Dead Man’s Quarry (Ianthe Jerrold)

By Ianthe Jerrold

First published: UK, Chapman & Hall, 1930

Blurb (Dean Street Press reprint, 2015)

Jerrold - Quarry.jpg“the murderer was also riding a bicycle… why, if we can trace it, we shall have the murderer!”

On a cycling holiday in the idyllic Wales-Herefordshire border countryside, Nora and her friends make a gruesome discovery – the body of their missing comrade at the bottom of a quarry. But an apparently accidental fall turns out to have been murder – for the man was shot in the head.

Fortunately John Christmas, last seen in The Studio Crime (1929), is on hand with his redoubtable forensic assistant, Sydenham Rampson. Between them they shed light on an intricate pattern of crimes… and uncover a most formidable foe.

Dead Man’s Quarry is the second of Ianthe Jerrold’s classic and influential whodunits, originally published in 1930.

This new edition, the first in eighty years, includes an introduction by crime fiction historian Curtis Evans.

Capsule review


I’m in the minority in not loving this book; things weren’t going well at the time, and that probably dampened my enthusiasm.  You can find more positive reviews here, here, here, and here.

One of those terribly British mysteries in which a middle-class family go on a hiking holiday, eat boiled egg sandwiches, and stumble upon a body – rather like Enid Blyton or Gladys Mitchell.  The book turns into a thriller, complete with criminal gangs, shoot-outs, and kidnappings – but, alas, not much excitement.