Recently I’ve been reading some Golden Age detective stories, and as I don’t have a lot to say on them, I thought I’d group them into one review.
Police at the Funeral, by Margery Allingham
The tranquility of Cambridge is punctured when Cousin Andrew of the illustrious Faraday family disappears without a trace. No time is wasted in summoning Albert Campion and his sleuthing skills away from the bustle of Piccadilly to investigate – but little does he expect to be greeted by a band of eccentric relatives all at daggers with each other.
Soon there are as many dead bodies as there are red herrings, and Campion must uncover the secrets of the Faraday dynasty before another victim falls…
This was my first time reading this author, and it won’t be the last. I thought the plot – centred around a dysfunctional family in Cambridge – was very clever. I also eventually quite liked the central character of Campion, although I was irritated by him at first. This was from my TBR and also from Lynne at Fictionophile‘s challenge (title contains an occupation), and I gave it 4*.
N or M? by Agatha Christie
Set during the dark days of World War II, Agatha Christie’s N or M? puts two most unlikely espionage agents, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, on the trail of a pair of Nazi spies who have murdered Britain’s top agent.
World War II is raging, and while the RAF struggles to keep the Luftwaffe at bay, Britain faces a sinister threat from “the enemy within”—Nazis posing as ordinary citizens.
With pressure mounting, the intelligence service appoints two improbable spies, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford. Their mission: to seek out a man and a woman from among the colourful guests at Sans Souci, a seaside hotel. But this assignment is far from an easy stroll along the promenade—N and M have just murdered Britain’s finest agent and no one can be trusted.
I went into this book not expecting much, as last year I read the first in the Tommy and Tuppence series and gave it a 3*. But I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I had no clue who the spies were or who could be trusted. I actually liked both the characters of Tommy and Tuppence too. It was a nice surprise, and I read it in 2 sittings, giving it a full 5*! This was also from my TBR.
Inspector French’s Greatest Case, by Freeman Wills Crofts
From the Collins Crime Club archive, the first Inspector French novel by Freeman Wills Crofts, once dubbed ‘The King of Detective Story Writers’.
THE FIRST INSPECTOR FRENCH MYSTERY
At the offices of the Hatton Garden diamond merchant Duke and Peabody, the body of old Mr Gething is discovered beside a now-empty safe. With multiple suspects, the robbery and murder is clearly the work of a master criminal, and requires a master detective to solve it. Meticulous as ever, Inspector Joseph French of Scotland Yard embarks on an investigation that takes him from the streets of London to Holland, France and Spain, and finally to a ship bound for South America . . .
This is another author I have not read previously, and look forward to reading again. I really enjoyed the plot of this one – it was a fantastic adventure with lots of twists, turns and red herrings. I really liked the character of Inspector French as well. This book was loaned to me by my in-laws, and I gave it 4*.