Category Archives: Bell, Josephine

The Port of London Murders by Josephine Bell

The Port of London MurdersThe Port of London Murders
by Josphine Bell
Rating: ★★★★
Publication Date: November 1, 1938
Genre: mystery
Pages: 253
ReRead?: No
Project: a century of women

Wapping. Tugs and barges on the river. A west-end shop that deals apparently in nothing but lingerie. Women who sell their souls for something in a little screw of paper. A doctor in the slums who has mysterious visitors ...

In a mean street of dockland a woman is dead, with every sign of suicide ...

A derelict barge casts part of a cargo ashore, boxes which have double ends: some of these box-ends are empty, others conceal pink chiffon nightdresses ...

The river police are concerned with the smuggling, Detective-Sergeant Chandler with an apparent suicide which he believes to be murder. River and shore police confer. Sergeant Chandler visits his suspects once more. He is never seen again ...

This is book finish #2 of NYE, because I decided to spend the last day of 2021 trying to finish off some straggler books. Earlier today I finished The Christmas Egg by Mary Kelly, which I started around December 15. I started this book even longer ago, for the Appointment with Agatha November side-read. I don’t really recall why I got sidetracked, because I liked the beginning of the book, and I know that Themis-Athena liked it fairly well. But, bogged down I was, so I decided that this would be one of my final 2021 finishes.

The middle did drag for me a bit, and I’m pretty sure that my extended reading time interfered with my ability to fully understand the mystery because by the time I got to the end, I had largely forgotten the beginning. The murderer here is a nasty piece of work, and the underlying plot was really good, though. And the very urban, industrial London setting is unique for this era of book.

According to the back matter, the author, Josephine Bell, was a medical doctor, which makes sense because her depiction of the London doctors (there were several throughout the story) was really good. She seems to be have been a really interesting woman, and I hope that BLCC puts more of her books back into print.

At this point, I think I am going to pull my copy of Eye of the World back out and see if I can make some progress. I have no illusions about finishing it today, but it would be nice to get some more of it under my belt!