Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Golden Age (10) : The Secret of High Eldersham

The Secret of High Eldersham by Miles Burton starts off a typical detective murder story in a small East Anglian village. As its a Golden Age story the police inspector is assisted by his friend who is of course an enthusiastic amateur. So far so good... then suddenly we are in a tale of witchcraft, black magic and forbidden rituals.

A few chapters later the story changes tack again (actually literally) as it becomes a mystery set in the littorals near the village, in lagoons along the coast.

All these aspects of the story are linked and come together reasonably well in the end. The pacing goes a bit off at times and the genre switching can make you think the author was a bit confused but this was one of his earlier novels. The amateur detective Merrion went on to appear in fifty nine further stories!

Monday, 17 September 2018

A tale of two Warwicks

Today I travelled to Warwick Parkway railway station, to gather some imagery which will one day feature on my Calling At stations blog of course. The main reason though was to join the Grand Union Canal which is next to the railway line and walk into Warwick itself (the Parkway station is in Budbrooke).

In the town I went to the other Warwick station (and took some photos there as well of course). So a tale of two Warwick (stations), you can see my railway photos here. You can see my canal photos here.

Sunday, 16 September 2018


My original plan for the weekend was to go to Bedford on Saturday but for various reasons that never happened. Instead I went to Evesham instead on Sunday. I have been to Evesham once before, when I was at university but that was about thirty years ago! Evesham is a nice old town with medieval and Civil War buildings though I was more interested on this brief trip by walking along the Avon. To get from Worcester to Evesham I went on the new GWR Class 800 train, which was rather nice. You can see my photos here.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Golden Age (9) : The Pit-Prop Syndicate

The two most common themes in Golden Age detective literature were the enthusiastic amateur detective and the steady plodding police professional. Ingeniously Freeman Wills Croft has combined both in this tale of smuggling and murder.

The first part of the book (the two parts are actually titled "The Amateurs" and "The Professionals") describes how a wine merchant touring South West France comes across a mysterious English lorry which for an unfathomable reason has changed it's number plate. As he investigates further with his friend he discovers mysterious goings on in a remote yard and a coaster that regularly travels to England. Are they smuggling brandy?

Eventually in part 2 the police are called in as the plot is far too dangerous for our amateurs, especially after one of the gang members is murdered in London. A complicated plot is uncovered by our Scotland Yard detective involving secret tunnels, dedicated telephone lines and other mysterious goings on. It can be quite intricate a plot at times, maybe even rather dense but enjoyable in how it all comes together. Freeman Wills Croft really did know how to write an engaging crime novel.