Murder in Piccadilly: A British Library Crime Classic
By: Charles Kingston
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publishing Date: May 2015
Reviewed by Mary Lignor
Review Date: May 2015
Here is another offering from the British Library Crime Classics series (see my review for The Sussex Downs Murder). This book, Murder in Piccadilly, by Charles Kingston was originally released in 1936 and has been re-released by Poisoned Pen Press. For those who like English mysteries it is a real find and also those readers who are not really keen on English mysteries; try this one. It is a very well written book and the mystery is a good one.
The story begins in an older part of London that will remind British readers of a drawing room mystery, something like “Clue.” One of the main characters, Massy Cheldon, is the owner of a country estate worth many, many pounds. Massy is head of the family, not married nor does he have any children. He’s visiting his widowed sister-in-law and lording it over her and her son Bobbie, who is the next in line to be owner of the country estate. Bobbie is also wishing his uncle a short life. Sister-in-law Ruby has spoiled her son rotten and as Bobbie has just announced to the two of them that he is in love with Nancy Curzon, a nightclub dancer, and wishes to marry her, his mother and uncle are not happy. This is not a great thing as he has no job (his mother thinks that Uncle Massy should just give him money that he will eventually inherit). Uncle Massy does not agree.
Bobbie knows that the girl of his dreams has stated that she doesn’t want a husband with a job! Nancy said: “I don’t want to marry a man with a job. I want to marry a man who can afford to do without one.” She obviously has her eye on marrying a rich man and thinks that Bobbie is that man. She doesn’t realize that he won’t have any money until his uncle dies and Bobbie is thinking that he just must find a way to become wealthy without actually earning it. Enter Nosey Ruslin, who has a plan to help Bobbie out. Unfortunately, Uncle Massy meets his maker and as it happened in a London tube station there are lots of witnesses but no one saw anything.
The law is pretty sure that Bobbie wouldn’t have the smarts to kill anyone but his friend Nosey might. This novel is full of entertainment for the 2015 reader with a very surprising ending too.
Quill says: Recommended for all readers young and old; and not just for British Crime writing fans.