#1006: Green for Danger (1944) by Christianna Brand

Green for Danger

star filledstar filledstar filledstar filledstars
I first read Green for Danger (1944) by Christianna Brand about 12 years ago on the back of enthusiastic Agatha Christie comparisons, and came away impressed with its wartime hospital setting but underwhelmed by what I remembered as the seemingly random allocation of guilt to an undeniably surprising party in the finale. Since then, I’ve been assured by reputable sources that the book is in fact rigorously — and very fairly — clewed and warrants re-examination, so its republication in the British Library Crime Classics range is the perfect chance to find out if it does indeed stand on its own or if everyone’s enthusiastic just because they also love the 1946 movie (because, my god, don’t people ever love that movie).

Continue reading

#1003: Found Floating (1937) by Freeman Wills Crofts

Found Floating

star filledstar filledstar filledstar filledstars
In the same year that Agatha Christie mixed sight-seeing and shipboard slaughter in Death on the Nile (1937), Freeman Wills Crofts sent his series detective, Chief Inspector Joseph French, into bat with a similarly travelogue-rich tale of marine-centric malfeasance. Found Floating (1937) might, in many ways, be seen as Crofts’ take on the essential principles of a Christie plot, even if it does highlight many of the reasons Dame Agatha has remained in the public consciousness while Crofts is only now enjoying a resurgence in awareness and popularity. Indeed, for a man who made hay in the annals of the realistic detective story, this might be his most successful brush with verisimilitude yet.

Continue reading

#999: They Walk in Darkness (1947) by Gerald Verner

They Walk in Darkness

star filledstar filledstarsstarsstars
If you’re reading this in the Southern Hemisphere — or in the year 2047, when global warming has reduced the planet to a scorched wasteland — then the raft of snow-bound mysteries reviewed in the run-up to Christmas might seem a little odd. Nevertheless, this snowswept tale of impossible murder, which came recommended by Tom Mead, has been reserved for this precise season so that its twofold chills — physical and atmospheric — might be better appreciated. Gerald Verner wrote so much that it would be easy to believe that quality wasn’t high on his agenda, but he does good work in They Walk in Darkness (1947) even if the overall edifice doesn’t quite live up to its promise.

Continue reading