“I am in great danger … I know that murder is going to be the reward for my uncomplaining loyalty.”
This letter containing heartfelt and urgent pleas for help is received by three very eminent citizens of Flaxborough, including the Chief Constable himself. So when one of the town’s most tireless charity workers, Mrs Henrietta Palgrove, is found the wrong way up in her garden pond, a connection seems likely.
Yet Detective Inspector Purbright finds the case does not quite add up and it takes the acute wits of his old friend, the ever-charming Miss Lucilla Teatime, as well as the more unwitting help of Mortimer Hive, indifferent private investigator and accomplished ladies’ man, to tease out the real murderer.
Nick, Tam and Karen live on three floors of a south London house. One is struggling to find his place in society, one is drowning his sorrows in alcohol, and one has embarked on a life-changing research project.
Despite their proximity, they are completely disconnected. That is, until a murder in the house brings them together, irrevocably.
One of them is guilty, one wants to find out who did it, and one wants to find out why.
Unsettling, illuminating and thrilling in equal measures, The Man on the Middle Floor will make you think twice about those who lives around you. It is a book about society, about detachment, about guilt.
It’s about a crime where the question is not who but why.
Whatever can have happened to Lil?
Flaxborough butcher Arthur Spain is worried that his sister-in-law hasn’t been in touch lately, so he pays her a visit. But Lil’s not at home, and by her porch door are a dozen bottles of curdling milk… Alarmed, he calls in the local police, D.I. Purbright and his ever-reliable Sergeant Sid Love.
It transpires Lilian Bannister is the second middle-aged woman in the town to mysteriously vanish, and the link is traced to a local lonely hearts agency called Handclasp House. So when a vulnerable-seeming lady with the charming title of Lucy Teatime signs up for a romantic rendezvous, the two detectives try extra hard to look out for her. But Miss Teatime has a few surprises of her own up her dainty sleeve!
The gripping sight of four burly policeman manhandling a bath down the front path of a respectable villa isn’t one the residents of Flaxborough see every day.
Net curtains twitch furiously, and neighbours have observations to make to Chief Inspector Purbright and Sergeant Love about the inhabitants of 14, Beatrice Avenue. Nice Gordon Periam, the mild-mannered tobacconist, and his rather less nice (in fact a bit of a bounder) lodger Brian Hopjoy had apparently shared the house amicably.
But now neither man is to be found and something very disagreeable seems to be lurking in the drains… Then a couple of government spooks turn up, one with an eye for the ladies – the drama is acquiring overtones of a Bond movie!
Tuesday nights have suddenly turned quite ridiculously noisy in the country town of Chalmsbury, where the good folk are outraged at having their rest disturbed.
It begins with a drinking fountain being blown to smithereens – next the statue of a local worthy loses his head, and the following week a giant glass eye is exploded. Despite the soft-soled sleuthing of cub reporter Len Leaper, the crime spate grows alarming.
Sheer vandalism is bad enough, but when a life is lost the amiable Inspector Purbright, called in from nearby Flaxborough to assist in enquiries, finds he must delve deep into the seamier side of this quiet town’s goings on.
On a hot summer night, Sir John Appleby is dragged from his newly-wedded bliss to investigate a disturbing crime that predates itself.
It seems the Dromio family history is steeped in both legend and tragedy. With a long-unbroken tradition of twin male heirs, Sir Romeo Dromio lost his mind when his wife gave birth to triplets. In a fit of madness, he set the nursery on fire and rescued only one of his infant sons.
Now, the family business is failing, and the surviving triplet Oliver has gone abroad in search of a solution to their ailing fortunes. Lady Dromio and her adopted daughter, Lucy, anxiously await his return, and tensions run high as his arrival home draws near. Lady Dromio fusses over the service, the Reverend is hallucinating, Lucy’s odd remarks become sinister threats, and Mrs Gollifer is hiding something.
The household squabbles are drawn to an abrupt halt when Oliver is found dead in the study, his body smoldering in the fireplace. And when another body shows up, Appleby must sift through family secrets, spurned lovers, and false confessions to identify the killer before the whole thing goes up in flames.
A Night of Errors was originally published in 1947.
In a culture that ranks sociability and extroversion above the introverted traits of deep thinking and being alone, Ilse Sand shows how to find joy and meaning as an introvert or highly sensitive person. She debates whether these traits are caused by nature or nurture, and shows how someone like this can organise their life to keep them content. The advice and instructions are also quite applicable to people who are temporarily or, for some other reason, in a sensitive situation – for example, because of stress, trauma, or burn-out.
It describes the introverted personality type and the highly sensitive trait, highlighting the strengths that come with it such as good listening skills and rich imagination, and suggests ways to overcome the negatives such as the need to avoid overstimulation and over-critical thinking.
Including advice from other introverts or highly introverted people, and two self-tests for sensitive and introverted traits, this book gives readers a deeper understanding of introversion and high sensitivity and gives those with these personality types greater faith and courage in their own talents.
The guests also include the young detectives Arthur Bryant and John May – undercover, in disguise and tasked with protecting Monty Hatton-Jones, a whistle-blower turning Queen’s evidence in a massive bribery trial. Luckily, they’ve got a decent chap on the inside who can help them – the one-armed Brigadier, Nigel ‘Fruity’ Metcalf.
The scene is set for what could be the perfect country house murder mystery, except that this particular get-together is nothing like a Golden Age classic. For the good times are, it seems, coming to an end. The house’s owner – a penniless, dope-smoking aristocrat – is intent on selling the estate (complete with its own hippy encampment) to a secretive millionaire but the weekend has only just started when the millionaire goes missing and murder is on the cards. But army manoeuvres have closed the only access road and without a forensic examiner, Bryant and May can’t solve the case. It’s when a falling gargoyle fells another guest that the two incognito detectives decide to place their future reputations on the line. And in the process discover that in Swinging Britain nothing is quite what it seems…
So gentle reader, you are cordially invited to a weekend in the country. Expect murder, madness and mayhem in the mansion!
In the respectable seaside town of Flaxborough, the equally respectable councillor Harold Carobleat is laid to rest. Cause of death: pneumonia.
But he is scarcely cold in his coffin before Detective Inspector Purbright, affable and annoyingly polite, must turn out again to examine the death of Carobleat’s neighbour, Marcus Gwill, former prop. of the local rag, the Citizen. This time it looks like foul play, unless a surfeit of marshmallows had led the late and rather unlamented Mr Gwill to commit suicide by electrocution. (‘Power without responsibility’, murmurs Purbright.)
How were the dead men connected, both to each other and to a small but select band of other town worthies? Purbright becomes intrigued by a stream of advertisements Gwill was putting in the Citizen, for some very oddly named antique items…
When a new restaurant with a starred American chef opens in Cherringham, it seems the Spotted Pig has a worthy rival. But a series of disturbing incidents turns that rivalry into something dangerous – perhaps even fatal. Jack and Sarah get involved and soon discover dark secrets about the new chef Anna … Can they uncover what is really happening before both restaurants go belly-up? Set in the sleepy English village of Cherringham, the detective series brings together an unlikely sleuthing duo: English web designer Sarah and American ex-cop Jack. Thrilling and deadly – but with a spot of tea – it’s like Rosamunde Pilcher meets Inspector Barnaby. Each of the self-contained episodes is a quick read for the morning commute, while waiting for the doctor, or when curling up with a hot cuppa.