Thursday, September 22, 2016

Forgotten Books: Three Vintage Mysteries written under Pseudonyms

CASE OF THREE DETECTIVES

I hadn't heard of mystery writer Leo Bruce (pseudonym of writer Rupert Croft-Cooke) till I read an extract of his at some blog (sorry can't recall the name). The passage was hilarious and made me keen to read his works, especially the one featuring Sergeant Beef, and so I started with the first one in the series: Case for Three Detectives. A locked room mystery in which the wife of the host is found dead in a room, the book is a spoof on three popular detectives: Lord Peter Wimsey appears as Sir Simon Plimsoll, Hercule Poirot as Monsieur Amer Picon, and Father Brown, under the name of Monsignor Smith. All three detectives come up with ingenious solutions to the murder but it is the level-headed Sergeant Beef who gets the right answer. I found the book entertaining and would love to read more of Bruce and Beef.





First Line: I cannot pretend that there was anything sinister in the atmosphere that evening.

First Published: 1936

Source: http://booksofleobruce.blogspot.in/2014/06/case-for-three-detectives-chapter-one.html


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THE SHAKESPEARE MURDERS

A.G.Macdonell was a journalist and satirical novelist (best known for his work England, Their England) who also wrote crime novels under the pseudonym of Neil Gordon. His novel The Shakespeare Murders begins in an interesting manner. Young, suave, and none-too-scrupulous Peter Kerrigan sees a pickpocket pick the wallet of a shabby-looking man. Peter, coolly, steals the wallet but before returning it to its owner goes through the contents and finds a letter from the man's brother, John, which hints at getting a treasure worth a million pounds. Soon afterwards, Peter lands up at Marsh Manor where John had been working as a librarian and founds himself involved in murder, theft, and kidnapping. The book begins well but soon loses its plot.





First Line: One fine spring morning Peter Kerrigan was strolling casually along the Euston Road in the direction of King's Cross.

First Published: 1933

Source: http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks16/1600231h.html



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PONIES AND MYSTERIES

Mary Gervaise is the pseudonym of Joan Mary Wayne Brown, a prolific writer who wrote over 70 books. Ponies and Mysteries is the fourth in her Georgie series which sees Geogie and her friends staying with the Daneforths. Georgie sees the eldest of the Daneforth children, Rollo, acting suspiciously around a jade horse at an exhibition. When the item is stolen soon afterwards, Georgie suspects that Rollo is involved in the theft. Juvenile fiction.




First Published: 1953

Source: Purchased last year.




8 comments:

  1. The Leo Bruce looks like a fun, engaging read, Neeru. And it's interesting how many authors use pseudonyms, isn't it?

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    1. Leo Bruce was really entertaining Margot. And I am also amazed at how many writers of the golden age wrote under pseudonyms.

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  2. Of the three, the Leo Bruce book sounds best. (I've recently read something about Sgt. Beef but can't remember where.) Though I love the cover of THE SHAKESPEARE MURDERS. Sometimes these 1930's murder plots do lose their way, I've noticed that. One of many reasons, why Christie and a just a few others, were exemplary. This sort of stuff often looked easy, but of course it wasn't.

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    1. Oh you must read Bruce, Yvette. The humour is very nicely done. I also loved this cover of The Shakespeare Murders. Unfortunately, as you say, only a few writers really knew how to keep the readers engrossed and guessing.

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  3. Too bad about about The Shakespeare Murders because the cover is spectacular.

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    1. Thanks for having a look, Debbie. The British Library has some classic covers, I have noticed. Now if only the plot had been more interesting....

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  4. Interesting set of pseudonymous books you got here, Neer. Yes, the Leo Bruce novel certainly looks interesting.

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    1. Do read the Leo Bruce book, Prashant. It is a good mystery with a healthy dose of humour and it is available online for free.

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