If Miss Hildegarde Withers, of last week's book, "The Puzzle of the Pepper Tree," is a "meddlesome old battleaxe," what are we to make of this week's detective, the always eccentric and occasionally horrifying Mrs. Bradley? She is at the center of "The Rising of the Moon," by Gladys Mitchell, the subject of this week's audio review on our Classic Mysteries podcast. You can listen to it here.
Mrs. Bradley is a psychiatrist who is called in by police on cases such as this one: a serial killer appears to be loose on the streets of the village of Brentford. Two schoolboys, one of whom is the book's narrator, set out to find the killer, particularly when the facts of the case appear to implicate their older brother. They do so with the help of Mrs. Bradley, although her presence in this book occasionally is shunted to the sidelines.
Gladys Mitchell was enormously popular in Britain during the Golden Age, and her books are often favorably compared to Agatha Christie and Margery Allingham. She was never as popular in the United States as in Britain. I found "The Rising of the Moon" to be one of her most accessible to an American audience. It is well-written, full of those oddities of character and eccentric behavior which helped to make Mitchell's books so popular.