Here’s another volume in the British Library Crime Classics series. This time the stories have been chosen because they’re set in country houses, a classic mystery genre. The authors are not forgotten or neglected; the very first story in the book is Conan Doyle’s The Copper Beeches, which must be very well known indeed.
I particularly liked The Mystery of Horne’s Copse by Anthony Berkeley, which was truly baffling. Then there’s a very amusing, tongue in cheek story by E V Knox, The Murder at the Towers. Here’s a flavour of it:
The gathering consisted, as the inspector had foreseen, of the usual types involved in a country house murder, namely, a frightened stepsister of the deceased, a young and beautiful niece, a major, a doctor, a chaperon, a friend, Mr. Porlock himself, an old butler with a beard, a middle-aged gardener with whiskers, an Irish cook, and two servants who had only come to the place the week before.
But whenever Scotland Yard was unable to deal with a murder case—that is to say, whenever a murder case happened at a country house—Bletherby Marge was called in.
Bletherby Marge, indeed!
For me, the most frightening story is An Unlocked Window. It’s by that interesting writer Ethel Lina White, author of The Wheel Spins, which Alfred Hitchcock filmed as The Lady Vanishes. Two nurses alone with their patient in an isolated house, with a murderer on the loose, an atmosphere of fear and terror and a great twist.
I read this courtesy of NetGalley and enjoyed it very much.
Edit: oops, I've only just noticed it's not out until February. Something to look forward to.