By: John Bude
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publishing Date: May 2015 (re-release)
Reviewed by Mary Lignor
Review Date: May 20, 2015
This book is an extremely well-written story from the 1930’s featuring Superintendent Meredith, who was prominent in other murder stories from the ‘British Library Crime Classics.’ To begin: John and William Rother, brothers, live together at their home, known as Chalklands Farm, in Sussex Downs. John and William are two separate entities as they don’t seem to have anything in common with each other. John is the farmer while William, who doesn't enjoy farming, is a very sensitive fellow who is into experiments and seems to be a little over the top. But John holds the purse strings and William has to go along. One day John announces that he is going on a holiday and leaves William and his fairly new wife, Janet, to look after things.
A few days later, John’s car is found abandoned and covered in blood but John is nowhere to be found. William and his wife are instant suspects and some people in the village think that John and William’s wife, Janet, are just a little closer than they ought to be. Superintendent Meredith is assigned to the case, if there really is a case here. Meredith quickly gets to work and he is a wonder. He is like a puppy with a bone as he goes into the case and begins to solve it little by little using his brains. At the same time, he is driving most of the suspects a little crazy because he keeps showing up with more questions. And then, another murder occurs and the body is found instantly. A new case for the detective and the readers.
This is a great puzzle with great characters; a refreshing detective who is a good policeman doing a good job, who does not have a shattered past or an unhappy marriage and a son who is so smart he keeps giving his dad tips. The characters are ordinary folks from a small town. The readers, if they are avid crime story readers, will begin to realize who is who and solve the mystery but it takes a while and in the meantime the reader will be fascinated by the narrative.
Quill says: The Sussex Downs Murder was originally published in 1936 and through the publishing genius of Poisoned Pen Press, the 2015 public is able to draw on this perfect English mystery and enjoy an afternoon of great reading.