Seven Dead by J. Jefferson-Farjeon

Seven Dead by J. Jefferson Farjeon
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EXCERPT: The woman was in a chair, her head resting against a blue cushion. It would have been easy at first glance to mistake her sex, for she was wearing a man’s clothing — jersey, trousers and heavy boots — while her features, framed in short dark hair, were coarsened by exposure. She might have been attractive once. She was not attractive now. Her unseeing eyes were open. . .

THE BLURB: Ted Lyte, amateur thief, has chosen an isolated house by the coast for his first robbery. But Haven House is no ordinary country home. While hunting for silverware to steal, Ted stumbles upon a locked room containing seven dead bodies. Detective Inspector Kendall takes on the case with the help of passing yachtsman Thomas Hazeldean. The search for the house’s absent owners brings Hazeldean across the Channel to Boulogne, where he finds more than one motive to stay and investigate.

MY THOUGHTS: J. Jefferson-Farjeon is one of my favorite golden age detective story writers. His writing is both atmospheric and compelling, yet at the same time he manages to inject it with an underlying wry sense of humour.

Seven Dead is a locked room mystery. Seven bodies are discovered in a room where the shutters have been nailed closed and the key is in the lock on the outside of the room. Add a note with a cryptic clue and the portrait of a pretty young girl with a bullet hole through her heart, and the mystery deepens.

I first encountered Detective Inspector Kendall in Jefferson-Farjeon’s The Z Murders, and then Thirteen Guests, both titles that have been republished by Poisoned Pen Press as part of the British Library Crime Classics series. He is a decisive man, very thorough in his investigative techniques, and a deep thinker. He is, rather unusually for this period, a relatively realistic police detective without any of the affectations so commonly given to characters in this era.

He is aided and abetted in his investigation by a young journalist and yachtsman, Hazeldean, who had inadvertently stumbled upon burglar Ted Lyte fleeing the crime scene, his pockets full of silverware. He becomes obsessed with the painting of the girl and is determined to find her.

There are plenty of twists and unexpected turns in this story, and I became a little obsessed myself with the relevance of the silk trader.

Early on in the book, one of the characters, I think it was Kendall, says ‘There’s some mighty queer story behind all this. ‘, and he’s right. Not only queer, but compelling. Seven Dead was almost a five star read, but the ending fell a little short for me.

Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Seven Dead by J. Jefferson-Farjeon for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system.

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Author: sandysbookaday

I love good quality chocolate. I love the ocean and love to be in, on or beside it. I read any and every where. I am a proud mum and Nana. I like wine, gin, Southern Comfort, a cold Heineken on a hot day. I am very versatile like that. I cross stitch, do jigsaws, garden, and work on a farm. I am an occasional scribbled. I have far too many books I want to read to ever find the time to die. I am an active member of Goodreads as Sandy *the world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* and review on Amazon under the name Sandyj21. My Goodreads reviews are automatically linked to my Facebook page. Groups I belong to and participate in on Goodreads include: The Mystery, Crime and Thriller Group; Mysteries and Crime Thrillers; Psychological Thrillers; Reading for Pleasure; Crime Detective Mystery Thrillers; English Mysteries; Dead Good Crime; Kindle English Mystery, All About Books and NZ Readers. April 2016 I made the Top 1% of Goodreads reviewers (As follows) Hello Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*, In our community of readers, you stand out in a notable way: You're one of the top 1% of reviewers on Goodreads! With every rave and every pan, with every excited GIF and every critical assessment, you've helped the Goodreads community get closer to a very important milestone – the 50 Million Reviews mark!

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