Death of an Airman: British Library Crime Classics
Christopher St. John Sprigg
Poisoned Pen Press, Aug 4 2015, $12.95
Visiting England, Australian Bishop of Cootamundra Doctor Edwin Marriott arrives at the Baston Aero Club seeking flying lessons so that when he returns home he can efficiently meet his practitioners spread over a large diocese that takes weeks to traverse with ground transportation. The cheeky manager Sarah “Sally” Sackbut signs him up before introducing the Bishop to his flight instructor George Furnace.
Edwin arrives for his first lesson, but an irritated Sally tells the Bishop that George is in the air flying solo in spite of knowing of the appointment. Suddenly the plane crashes killing George. The official inquiry determines the plane was in excellent shape and the deceased was a great pilot. Thus the conclusion for the death is undecided though suicide seems most likely even though those who knew him insist otherwise. Bishop Marriott helps Scotland Yard Inspector Bray investigate the Death of an Airman.
This is an entertaining late 1930s twisting mystery at a time when tensions on the continent are heating up. The key support cast is underdeveloped but their amusing sauciness somewhat makes up for their two-dimensional characterizations. The wonderful teaming of the Australian Bishop and the British police inspector make for an engaging investigation.