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The Dead Shall be Raised and Murder of a Quack

The Dead Shall be Raised and Murder of a Quack (Paperback)

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Synopsis

Two classic cases featuring Detective-Inspector Littlejohn.In the winter of 1940, the Home Guard unearths a skeleton on the moor above the busy town of Hatterworth. Twenty-three years earlier, the body of a young textile worker was found in the same spot, and the prime suspect was never found - but the second body is now identified as his. Inspector Littlejohn is in the area for Christmas and takes on the investigation of the newly reopened case. Soon it becomes clear that the murderer is still at large...* * *Nathaniel Wall, the local quack doctor, is found hanging in his consulting room in the Norfolk village of Stalden - but this was not a suicide. Wall may not have been a qualified doctor, but his skill as a bonesetter and his commitment to village life were highly valued. Scotland Yard is drafted in to assist. Quickly settling into his accommodation at the village pub, Littlejohn begins to examine the evidence...Against the backdrop of a close-knit village, an intriguing story of ambition, blackmail, fraud, false alibis and botanical trickery unravels.

Fiction & PoetryCrime & ThrillersClassic crime Publisher: The British Library Publishing Division Publication Date: 10/12/2016 ISBN-13: 9780712356527  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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George Bellairs was the pseudonym of Harold Blundell (1902-1985), a prominent banker and philanthropist from Manchester who was also the author of a popular series of detective stories featuring Thomas Littlejohn that were published for nearly forty years.

More books by George Bellairs

Customer Reviews

This book of two of George Bellairs’ stories featuring Inspector Littlejohn is a worthy addition to the British Library Crime Classics series, as they are good solid mysteries which kept this reader guessing to the end. I enjoyed the first particularly as it opens with a description of a performance of Messiah in a Methodist church, featuring Superintendent Haworth,a local detective with whom Littlejohn agrees to break his holiday to investigate a crime. The performance is described in loving detail and leads to some funny exchanges, as news of a “cold case” comes into the police station. A message is sent to the church; “Now don’t go and upset him in the middle of Why Do the Nations, but give it him as soon as you can.” As the blushing constable considers exactly when to interrupt his boss, it begins to sink in that a body missing for many years has been found on the moors. It soon becomes clear that a murder assumed to have been motivated by the love of a local woman is not as straightforward as it seems, as death and disappearances mount. The final twists, appreciated by Littlejohn in all its implications, made this a murder mystery I did not solve before the end. This is a super piece of writing as the detective is seen as human, with his reactions and understanding well expressed as he tracks down those involved and guilty. The other short novel in the book deals with the murder of a “Quack”, an unlicensed medical practitioner whose unorthodox treatments of otherwise hopeless cases may or may not have contributed to an almost locked room murder. Littlejohn is brought in to investigate a mysterious death, and discovers a family tradition of complementary medicine which depends on observation and calculated experimentation. Within the local community and family there are tensions to be discovered, and soon more than one suspect emerges. I enjoyed Littlejohn’s reactions to the people he must encounter, as he realises that not all of them as are a straightforward as they imagine. He detects how one character has been unduly influenced by another she has been close to, and reflects on this nonsense that his wife would soon have dealt with in her own way. I have enjoyed the books that the British Library have reprinted by George Bellairs, or Harold Blundell as he was known in his real life in banking. As Martin Edwards says in his introduction, he was a steady, detailed writer rather than a superstar like Sayers, factors reflected in his detective creation, whose patience is needed in these tales.

- 18/04/2017
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