Sunday, August 08, 2021

E C R Lorac - Two-Way Murder

Despite Martin Edwards' best efforts it would be fair to say I have not read much classic crime fiction other than that by Agatha Christie, and a few by D L Sayers. However like a very large ship I am slowly turning in the right direction.

Last year I reviewed Anthony Gilbert's Death in Fancy Dress and earlier this year I listened to the Shedunnit podcast featuring E C R Lorac. I believe I chose this particular episode to download as author Sarah Ward featured on it. Sarah gave a talk at 'Bodies in the Library 2019' about E C R Lorac, a prolific author but of whom little is now known. 

You can read the transcript of the episode or listen to it at Shedunnit.

Fortunately the British Library has published several of Lorac's books as well as Crossed Skis which was released under her pseudonym of Carol Carnac.

I rootled round my library's catalogue and saw that they had several books including from 2021, Two-Way Murder, which I promptly reserved. I was surprised to find out in the introduction by Martin Edwards that this is its first publication, having been written shortly before the author's death in 1958.

I enjoyed Two-Way Murder very much. Initially I was worried that I'd chosen something very similar to Death in Fancy Dress as both seemed to feature a significant Ball and a young lady every man wanted to marry. Fortunately that wasn't the case.

Two-Way Murder revolves around the discovery of a body in the road, a road that was clear only a few hours earlier and a road very lightly used. The police struggle to even identify the body let alone how he came to be in the road.  All the main characters have alibis for the estimated time of death and the local police are stumped until Inspector Waring from CID is brought in and he has a brainwave.

The story is narrated from several points of view but even so they are quite cagey with the reader so even if the 'who' is guessable/deducible then I don't think the "why" is. This does not detract from an atmospheric whodunnit, set in a chilly, misty January on the English south coast. 

I shall be seeking out more by this author.

No comments: