Over two weeks off between jobs I indulged in some detection from the golden age of British crime fiction – three books recently republished by John Bude. I started with Death on the Riviera and went onto The Sussex Downs Murder, and finished with The Cornish Coast Murder, which seemed appropriate as I spent a week of my break walking the Cornish coastal path. Bude is a writer of traditional whodunnits and anyone who likes Agatha Christie will enjoy these (see my other blogs on crime fiction).
Death on the Riviera was my favourite of the three. It immediately sweeps you away to glorious surroundings and a classic house full of well written characters where something fishy is going on. It’s well plotted, is packed with stunning scenery and involves some ingenious ways of nearly getting away with murder. The Sussex Downs Murder appealed to me as it is set near where I live. It turned out to be a rather complicated tale of the disappearance of one of two farming brothers caught up in a love triangle. There’s a lot of detail and you have to be more on the ball than me to work out how the crime was committed before the solution is revealed, but there is a pleasing amount of hot-footing it over the downs in disguise.
The Cornish Coast Murder was perfect reading having spent my days walking between six and seven hours on the coastal path. Whilst it was set on a different bit of the coast to where I was, it easily evoked the towering cliffs, tiny bays and fishing villages I was walking through. It’s a gentle examination of a murder by the local doctor and vicar, who ponder solutions between theological arguments and get to a solution before the local police do.
These are all very enjoyable reading and I’m very glad the British Library has done all crime fiction fans a favour by republishing these books, which would otherwise have remained lost to a modern audience.