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The Quilty Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

Entertaining Golden Age Mystery

The Cornish Coast Murder - John Bude

Taking more than a few cues from Murder at the Vicarage, published in 1930, Bude's 1935 mystery is quite entertaining if a bit derivative.


I love books set on the coast of Cornwall - and this one is also set in March, so it has all of the blustery, windswept charm that we might expect. The vicar and the doctor in the village of Boscawen spend their evenings reading detective novels by the fireside. When real murder intrudes, the Vicar is delighted with the opportunity to exercise his skills in assisting the local Inspector in his investigation.


I've now read several from the British Library Crime Classics series, and I've found Bude to be among the best of the writers. I also enjoyed his Death on the Riviera, and thought that this one had an even stronger mystery. I will admit, however, that none of the books, so far, have even approached Christie's mastery. The writing in them tends to be workmanlike at best, and at times positively awkward. No one manages pacing as well as she did, and her ability to describe a character using ten words is unparalleled.


I keep hoping to find another Agatha Christie, but I'm compelled, at this point, to admit that perhaps she was, in fact, the unassailable Queen, sharing her title with no one. This one is enjoyable, but it's no Poirot.