Title: The Cornish Coast Murder
Writer: John Bude
Publishing House: British Library Crime Classics
Date of Publication: April 15th 2014 (first published 1935)
Rating: 5 stars
‘’It was raining fitfully and gusts of wind from off the Atlantic rattles the window-frames and sought dismally among the sprinkling of gaunt pipers which surrounded the Vicarage. It was a threatening night. No moon. But a lowering bank of cloud rested far away on the horizon of the sea, dark against the departing daylight.’’
The Reverend Dodd, the vicar of Boscawen, a lovely village in Cornwall, is a marvellous oddball. A fervent lover of detective stories, he finds himself actively involved in one when the local magistrate is found dead. The clues are rather enticing. Three bullets that have passed through the window, drawn curtains and a peculiar trace of footprints. Add a rather intriguing Inspector and a pair of star-crossed young lovers and you’ll get one of the finest and most entertaining mysteries of the Golden Age of Crime.
‘’The wind had died down and the air, though fresh and salty, was no longer damp-laden. It was obvious that the rain had spent itself with the storm, for the sky had cleared and a crescent moon shed a ghostly glitter over the dark swell of the Atlantic. Under the brief cliff, the waves were chopping and slapping, but beyond that, the night was profoundly still.’’
This is a mystery that can easily walk hand-in-hand with Agatha Christie’s creations. Lively plot, engaging writing, the beautiful and mysterious Cornish scenery that adds a special touch to the case, exciting characters (I adored Inspector Bigswell), red herrings, complex paths that we must follow and a rather effective use of the eternal question: to what extent can murder be justified? A theme that is prominent in British Crime and thoroughly poignant. Once more, corruption and deceit are the forces of Evil.
As always, beautiful Introduction by Martin Edwards and a wonderful addition to the series.
‘’A steamer was ploughing along about a couple of miles from the land, with a tattered smudge of smoke clinging about her funnel. Over-head the gulls cried mournfully or circled down to brush their breasts against the surface of the water, lifting and bobbing on the creamy swell like white corks. It was a scene, deep and tranquil, far removed from the ominous and ugly atmosphere which shrouded the grey house standing out on the blunt views behind him.’’