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The Death of a Busy Body, George Bellairs.

April 28, 2017

The Death of a Busy Body, George Bellairs.  Poisoned Pen Press, 2017. (First published 1943).   Forthcoming, September 2017.  British Library Crime Classics series.

 3 stars

The reprint of an amusing village mystery from the golden age of British mystery writing.

George Bellairs was the pseudonym of Harold Blundell (1902-1985), a successful banker who wrote mysteries as hobby for almost 40 years.  Almost all his books, including this one, feature the Scotland Yards detective, Thomas Littlejohn.

The Death of a Busy Body is set in small archetypal English village and is complete with its cast of village characters.  The “busybody” who is killed was an obnoxious woman who had made enemies of  the other villagers spying on them and trying to run their lives.  Inspector Littlejohn comes from London to sort out the tangle of clues surrounding her murder.  In the process he learns what really goes on in an innocent-looking village.

Like other books in this genre, the setting and characters are more important than the actual crime.  The villagers are presented as exotic and sometimes humorous.  The lower class individuals are set apart from the more respectable residents by the dialect with which they speak. The book was written and published during World War II, and contains references to daily life in wartime.

All is in great fun, if not great literature.  This book will be of interest primarily to those who enjoy the genre.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 28, 2017 6:54 pm

    I am seduced by the cover. I want that picture hanging on my wall!

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