A great many English mysteries from the "Golden Age" are set in what seem to be peaceful, lovely, bucolic small villages - there may be a few eccentrics around (and there is, generally, at least one murderer!), but the town itself, and its people, for the most part, are utterly charming.
And then there is the village of Flaxborough, which is described in Colin Watson's "Coffin, Scarcely Used " as being a "high-spirited town...like Gomorrah." It is a very funny mystery - in no small part because it is set in a truly awful town. There's a murder or two, a fine array of other illicit activities for the police to discover, marvellously unconcerned town officials, and a pretty interesting puzzle as well. You can listen to the full review on our latest podcast.
Colin Watson wrote eleven mysteries about Flaxborough and its inhabitants, of which this is the first. He also wrote a book of entertaining essays called "Snobbery With Violence: Crime Stories and Their Audience," now out of print, which looks at the classic mystery as a vehicle for social history. More on that later.