#1052: The Mysterious Mr. Badman (1934) by W.F. Harvey

Mysterious Mr Badman

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The expertly-curated British Library Crime Classics series continues to diversify with crowd-pleasing reissues of Anthony Berkeley, Christianna Brand, and John Dickson Carr, never-heard-of-em delights like Family Matters (1933) by Anthony Rolls and Death of Anton (1936) by Alan Melville, and stirring in a Freeman Wills Crofts or a few E.C.R. Loracs along the way.  And The Mysterious Mr. Badman (1934) by W.F. Harvey definitely falls into the middle category, because ask 100 people if they’d heard of it before this reissue and maybe three would say they had, two of whom would be lying to look cool. But a delight it is, and welcome it most certainly is.

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#1015: Epitaph for a Spy (1938) by Eric Ambler

Epitaph for a Spy

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Epitaph for a Spy (1938) places me at the centre of a Venn diagram of two things I heartily dislike — the everyman espionage fiction of John le Carre, and novels whose protagonists cluelessly accidentally their way along — and so I shouldn’t exactly be surprised that these two wrongs have failed to combine to produce something I would enjoy. This story of languages teacher Josef Vadassy strong-armed into helping identify a spy while on holiday at an exclusive French pension is, in fact, riddled with just about every trope and facet of genre fiction that I dislike, and it’s difficult to imagine Eric Ambler’s intent in writing such a book. But, I get ahead of myself…

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