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There are rumblings throughout the campus of the University of Calleshire, talk of a sit-in, of revolt, of H? Chí Minh, of discontent. Malcolm Humbert has been expelled, and the students are livid. Meanwhile, the faculty is equally out of sorts—Hilda Linaker just wants to finish her treatise on Jane Austen, Bernard Watkinson is tired of dealing with the female students’ vehement—and possibly dangerous—opinions, and Simon Mautby can’t find a lab tech to help with his ecology experiments. When someone breaks into a dorm room, leaving behind little evidence but a single kernel of corn, it’s time to call in the police.
But no one—not the professors, the students, or even the great detective C. D. Sloan—could have predicted murder. A young woman finds a second-year student slumped against a cloister’s column, covered in blood. Before he dies, he manages to breathe the words “twenty-six minutes.”
The brilliant and acerbic inspector C. D. Sloan, recently reunited with his assistant, Detective Constable Crosby, must connect a seemingly unrelated burglary to a senseless murder—with nothing more to go on than those eerie last words.
Early one morning in the quiet English village of Larking, the body of a woman named Mrs. Jenkins is found in the road. Miles away, her daughter, Henrietta, receives the bad news while working in the university library. Poor Mrs. Jenkins appears to have been the victim of a horrible car accident.
When an autopsy proves not only that this was no accident but also that Mrs. Jenkins had never had a child, young Henrietta’s life is thrown upside down. If she’s not Mrs. Jenkins’s daughter, then who is she? It’s up to Detective Inspector C. D. Sloan of the Calleshire police force to bring the murderer to justice—and a sense of order back to Henrietta’s life.
Proclaimed by the New York Times in 1968 to be one of the year’s best books, Henrietta Who? is a first-order English whodunit that’ll keep you guessing until the end.
It is the early 1970s, and times are tough in the upper reaches of British society. To survive the changing times, the Earl of Ornum has done the previously unthinkable and opened his estate to wandering tourists. One day, a hyperactive little boy and his family are roaming Ornum House delightedly. The curious tyke sees a full suit of armor and lifts the visor . . . only to see a face staring out at him.
As Detective Inspector C. D. Sloan soon finds, the man in the suit of armor is dead—and there’s a slew of suspects waiting to be interviewed. Was it the ditzy duchess? The disappointing nephew? One of the servants? The earl himself? It’s up to Sloan and his wisecracking sidekick, Detective Constable Crosby, to find out before the murderer strikes again.
That Miss Beatrice Wansdyke had died is not particularly surprising. A chemistry mistress at the Girls’ Grammar School in Berebury, she was a longtime sufferer of diabetes who managed to live her modest life to a ripe old age. But one thing is odd—Beatrice Wansdyke died a very wealthy woman. What was an old schoolteacher doing with a small fortune?
Meanwhile, Detective Inspector C. D. Sloan, Calleshire’s finest investigator, learns he is about to become a father. But with ominous players hell-bent on pursuing Miss Wansdyke’s money, will Sloan live to see his child’s first birthday?
The day begins like any other for Sister Mary St. Gertrude. When her alarm sounds at 5 a.m., Sister Mary begins rousting her convent sisters from their beds, starting with the Reverend Mother. Down the Order she goes with a knock and a warm blessing. But when the young nun reaches Sister Anne’s door, there is no answer. She assumes that Sister Anne got up early, and continues on her way.
But later, when a fellow nun leaves a bloody thumbprint on the sheet music for a hymn, and Sister Anne is nowhere to be found, it becomes apparent that something is very wrong. Then Sister Anne’s body is found at the bottom of a steep set of stairs, her veil askew and her head crushed.
Religious Body introduces the sophisticated Detective Inspector C. D. Sloan along with his eager and trustworthy sidekick, Detective Constable Crosby, and the acerbic Superintendent Leeyes in a mystery of holy proportions that will have readers guessing until the last page.
What’s the value of one British engineer when stacked against the exclusive mining rights to a rare, strategically important, and extremely valuable mineral?
The British-based Anglo-Lassertan Mineral Company finds itself in hot water when one of its engineers, Alan Ottershaw, hits and kills a pedestrian while driving in a foreign country—a nation that happens to be “on the sunny side of the Iron Curtain,” with thick veins of the strategically important mineral querremitte. This particular country has draconian laws about killings, so Ottershaw is relieved when he’s whisked back to Calleshire before the foreign police can throw him in jail. But now that the Lassertan government is threatening to strip the mining company of its most valuable contract, poor Mr. Ottershaw begins to worry about his safety—and when he dies suddenly in a war reenactment, it looks like a very convenient solution to everyone’s problem.
A little too convenient, if you ask Calleshire detective C. D. Sloan, who, along with his bumbling sidekick, Constable Crosby, must investigate the death. It seems that nearly everyone in town would prefer to forget that the Lassertan debacle ever happened—but why has a man been following around the Calleshire MP dressed as the Grim Reaper? Who has been sending death threats and live scorpions via post? Detective Sloan is on the case.
A professional pickpocket and accomplished thief ignores his wife’s warnings and embarks on an adventure that will change his life—perhaps for the better. A technological marvel of a sports car kills a pedestrian, but no one was at the wheel. A local lunatic admits to murder, but is he crazy—or crazy smart? The life of a researcher with ties to a British spy agency is thrown into chaos when his research go missing, but the only people who could have stolen the valuable data seem to have airtight alibis.
Injury Time delivers captivating tales of intrigue wrapped in Catherine Aird’s tightly woven logic, sealed with the bow of enigma. These quick-fire mysteries run the gamut, with fresh twists on old classics and delightfully unique stories involving old friends from the C. D. Sloan Mysteries.
In her debut novel in the long-running mystery series, The Religious Body, Catherine Aird introduced the sleuthing team of shrewd Detective Inspector C. D. Sloan and his less-than-shrewd sidekick, Detective Constable William Crosby, in the fictional County of Calleshire, England. Over the course of twenty-four crime novels, the award-winning author has maintained the perfect balance between cozy village mystery and police procedural.
The Religious Body: When Sister Anne’s body is found at the bottom of a steep set of cellar stairs, her veil askew and her head crushed, it’s clear she’s been viciously attacked. Heaven help Detective Inspector Sloan as he’s called to the Convent of St. Anselm to determine why someone would want to murder a nun.
Henrietta Who?: In a quiet English village, a woman’s body is found in the road, the victim of a hit-and-run. Miles away, her daughter, Henrietta, is given the bad news. But an autopsy brings even more shocking news: Not only was Mrs. Jenkins’s death no accident, the woman never had a child. If Henrietta is not her daughter, who is she? It’s up to Detective Inspector Sloan to find out.
The Stately Home Murder: To survive financial hard times, the Earl of Ornum has opened his estate to tourists. One curious young boy sees a full suit of armor and lifts the visor . . . only to see a face staring back at him. Now Ornum House is a crime scene, with Sloan and Crosby determined to discover how a murdered man ended up in knight’s garb.
Twelve friends sit down for supper at Strontfield Park—but only eleven survive the evening. After dinner, the host, William Fent, offers to drive one of his guests home, only to die behind the wheel in a violent accident. The autopsy shows that Fent ingested enough barbiturates to kill a horse.
So begins a fresh tale of murder and deceit for Detective Inspector C. D. Sloan, whose list of suspects begins and ends with the surviving dinner guests. Among them are a theologian at the local university; Dr. and Mrs. Washby, whose wedding was the cause for celebration; Ursula Renville, tall, graceful, and utterly aloof; the fat and extravagant Mr. and Mrs. Marchmont; the spinster Miss Paterson; the rector’s daughter, Cynthia Paterson; Quentin Fent, heir to the Fent fortune; and Mr. Fent’s wife, the now-widowed Helen. Each of the guests had the opportunity to kill William Fent. But which one wanted him dead?
On the hottest day in living memory, Richard Mallory Tindall, the owner of a patent firm, does not return home to Cleete village. When a man is found crushed to death, Tindall’s case goes from missing person to homicide.
In the course of solving murder cases, Detective Inspector C. D. Sloan has seen all manner of ugly death. But there’s something particularly gruesome about this one, the body crushed beneath the marble and iron of an old Saxon church tower. With rubble blocking off access to the crime scene, no one can get close enough to inspect the body. What little evidence is available—a burned match, a black thread, an earring—doesn’t bode well for a quick and easy solution.
Even the legendarily cool-headed great detective might begin to crack when a second body turns up. And then an important file goes missing from Sloan’s office. How does it all connect?
Four strangers arrive at the solicitors’ office of Puckle, Puckle, and Nunnery. They have never met, and have no idea why they have been invited. But they – along with a missing man – are descendants of the late Algernon George Culver Mayton, the inventor of “Mayton’s Marvellous Mixture” and each entitled to a portion of the Mayton Fortune. But before they can split the money, the missing man must be found.
They begin their search, but then Detective Sloan receives a call that one of the legatees had died following an attack of food poisoning. Now detectives Sloan and Crosby must determine whether the deceased merely ingested a noxious substance by accident, or if the legatees are being picked off one-by-one. And when matters of money and family rivalry are involved, there is almost certainly foul play afoot.
The police inspector brightened. ‘I must say that any suggestion of a motive would be a help. The deceased didn’t appear to have any natural enemies.’ ‘We’ve all got natural enemies, Inspector. I think what poor Walkinshaw had were some unnatural ones.’
Last Writes is a mischievously clever compendium of twenty-two short stories from the pen of classic crime author Catherine Aird. Not only do her much-loved police duo Detective Inspector Christopher Sloan and Detective Constable William Crosby feature, but also a host of new characters including the mysterious Malcolm Venables of the Secret Service.
Full of delicious twists and turns, Last Writes is be a collection to curl up with and savour.