Every so often, a mystery writer whose work has faded into obscurity over time undergoes a sort of rediscovery, offering a new generation of readers a chance to discover that author's work. Consider the work of John Bude, a British author whose books are hardly remembered today. Now, the British Library, in its Crime Classics series, has brought back a couple of Bude's books - he wrote 30, all long out of print - for the enjoyment of new readers.
Which brings us to The Cornish Coast Murder, Bude's first mystery, published in 1935, a sort of classic English country-house murder that really does not deserve to be forgotten. The publisher provided me with a copy for this review, and it is the subject of today's audio review on the Classic Mysteries podcast. You can listen to the entire review by clicking here.
In The Cornish Coast Murder, we have the murder of a local magistrate, Julius Tregarthen, in the small Cornish village of Boscawen. Although he was shot while sitting in his country home, it appears quite certain that he was shot by someone outside the house. Unfortunately, that's about the only clue police have - and so, enter a couple of amateurs, to help the police in their efforts to solve the case.
The local vicar, the Reverend Dodd, and his good friend, Doctor Pendrill love to read mysteries, and they often visit each other in the evening to discuss their reading. What more natural than that they should team up to help the police, who may be pursuing false leads in the case. After all, there isn’t much evidence – and what there is is largely contradictory. There are no footprints where footprints ought to be, and there are footprints where there should be none – that sort of thing. The victim’s niece, Ruth Tregarthen, appears to be hiding something, and her friend Ronald Hardy has disappeared, which leads the police inspector in charge of the case to suspect that the two young people may both be involved in the murder. Reverend Dodd doesn’t think so, and he sets out to prove their innocence – and to try to find the real killer.
It all makes for a very entertaining mystery, a fairly quick and enjoyable read. The new edition from the British Library Crime Classics includes a new introduction by mystery writer Martin Edwards, who notes that Bude paid more attention to his characters and his settings than many of his contemporaries did. It is good to have Bude's work brought back into print.
I'm submitting this book and review to the Vintage Mystery Bingo Reading Challenge (Golden version) under way at the My Reading Block blog as an example of a country house mystery.