SUCH IS DEATH by Leo Bruce


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Here, schoolteacher-sleuth Carolus Deene (Death at St. Asprey's School) is up against a murder that the reader knows from the start is without a motive. A bludgeoned body is found one cold and windy night in an isolated shelter on the promenade at resort town Selby-on-Sea, not far from Deene's school. The victim turns out to be Ernest Rafter, member of a prominent local family, long thought to have died in WW II about 20 years before, a collaborator with the Japanese whose ""resurrection"" would bring no joy. The family engages Deene to investigate, which he does mostly from the hotel bar where Rafter was last seen alive and where he gets lots of help from gossipy barmaid Doris. Tediously interviewing everyone seen on the promenade that fateful night, along with family members, Deene is clueless until nagging Bells Lobbin, wife of a local shopkeeper and bar habitual, is found by her long-suffering husband, dead of hammer blows. At this point Deene's tentative theory gains muscle, and with friend Detective Inspector John Moore providing the nuts and bolts, the case is soon closed. Slow, very slow, with long, dull stretches, but mildly intriguing for fans of the British traditional.

Pub Date: May 9th, 1986
Publisher: Academy Chicago