Bodies from the Library 4: Forgotten Stories of Mystery and Suspense by the Queens of Crime and Other Masters of the Golden Age

Edited by Tony Medawar. Collins Crime Club, $16.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-00-838097-7
The bulk of the 17 selections in Medawar’s excellent fourth anthology of traditional crime fiction were either unpublished or never collected. Highlights include Shadowed Sunlight, a brilliant Christianna Brand novel unavailable for more than 75 years, and the previously unpublished script of a radio play by H.C. Bailey, “The Only Husband,” featuring his series sleuth Reggie Fortune, who inspired S.S. Van Dine’s better-known Philo Vance. Every story is top-notch, including six originally published in a British newspaper from authors who had to base short mysteries linked to cryptic drawings containing clues, such as an image of a goblet on top of an anvil. But the standout is a never before seen gem from Edmund Crispin, “Child’s Play,” in which the four charges of a newly hired governess include an orphan who recently moved in with her three cousins after her parents died. The crime at its heart—and Crispin’s way of disclosing it—is a genuine gut punch that will linger long after the book’s finished. This is a treasure trove for golden age fans. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 11/23/2021
Release date: 10/01/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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