The Cheltenham Square Murder – John Bude


Guess where I went yesterday?

The British Library!

Now that we live in the Midlands rather than “Up North” going to London for the day is more of a practical proposition. Northernvicar had also spotted that the “Shakespeare in Ten Acts”

Exhibition was about to finish so if we were going to see it, we could get on a train at a civilised hour and manage a visit yesterday.  I like going to the British Library, as it’s next to the right railway stations, and even you have no reader pass as a researcher you can still see some interesting exhibitions.

This is a great one to see. In ten sections it looks at various aspects of Shakespeare and his plays, including some films of amazing productions. We really enjoyed it, and looking at two copies of the First Folio was a treat. They also had a piece about women playing male roles, including Maxine Peake’s Hamlet which is available on DVD…

Many of you know that I have been collecting and reading the British Library Crime Classic series, which is a selection of mainly Golden Age murder mysteries reprinted in a very readable format. The latest in the series is the Cheltenham Square Murder, by one of the favourites in this series, John Bude. I got a copy in Lincoln Waterstones, but the British Library in their shop and online, are selling copies for £5. It is worth getting!

For those who have read any of John Bude’s books, probably in this series, this is a worthy episode. He is good at place, and creating a limited number of suspects that makes it possible for the reader to develop her or his own theories about whodunit, and how…

This novel works well as the detective is a recurring character, whose personality does not get in the way of detection. Having said that Long, the actual policeman on site is irritating with his supposed accent. This is still a well plotted story of an unusual murder which can only have been  committed by a certain number of suspects in a confined area of Cheltenham. Actual bows and arrows are involved, as well as angles and checking up on some dubious characters. There are some wonderful creations here, notably a dog obsessed lady who scares off policemen, as well as stock characters that normally populate the villages of Christie and others. I had spotted a significant aspect of the murder before the story gets there, which is always satisfying. I enjoyed this mini saga of 1930s life. Bude writes

“Thus the inhabitants of Regency Square – diverse, yet as a community, typical; outwardly harmonious, yet privately at loggerheads; temperamentally and intellectually dissimilar, yet all of  them chiselling away at the same hard block of granite which, for want of a better word, we call life.

It’s nice to know that someone else could construct a sentence with even more clauses than I average!

This is a slow burning success of a novel, far from a thriller but a good read nevertheless. Worth seeing if you can track it down, especially at £5!

One thought on “The Cheltenham Square Murder – John Bude

  1. Hello Julie, hope you are both settling in to your new home! Good to hear about your trip to the amazing British Library. Your recent posts arrived when we were on holiday in the US with limited internet access so have got them to catch up on now, which I’m looking forward to doing. While everyone else watched films I did some reading on the plane – ideal for getting through a whole book, and something heavier than I usually manage! x

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