The Mystery of the Peacock’s Eye (Brian Flynn)

By Brian FlynnFirst published: UK, 1928. Available from Dean Street Press This may well be the most popular detective fiction release of the week. The Puzzle Doctor has prescribed a course of Brian Flynn, now available from Dean Street Press; half the criminous blogosphere has read it; and the verdict has been unanimously in favour. … Continue reading The Mystery of the Peacock’s Eye (Brian Flynn)

The Case of the Three-Ring Puzzle (Christopher Bush)

By Christopher BushFirst published: UK: Macdonald, 1962; US: Macmillan, 1963 Labelled "a Ludovic Travers Mystery Novel", this has no mystery, no puzzle plot, and no real reason to exist. Travers ties together three seemingly unrelated cases.  Prelude: A photographer thinks his aunt is being swindled.  Five years later, an American impostor hires Travers to find … Continue reading The Case of the Three-Ring Puzzle (Christopher Bush)

Omit Flowers (Stuart Palmer)

By Stuart Palmer First published: US, Doubleday, 1937.  UK, Collins, 1937, as No Flowers by Request. Kudos to Palmer for trying something new, even if it doesn't quite work. No Hildegarde Withers here;  it's one of those atmospheric jobs seen from the suspects' perspective. Grasping relatives descend on elderly eccentric Uncle Joel; he (apparently?) goes up … Continue reading Omit Flowers (Stuart Palmer)

The Man in the Moonlight (Helen McCloy)

By Helen McCloy First published: USA, Morrow Mystery, 1940 The Americans wrote better detective stories than anyone. [Discuss.  Argue.  Argue furiously.] Here's a good example why. "It was only when Lambert lifted his eyes from the decapitated mouse in his hand that Basil knew something was wrong." Murder interrupts a psychological experiment at Yorkville University. … Continue reading The Man in the Moonlight (Helen McCloy)

L’Arbre aux doigts tordus / The Vampire Tree (Paul Halter)

By Paul Halter First published: Masque, France, 1996.  Translation: Locked Room International, 2016, as The Vampire Tree A small English village.  Witches!  Dead children! Hang on - haven't I just read this? Newlywed Patricia Sheridan moves to the Suffolk village of Lightwood.  Ironically, she's frightened of bright lights, and of trees.  Or one tree in particular... … Continue reading L’Arbre aux doigts tordus / The Vampire Tree (Paul Halter)

The Upfold Witch (Josephine Bell)

By Josephine Bell First published: UK, Hodder & Stoughton, 1956 Another of Josephine Bell's competent, rather dull mysteries, aimed at an undemanding, middle-class, middle-aged, middle-brow, middle England readership. Prologue: Farmer George Cutfield and butcher Paisley watch young author Julian Farnham carry beautiful young Celia Wainwright into her house. When he's gone, they find her dead … Continue reading The Upfold Witch (Josephine Bell)

Crime in Kensington (C. St. John Sprigg)

By C. St. John Sprigg First published: UK, Eldon, 1933; US, McVeagh / Dial Press, 1933, as Pass the Body With much murmuring and personal comment the crowd made way for her, until some blithe spirit at the back called out to her in fruity cockney, "Hi, miss, are you carrying away the body in that there … Continue reading Crime in Kensington (C. St. John Sprigg)