Death of a Busybody – George Bellairs – A British Library Crime Classic

The series of British Library Crime Classics continues to grow; I am thinking of starting a new shelf on my bookcase! This addition to the group introduces a new detective, Inspector Littlejohn, and I think he is a worthy addition, especially if you like your detectives to take second place to the mystery as opposed to dictating it. For those who like real characters, fear not; there are characters aplenty here. My favourite, apart from the bewildered Vicar of course, is Gormley, the fed up gardener and clearer of cess pits. He becomes most militant with fearful consequences  as a result of sheer grumpiness. Miss Tither’s most unsettling end comes at the start of a series of events which unspool across the village as her activities become known to Littlejohn. Red herrings, dark deeds and clues emerge which both divert and entertain the Reader, as truly no character (apart from Littlejohn!) seems above suspicion.   I really liked the Reverend Claplady, who sneaks off with an apple tart from his own pantry and After taking a large bite, he placed the rest carefully on his blotting pad for further attention later…   

As always, it is really difficult to effectively talk about a murder mystery without the dreaded spoilers. I can assert though that there are many memorable characters in this book and the plot takes some violent turns. Do watch out for the ambitious Constable Harriwinckle, whose prodigious appetite does not block his understanding or speed when ‘evidenks’ (evidence) emerges at the last.

Inspector Littlejohn is noted for his “understanding of country ways”. A chat with a bookseller recently suggest that there are more George Bellairs/ Inspector Littlejohn books to come in this series, and I look forward to them.

Image result for Death of a Busybody

In other news, why is it so difficult to actually finish a book? As usual, I have several ‘on the go’ but have yet to actually finish them. Maybe it’s the hundreds of Christmas cards that needed to go out extra early to confirm our new address, or the choir practices that go with being a member of three choirs in the run up to Christmas? Either way, I am valiantly trying…

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