Golden Age Mystery Project

Inspector Littlejohn by George Bellairs:

From Wikipedia: George Bellairs was the nom de plume of Harold Blundell (1902-1982), a crime writer and bank manager born in Heywood, near Rochdale, Lancashire. He began working for Martins Bank at the age of 15, and stayed there in escalating roles of seniority until his retirement. He then settled in the Isle of Man.

He wrote more than 50 books, most featuring the detective Inspector Thomas Littlejohn, and all with the same publisher. His radio comedy The Legacy was aired in 1951. He also wrote four novels under the alternative pseudonym Hilary Landon. His first novel, Littlejohn on Leave, was published in 1941 and his last one, An Old Man Dies, was published close to his death in 1982. He also contributed articles to the Manchester Guardian and to Manx publications such as Manx Life and received a short review in the print edition of The Spectator in 1958 for his book Corpse at the Carnival. Many of his books were also published by the Thriller Book Club, and several titles have recently been issued in the British Library Crime Classics series.

A number of the Inspector Littlejohn books have been reissued by Agora Books are available from the Kindle Unlimited library, and the BLCC has also reissued a small number of them so they are fairly widely available in the U.S., at least as ebooks. Their numbering system is extremely wonky, but these books do not seem to need to be read in order. According to Goodreads, there are 57 books in the series.

Series entries I have read:

Death of a Busybody, 1942
He’d Rather Be Dead, 1945
The Case of the Famished Parson, 1949
Death Treads Softly, 1956
Death in High Provence, 1957
Corpse at the Carnival, 1958
Murder Makes Mistakes, 1958
The Body in the Dumb River, 1961

I have found the books to be largely very enjoyable, and Inspector Littlejohn a very appealing character. His wife, Letty, is delightful and it’s always a highlight when she appears. She played a large part in Death in High Provence, which was a book I liked a lot.

Anthony Bathurst by Brian Flynn:

From In Search of the Classic Mystery blog: Flynn wrote 54 mystery novels, almost all of which feature his sleuth Anthony Lotherington Bathurst – the only exception is Tragedy at Trinket (which features Bathurst’s nephew). Most also feature Inspector Andrew McMorran and some of the later books also include Helen Repton, a reasonably rare occurrence in books at that time, namely a female member of Scotland Yard. He also wrote a play, Blue Murder, in 1937, the plot of which was used ten years later for Conspiracy At Angel. In addition to the 54 books written under his own name, he also wrote three novels under the pseudonym Charles Wogan. It is unclear why Flynn chose to take a break from Bathurst – the first two books appeared in 1947 and 1948, the latter year being a rarity in that no Bathurst book appeared. Following the third Wogan title in 1950, Flynn concentrated on Bathurst once more.

Dean Street Press is in the process of reissuing the Bathurst mysteries, after much encouragement from The Puzzle Doctor (blog linked above). If you want more info about Brian Flynn, his blog is the place to find it. Generally, as well, if you want any information at all about classic mysteries, his blog is the place to find it. I encourage you to go there now and spend several happy hours clicking from post to post.

Series entries I have read:

The Case of the Black Twenty-Two, 1928
The Mystery of the Peacock’s Eye, 1928
Five Red Fingers, 1929
The Creeping Jenny Mystery, 1929

I have been more or less reading these in order, although that doesn’t seem to be necessary to enjoy the book. Anthony Bathurst is a gentleman amateur sleuth, so if that’s your jam, try these out. These are very reasonably priced for kindle, at $2.99 each.