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gertrude

September 2018

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crime

Calamity in Kent, John Rowland



This is the worst book I’ve read in the BLCC series. First published in 1950, it’s a locked room mystery and seems old fashioned even for that time. A man is found murdered in a locked lift (one of those seaside cliff lifts). First on the scene, after the liftman, is Jimmy London, a former Fleet Street journalist recuperating from an operation in the pleasant resort of Broadgate. By happy coincidence, his old acquaintance Inspector Shelley of Scotland Yard is in town and put on the case. What beggars belief is that Shelley would then encourage Jimmy to investigate, putting more trust in him than in the local police. Neither comes over as a pleasant or interesting character.

Forget ‘if you know how, you know who’. The investigation concentrates almost exclusively on the background of the dead man rather than on how he came to be found dead. That’s annoying. The book is also badly written. In the first chapter the word ‘queer’ (as in odd, peculiar), is used repeatedly. Throughout the book Shelley is described as ‘the man from Scotland Yard’ or, as a change, ‘the Scotland Yard man’. It was all rather tedious and I guessed who the murderer was. What a let down. I read it courtesy of NetGalley

Comments

See, now you make me want to read it just to see if it really is that bad.

I've read a few republished books lately, and in several cases I've got to the end and thought, "Well, I'm not surprised it never got reprinted!"
Heh!

On the whole I've enjoyed the Dean Street Press crime reprints more than the BLCC ones. The latter win on covers, though.
I was just about to say that it's a shame the book is so bad because the cover is gorgeous.
All the covers are gorgeous! The books just ask to be taken off the shelf and read.