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Two classic mysteries featuring Detective Inspector Littlejohn
September 25, 2017
The Dead Shall be Raised and The Murder of a Quack A British Library Crime Classic by George Bellairs Poisoned Pen Press Mystery & Thrillers Pub Date 03 Oct 2017
George Bellairs is often forgotten, but his career as a mystery writer was long and moderately successful. Like his lead, Detective Inspector Littlejohn, Bellairs was a man content with his craft with a skill founded on observation of human nature. Detective Inspector Littlejohn does not have the Herculean intellect of Poirot or the deductive capacity of Holmes. Rather, he is moderately intelligent, but amiable and persistent - qualities that serve him well in his investigations. Bellairs has quite a way with words. His descriptions of the various characters and their foibles are charming and often humorous. The characters are often colorful, but are entirely believable.
The Dead Shall Be Raised and The Murder of a Quack are included in this edition by Poisoned Pen Press. The Dead Shall Be Raised concerns the discovery of a skeleton that revives a murder case from two decades previous. Initially the murderer was thought to have fled. Now it appears that the main suspect was dead all along. Detective Inspector Littlejohn, who is visiting the area, volunteers his assistance. When a potential witness is murdered after announcing his good fortune, it becomes clear that the murderer is still very much alive and determined to preserve his secret. The second novel The Murder of a Quack is a charming village mystery. Littlejohn is called in by the local constabulary to discover who murdered Nathaniel Wall, the local bonesetter. The man was well liked, known for his skill in treating ailments, but despite his lack of enemies, someone was angry enough to strangle him. Littlejohn quickly finds himself on the trail of a skilled chemist and forger.
It’s easy to guess the malefactor in both novels, but that didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the novels. Both The Dead Shall be Raised and The Murder of a Quack are solid, well written procedurals from the 1940s. Both have aged well and make for a pleasant escape from the everyday.
4 / 5
I received a copy of The Dead Shall be Raised and The Murder of a Quack from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
With an Introduction by Martin Edwards
Two classic cases featuring Detective Inspector Littlejohn.
In the winter of 1940, the Home Guard unearth a skeleton on the moor above the busy town of Hatterworth. Twenty-three years earlier, the body of a young textile worker was found in the same spot, and the prime suspect was never found—but the second body is now identified as his. Soon it becomes clear that the true murderer is still at large...
* * *
Nathaniel Wall, the local quack doctor, is found hanging in his consulting room in the Norfolk village of Stalden—but this was not a suicide. Against the backdrop of a close-knit country village, an intriguing story of ambition, blackmail, fraud, false alibis and botanical trickery unravels.