Murder By The Book: Mysteries For Bibliophiles

Title: Murder By The Book: Mysteries For Bibliophiles

Writer: Various, edited by Martin Edwards

Publishing House: British Library Crimes Classics

Date of Publication: August 10th 2021

Rating: 5 stars

‘’That’s our daily job, inventing stories; making a definite pattern of a number of incidents. Dammit, I could contrive some sort of story out of any assortment of facts: a spot of candlegrease, a badly sharpened pencil, a canary which wouldn’t sing any more and a man who went to bed one night in his wooden leg.’’

A Lesson In Crime (GDH and M.Cole): I am sure that most of us would like to confront several writers regarding their implausible stories and inaccuracies but the eccentric reader of this wonderful story took things a little too far…

Trent and the Ministering Angel (E.C.Bentley): A mystery of wills, a formidable wife, flowers and arcane messages with the aid of Lewis Carroll. 

A Slice of Bad Luck (Cecil Day-Lewis writing as Nickolas Blake): A disgusting, albeit famous writer is found dead after the lights go out. Many had reasons to kill him, but the missing detail will reveal the culprit.

The Strange Case of the Megatherium Thefts (S.C.Roberts): Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are asked to investigate the case of missing books and meet a man of peculiar vices. Fret not, this is not glorified fan-fiction but a story true to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s spirit. 

Malice Domestic (Philip MacDonald): A writer is suffering from strange stomach disturbances and his doctor is convinced that foul play is involved.

A Savage Game (A.A.Milne): Colonel Saxe challenges a famous writer to solve a very real murder with an alarming lack of suspects. Coleby does so without leaving his living room…

The Clue in the Book (Julian Symons): Francis Quarles, a private detective, investigates the murder of a collector of manuscripts written by murderers.

The Manuscript (Gladys Mitchell): In what seems an open-and-shut case, a girl who has stolen a manuscript is found dead. Yet Detective – Inspector Rogers has a few aces up his sleeve…

A Man and His Mother-In-Law (Roy Vickers): In an exciting story, a despicable man who wants his wife to be nothing more than a brainless puppet is brought down by two brilliant women and a book. Even the noose is too gentle for his type…

Grey’s Ghost (Michale Innes): John Appleby narrates the haunting (and ingenious) story of a wronged ghostwriter who decides to teach his ungrateful employer a powerful lesson.

Dear Mr. Editor (Christianna Brand): A satanic woman gets what she deserves in this absolutely, massively thrilling story. My favourite in this outstanding collection.

Murder in Advance (Marjorie Bremner): A playwright who intended to write a rather controversial play is murdered, and Scotland Yard investigates in high places.

A Question of Character (Victor Canning): A failure of a writer plots to murder his famous wife but Fate has other ideas. The twists in this story are supremely satisfying!

Book of Honour (John Creasey): A young man involved in the publishing industry finds himself a witness to a feud between a father and a son in Bombay.

We Know You’re Busy Writing, But We Thought You Wouldnt Mind If We Just Dropped In For A Minute (Edmund Crispin): In a story that starts in a comical tone but becomes rather eerie as we go, a writer struggles to write THAT scene while the entire universe is knocking on his door or calling him on the phone. I mean, I don’t blame the poor chap in the slightest…

Chapter and Verse (Ngaio Marsh): An intricate mystery within the pages of an old Bible.

Another glorious addition to the British Library Crime Classics, superbly introduced and edited (as always) by Martin Edwards.

‘’I must introduce myself.

  None of this is going to be read, even, let alone published. Ever.

Nevertheless, there is habit – the habit of putting words together in the most effective order you can think of. There is self-respect too. That, and habit, make me try to tell this as if it were in fact going to be read.

  Which God forbid.’’