EXCERPT: The murderer killed apparently at random, anyone, any time, any place. The quick incapacitating stab in the back, the body turned over and stabbed and stabbed and stabbed again. A plastic sheet would be thrown down, which had protected the killer from the spurting blood; and for the rest, no sign left, ever, no clue left for a police force stretched to its limit, on the edge of desperation. And every crank in the country ringing up, writing in, with their crackpot theories. (No Face by Christiana Brand)
ABOUT BODIES FROM THE LIBRARY 2: This anthology of rare stories of crime and suspense brings together 15 tales from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction for the first time in book form, including a newly discovered Gervase Fen novella by Edmund Crispin that has never previously been published.
With the Golden Age of detective fiction shining ever more brightly thanks to the recent reappearance of many forgotten crime novels, Bodies from the Library offers a rare opportunity to read lost stories from the first half of the twentieth century by some of the genre’s most accomplished writers.
This second volume is a showcase for popular figures of the Golden Age, in stories that even their most ardent fans will not be aware of. It includes uncollected and unpublished stories by acclaimed queens and kings of crime fiction, from Helen Simpson, Ethel Lina White, E. C. R. Lorac, Christianna Brand, Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers, to S. S. Van Dine, Jonathan Latimer, Clayton Rawson, Cyril Alington and Antony and Peter Shaffer (writing as Peter Antony).
This book also features two highly readable radio scripts by Margery Allingham (involving Jack the Ripper) and John Rhode, plus two full-length novellas – one from a rare magazine by Q Patrick, the other an unpublished Gervase Fen mystery by Edmund Crispin, written at the height of his career. It concludes with another remarkable discovery: ‘The Locked Room’ by Dorothy L. Sayers, a never-before-published case for Lord Peter Wimsey!
MY THOUGHTS: I have a strong affection for Golden Age Detective and mystery fiction, and I enjoyed the majority of these novellas and short stories. My very favourites – I couldn’t pick between The Locked Room by Dorothy L. Sayers featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, and one of the shortest, A Joke’s a Joke by Jonathan Latimer.
My one and only criticism of this collection is that the pen portraits of the authors is sometimes longer than the story!
Strongly recommended for all Golden Age aficionado.
THE EDITOR: Tony Medawar is a detective fiction expert and researcher with a penchant for tracking down rare stories. His other collections of previously uncollected stories include WHILE THE LIGHT LASTS (Agatha Christie), THE AVENGING CHANCE (Anthony Berkeley), THE SPOTTED CAT (Christianna Brand), A SPOT OF FOLLY (Ruth Rendell) and THE ISLAND OF COFFINS (John Dickson Carr). (Amazon)
DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of Bodies From the Library, collated by Tony Medawar, narrated by Philip Bretherton and published by Harper Collins via Overdrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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