Title: The Port of London Murders
Writer: Josephine Bell
Publishing House: British Library
Date of Publication: October 10th 2020
Rating: 5 stars
‘’It was quite dark now, but lights twinkled everywhere, making bright oath across the black water. And far away on all sides, a red and orange glow covered the sky, shining steadily on the vast labyrinth of London.’’
The San Angelo arrives in the Pool of London and sets a rather peculiar (and exciting for us readers) chain of events in motion. A young boy finds himself in danger and is rescued by a young man who falls in love with a brilliant girl. In the meantime, members of the upper class, corrupted salesmen and striving families complete a puzzle of murders, dark motives and…nightdresses.
Set during the harsh months of November and December, Josephine Bell (Doris Bell Collier) creates a mystery that isn’t just another Crime story but also a poignant and elegant social study within the communities living alongside Father Thames. Families suffering from constant afflictions, cramped inside suffocating rooms, girls who trust the wrong men, corrupted members of a strange society. Fast-paced and developed through a series of mysterious events, this mystery has all the proper ingredients of a good old British Crime novel. A fascinating heroine, a gallant, honest young man, agonising policemen, rich and spoiled young women, unreliable suitors. June and Harry are wonderful characters, but the real protagonist of London and the many forms of its gritty, secretive underbelly.
Beautiful Introduction by Martin Edwards, as always.
I want a BBC/ITV series dedicated to the amazing British Library Crime Classics squad and I want it now!
‘’The side streets are empty except for the piles of rubbish left by the stalls and swept into heaps against the curb. The main road is empty too. A few dirty papers blow backwards and forwards across it, a few people in Sunday clothes walk slowly along the pavement; a few trams clank past bearing visitors to distant families, uncomfortable in stiff collars and unyielding best shoes. The blocks of houses and shops, equally closed and silent, look drearier than ever.’’