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The Incredible Crime

The Incredible Crime

A British Library Crime Classic

by Lois Austen-Leigh

Poisoned Pen Press

Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date 04 July 2017


The Incredible Crime was the first of Poisoned Pen Press's British Library Crime Classic that disappointed me. My decision wasn’t influenced by comparing Lois Austen-Leigh to her illustrious relative. Instead it was the convoluted path the mystery took in combination with the bizarre insta-love that the heroine falls into with the Professor (once he has a haircut and gets his teeth fixed), that turned me off.

The novel was technically well written, but shallow. Prudence starts out as unconventional and strong-willed, but when faced with a man she suddenly melts and is willing to be subject to his command. Admittedly, it is in keeping with the mores of the times, but it didn't appeal to me. Prudence is also remarkably shortsighted and slightly dim compared to the male characters. Other writers of the time produced stronger, more formidable and intelligent heroines. The Incredible Crime was not a horrible novel, but it didn't appeal to me as a woman or a mystery lover. Unlike many British Library Crime Classics, The Incredible Crime did not age well.

3 / 5

I received a copy of The Incredible Crime from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



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.

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