Crime de Luxe (Gill)

  • By Elizabeth Gill
  • First published: UK, 1933

This is the kind of elegant, clever detective story that Hogarth would have reprinted back in the ’80s, in those large purple-spined paperbacks with introductions by Patricia Craig and Mary Cadogan.

(You remember; Gladys Mitchell’s Saltmarsh Murders, When Last I Died, and Laurels are Poison; Romilly and Katherine John’s Death by Request; Anthony Berkeley’s Dead Mrs. Stratton; Nicholas Blake’s Smiler with the Knife…)

Gill’s artist sleuth Benvenuto Brown is travelling to New York by ship when an inoffensive spinster falls overboard.  There are some fine descriptive passages, observations of people, and discussions of politics and time.

It’s light as a detective story, but Gill passes suspicion neatly around – and knows how the experienced reader thinks.  (Brown outlined the case against my suspect in Ch. XXIV.)  In hindsight, the truth is obvious; it all fits neatly together, and we feel we ought to have known!