Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A who'llsolveit

Published in 1931, Death Walks in Eastrepps by Francis Beeding is a classic British murder mystery that remains entertaining more than 80 years later. Francis Beeding, like contemporary mystery author Charles Todd, was actually two people - John Leslie and Hilary Aidan St. George Saunders. Together they penned a number of popular mystery and spy novels.

Eastrepps is a quiet English village until a serial killer goes to work, striking dead six of the town's finest citizens late at night over a period of weeks. The story actually has two mysteries. Other than the question of the killer, there is the question of who the hero might be. Who will be the person who actually discovers the killer's identity? There are several possibilities, including both local and Scotland Yard detectives. Some of these become temporarily prominent before fading into the background. Most mystery novels have heroes, but this one doesn't, at least not until the very end.

The answer to both mysteries comes as a surprise to the reader, making this novel doubly satisfying.

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