim to a complex conspiracy—but the investigators are puzzled about the conspirators’ motives, as well as their identities. Can there be a connection with Sir Wilfred’s seemingly untroubled family life, his highly successful business, or his high-handed and unforgiving personality? And what is the significance of the wallet found on the corpse, and the bank notes that it contained?
The Chichester is making a routine journey across the English Channel on a pleasant afternoon in June, when the steamer’s crew notice something strange. A yacht, bobbing about in the water ahead of them, appears to have been abandoned, and there is a dark red stain on the deck... Two bodies later, with no sign of a gun, there certainly is a mystery in the channel. Inspector French soon discovers a world of high-powered banking, luxury yachts and international double-dealing. British and French coastal towns, harbours – and of course the Channel itself – provide an alluring backdrop to this nautical adventure, along with a cast of shady characters.
'No observer, ignorant of the situation, would have guessed that death lurked nearby, and that only a little distance from the glitter of silver and glass and the hum of voices, two victims lay silent on a studio floor.' On a fine autumn weekend Lord Aveling hosts a hunting party at his country house, Bragley Court. Among the guests are an actress, a journalist, an artist and a mystery novelist. The unlucky thirteenth is John Foss, injured at the local train station and brought to the house to recuperate - but John is nursing a secret of his own. Soon events take a sinister turn when a painting is mutilated, a dog stabbed, and a man strangled. Death strikes more than one of the house guests, and the police are called. Detective Inspector Kendall's skills are tested to the utmost as he tries to uncover the hidden past of everyone at Bragley Court. This country-house mystery is a forgotten classic of 1930s crime fiction by one of the most undeservedly neglected of golden age detective novelists.
Duchlan Castle is a gloomy, forbidding place in the Scottish Highlands. Late one night, the body of the laird's sister is found in the castle. She has been stabbed to death in her bedroom - but the room is locked from within and the windows are barred. Inspector Dundas is dispatched to the case, but he soon has more than one apparently impossible murder to solve. Luckily, help is on hand in the form of gifted amateur sleuth Eustace Hailey. Can he unravel a logical solution to this most fiendish of plots?
In 1864, the British writer James Redding Ware, under the pseudonym Andrew Forrester, published The Female Detective, introducing readers to the first professional female detective character, Mrs. Gladden, and paving the way for the more famous female detectives of the early twentieth century, namely Miss Marple and Nancy Drew. Mrs. Gladden's deductive methods anticipate those of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, who would not appear for another twenty years--and like Holmes, she regards the regular constabulary with disdain. But her energetic and savvy approach to solving crimes is her greatest appeal, and the reappearance of the original lady detective is sure to captivate a new generation of crime fiction fans. In 2012 The Female Detective was made available to the general public for the first time since its original publication; the British Library is now reissuing this foundational crime novel as part of its Crime Classics series.
Three men, three motives, one murder. Who will come out on top? No one ever said murder was easy. Nicholas Latimer considers himself indispensable to advertising agency NeO-aD - unlike his partners Barraclough and Spencer. Sometimes Nicholas thinks it would be better if he was running it by himself. If only some unfortunate accident would befall his colleagues... Paul Spencer has just about had it with Latimer's incompetence and wilful time-wasting. Spencer knows for a fact that he is the cog that keeps NeO-aD rolling and wishes that Barraclough would take a stance and get Latimer out of the way. And Barraclough? He just wants to do his job without the constant bickering of his two insufferable colleagues. When a new client (approached by Latimer, he might add) presents an opportunity for the company to hit it big, Latimer contemplates taking matters into his own hands. He hasn't considered, however, that Spencer and Barraclough might have plans of their own...
‘He could feel it in the blackness, a difference in atmosphere,a sense of evil, of things hidden.’ Amy Snowden, in middle age, has long since settled into a lonely life in the Yorkshire town of Gunnarshaw, until—to her neighbours’ surprise—she suddenly marries a much younger man. Months later, Amy is found dead—apparently by her own hand—and her husband, Wright, has disappeared. Sergeant Caleb Cluff—silent, watchful, a man at home in the bleak moorland landscape of Gunnarshaw—must find the truth about the couple’s unlikely marriage, and solve the riddle of Amy’s death.
'A delight... An amateur sleuth to rival Miss Marple' Guardian (Please note that this book was previously published as Groaning Spinney.) Mrs Bradley, sharp-eyed detective and celebrated psychiatrist, has decided to spend Christmas with her nephew at his beautiful house in the Cotswolds. It isn't long before a mystery unfolds. There are strange events occurring in the nearby wood and local villagers are receiving anonymous threatening letters. Then the snow begins to fall - and a body is discovered. Mrs Bradley is on the case, but she'll have to hatch an ingenious plan to reveal the truth and find the culprit...
'There we were, all gathered together for a Christmas party, and plunged suddenly into gloom.' It's Christmas at Hampstead's Beresford Lodge. A group of relatives and intimate friends gather to celebrate the festive season, but their party is rudely interrupted by a violent death. It isn't long before a second body is discovered. Can the murderer be one of those in the great house? The stockbroker sleuth Malcolm Warren investigates, in this brilliantly witty mystery. 'Kitchin's knowledge of the crevices of human nature lifts his crime fiction out of the category of puzzledom and into the realm of the detective novel. He was, in short, ahead of his day.' H. R. F. Keating