Friday, May 8, 2015

The Sussex Downs Murder: A British Library Crime Classic - John Bude

The Sussex Downs Murder: A British Library Crime Classic
John Bude
Poisoned Pen, May 5 2015, $14.95
ISBN 9781464203718

John and William Rother reside on their family farm Chalklands in Sussex Downs.  Besides working the land, the siblings also operate kilns that convert chalk into quicklime.  The older brother John drives away on vacation leaving behind William with his new wife Janet.

However, instead of returning home, John vanishes.  His abandoned car is found several miles from the farm, but headed in the wrong direction and inside is blood.  Additionally the missing driver apparently used eight times the amount of petro needed to drive from his home to where his vehicle was located.  Superintendent William Meredith (see The Lake District Murder and The Cornish Coast Murder) leads the missing person’s investigation into what he thinks is a murder without a body.  Not long after Meredith begins his inquiry, accompanied by an enthusiastically grateful writer Aldous Barnet. Bones are found in the Chalklands’ quicklime. 

The third Meredith British police procedural is a delightful Depression Era reprint.  With a very vivid setting, Meredith owns the leisurely-paced storyline as he diligently works his inquiry in spite of frustrating seemingly promising clues proving false.  Though Barnet at times comes across as a groupie, he provides the audience with insight into the Superintendent, the case and the era.  The Sussex Downs Murder is a twisting whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

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