this is the 143rd in my series of forgotten or seldom read books
I’ve got two books this week, both by a lesser known British golden age author, John Bude, the pseudonym of Ernest Elmore, both first published in 1935.
The Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude, orig. 1935, this edition The British Library, 2014 paperback. – mystery.
The Lake District Murder by John Bude, orig 1935, this edition The British Library, 2014 paperback. – mystery.
First let me give a nod to John Norris and his excellent blog. His review of The Cornish Coast Murder is what brought me to these books. His fine review is to be found HERE. Please go read it before continuing here, it’ll be well worth your while. Then please come back for the rest of this post.
Now that you have, hopefully, read John’s excellent review, I’ll add my comments.
The Cornish Coast Murder, as a standalone, features a cast seen in this book only. Here we have a local Magistrate, respected if not liked, who, while gazing from his study is fatally shot in the head. The usual questions of how, who, why must be answered, and the police and the local Vicar (an engaging character) both attempt to do so. The setting is well described by the author, giving me a good picture of the landscape; a picture, by the way, nothing like the book’s cover.
I thought I’d got the solution by the one-third point in the book, but we all know that never works out because the author always seems to have a late twist in store. This time my theory, which I believe would have worked, was put to shreds.
Though there may have been a few more pages of figuring out who was where at exactly what time than absolutely necessary, and a bit of extra drama, as far as I know everything in the book is in line with reader expectations of the time. An entertaining novel, which may have come into my hands at just the right time as it fit right in with my mood.
Having enjoyed The Cornish Coast Murder, I charged straight on to Bude’s second book, The Lake District Murder. Bude didn’t seem to require or want a second murder in these books to confuse things, apparently, as the occurrence and the solving of one murder takes the length of each novel. In this one, the victim is a local garage / petrol station owner. The victim’s partner in the garage has a solid alibi, as does everyone else who was in the area at the time. This book introduces Inspector Meredith, who will soldier on through many more books, as we are told in the fine introduction by Martin Edwards. [note: only these two Bude books are in print at this time, but one hopes The British Library may bring additional ones to press at some future date.]
The death is made to look like a suicide, but there are a couple of clues pointing to murder. While Meredith has the sometimes irritating habit of leaping to convenient solutions, sometimes correctly, other times far from the facts, he does come up with good ideas. These often lead to further questions and the chain finally to the solution. Meredith states that this is his first single-handed murder investigation, so some things can be forgiven, and in the end all is nicely wrapped up in this entertaining novel. If you’re looking for some golden age mystery reading to start your Spring / Summer reading, these may be just the ticket.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
More Friday Forgotten Book posts
can be found at Patti Abbott’s fine blog Pattinase