Sunday, September 8, 2019

The Cheltenham Square Murder by John Bude

Here is Rachmaninoff playing his own Piano Concerto no. 2.

I had the sprinkler on for four hours, naturally this happened as soon as I turned the sprinkler off.  Ah well.  The modern American rain dance is washing your car or watering your lawn.

The Cheltenham Square MurderThe Cheltenham Square Murder by John Bude
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It's always exciting to discover a new author. Of course, I always find books exciting, but coming across this book was an unexpected pleasure.

Josh and I were in Austin haunting all the independent bookstores there. I came across the Cheltenham Square Murder in a bin for a dollar. I did not know the author, but the British Library Crime Classic edition was appealing, and also, the author died in 1957, which meant his books were written during the Golden Era of mystery writing. Besides, if the book stunk, I was only out a dollar.

John Bude is now an author whose books I am going to hunt until I have them all. There's about 37 of them so I'm going to have fun for a while.

Summary, no spoilers: Meredith has come to Cheltenham to visit a friend who is a mystery writer. While there an accident occurs where a stray arrow seems to have shot through a window and unfortunately hit a man in the back of his head and killed him.

As events develop and clues emerge, it becomes apparent that perhaps it was not an accident but a murder. But who and why?

What did I like about this story? It was very well developed. Unlike many mysteries that deliver a punch at the end, Bude's characters are thinking through every new clue, every unexpected event and, even though there were quite a few turns...previous "facts" turned false because of newly uncovered evidence, which cause the suspect list to change like the colors on a chameleon.

Consequently the story really pulls you along as you keep "solving" and "re-solving" the mystery as new facts and events emerge.

Also, everybody and every action was believable. There was never a sarcastic "Right. Like that would happen" moment.

At first I was afraid the characters were going to be one-dimensional, and while the supporting cast was less developed, the main characters were immensely likable.

Which brings us to the final and probably most important reason I liked this book. The main characters, Inspector Long and Superintendent Meredith are interesting, smart, and insightful. They respect the other characters and have a good sense of humor at their own expense as much as anybody's.

I'm happy to find that Meredith will be the detective in all the other mystery stories Bude wrote. Interestingly enough, he also wrote science fiction and fantasy as well. Those aren't my favorite genres, but I'm encouraged to give Bude's work a try.

View all my reviews


mudpuddle said...

haha re car washing!! it's true! i know i've read at least one Bude and liked it/them... but they're hard to find at a reasonable price and many haven't been reprinted... i hope you can find some. they're good...

Brian Joseph said...

Nice review. A well put together mystery plus well crafted characters are an appealing combination. I had never heard of Bude before. I wonder what his science fiction is like.

I agree that discovering a new author is one of the great joys of reading.

Sharon Wilfong said...

HI mudpuddle! You're right. I have had a hard time finding affordable Bude. I'm hoping some will crop up at some book fairs or used book stores.

Sharon Wilfong said...

Hi Brian. I would be interested in finding some of Bude's SciFi.

For those of us (like you, I know) who have read so much, it is indeed exciting to find an author we have not heard of.

One way I've accomplished that is by delving into the literature of other countries and time periods I have previously not explored.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that I've never heard of or read anything from John Bude. I do admire your reading habits. My best to you. You know I really mean that too Sharon! We have a lot in common.

Sharon Wilfong said...

Hi F.B. It's always good to meet fellow readers on the internet. It's good to know that others love to read as much as I do. Have a great weekend.

Carol said...

Hi Sharon, I read 'The Lakes District Murder' by Bude when I was staying there. Also recently finished 'Death Makes a Prophet' which I loved. he was very witty with this one.

Sharon Wilfong said...

Hi Carol! Glad to hear from you again. This format is a little different for me, but as long as people get to comment, that's what counts.

I am really excited to discover a new detective series. That must have been fun reading a book about the place you were staying at. I've visited the Lake District. It is so beautiful!

I read Sherlock Holmes when I lived in England. I got out a map of London and traced all the places the mysteries took place.