Posted by theclajw

The Body in the Silo by Ronald Knox (1933)

As well as formulating the Ten Commandments of Detective Fiction or Decalogue, the Catholic priest and theologian Ronald Knox wrote six detective stories of which this is the fourth. All but the first feature Miles Bredon, an investigator for the Indescribable Insurance Company. The novel opens with Miles and his wife Angela discussing an invitation … Continue reading

The Uninvited by Dorothy Macardle (1942)

This novel was initially published as Uneasy Freehold. In 1944 it was made into a film titled The Uninvited and starring Ray Milland. At the beginning of the novel Roddy Fitzgerald and his sister, Pamela, tired of London life, are driving through Devon looking for a house to buy. They come upon Cliff End by … Continue reading

Death Goes on Skis by Nancy Spain (1949)

The writer, journalist and broadcaster, Nancy Spain, published several comic detective stories between 1945 and 1952, of which this is the fourth. It features her two recurring, (extremely) amateur detectives, Natasha Nevkorina, a Russian ex-ballet dancer, and Miriam Birdseye, a revue artist soon to star in a show called Absolutely the End.  Natasha is lovely … Continue reading

The Odyssey of Euphemia Tracy by Richmal Crompton (1932)

Euphemia is by no means a conventional romantic heroine. She is a ‘large, heavy-featured young woman’, ungainly and dressed in badly-fitting clothes which she makes herself. The novel opens on her fortieth birthday, in the cottage where she has spent her youth caring for her bedridden father, a bully who hates her because she remains … Continue reading

Four-Part Setting by Ann Bridge (1939)

This novel is set in China in the late 1920s and has a plot similar to that of Ann Bridge’s first novel, Peking Picnic. A small group from the European colony in Peking take a trip into the interior. They face various adversities: someone falls ill; gangs of soldier-bandits terrorize the countryside; allegiances within the … Continue reading

Delia Blanchflower by Mrs Humphry Ward (1915)

Mary Ward was a bestselling novelist of the late Victorian period, but was regarded as a little old fashioned by the time this novel was written. She was also a notable public figure, campaigning tirelessly for education for women (including the founding of Somerville College, Oxford) and education for children, especially those with disabilities.  Nevertheless, … Continue reading

Woodsmoke by Francis Brett Young (1924)

Woodsmoke, Young’s tenth novel, is set in East Africa, where he served during the First World War. The prologue and epilogue are set then while the main story takes place a few years earlier. In the prologue an unnamed narrator meets Captain Antrim. Near their camp two skeletons are found in an old game pit, … Continue reading

Uninvited Guests by Parr Cooper (1946)

This interesting novel is set around 1943/44 in a small settlement in rural India, which is dominated by an Army training camp. The soldiers, commanded by Colonel Davis, are awaiting orders to go overseas to fight, probably  in Burma. Apart from a number of officers and their families, the main characters are Dr Taussig, a … Continue reading

Tadpole Hall by Helen Ashton (1941)

This is a war novel which focuses on the home front rather than on active service. It is 1939 and the village of Lambscot is facing the threat and then the certainty of war. At the centre of the novel is Colonel Heron, a widower who lost an arm in the First World War and … Continue reading