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This thirties crime novel is available on Gutenberg Australia. Caroline, who has been sharing a small flat with her sister and brother-in-law and feels she's in the way, finds a job as a games mistress at a girls' school. Because she is the unacademic one of a clever family, the Beloved Fool, who can't qualify as a teacher because she can't pass exams, she's lucky to find a job at all. When Caroline arrives at the school she finds that the intimidating matron is implicated in the death of the previous games mistress and has too much control over the school principal. By uncovering the matron's incompetence, Carolina puts herself at risk.
Ethel Lina White wrote The Wheel Spins on which Hitchcock's film The Lady Vanishes ( on Tubi, if you're interested) was based. It's is the best of the books of hers that I've read.
I liked The Third Eye for: the eerie atmosphere; the Silverline bus, which dominated the second half of the book; Carolina finding a job instead of moaning about being poor; the fabulous names of two other important characters, Blanche Bat a.k.a Miss Bat of Bat House, and the matron, Miss Yaxley-Moore.
I was not engaged by the plot, and was more interested in reading about living conditions after the war. One of the characters is a petty criminal who is part of a ring that trades in clothing coupons. Because he is a coward, he has moved from London to the north of England. Another character gives away secrets of his background during the long nights of duty as an air raid warden, when there is often not much to do but talk to ones colleagues.
Giles Hogget, a farmer, owns a cottage which the family uses for holidays in the summer time. When he visits it to check that it is in condition to survive the coming winter, he finds evidence that a stranger has been there. On checking inside he finds a number of things missing, and becomes concerned that a crime has been committed, so he writes to Inspector MacDonald in London. MacDonald finds an excuse to come to Lancashire, and ends up investigating the crime.
I would recommend this book for the descriptions of the Lancashire countryside and the details of life after the war, but not for the plot or the characters.
A man is discovered in the ocean, in Germany, still alive but with a damaged face and a serious head wound. He eventually recovers physically, but after many months has no idea who he is. He adopts the name of a doctor who treats him, adopts a kind elderly woman as an aunt, and finds work. he believes he is German.
This spy story is set mainly in Germany in 1938. Hitler is in power. I can't say more because it would be too easy to give away the plot, which is breathtakingly ludicrous. It romps along and, if you can suspend disbelief, is an entertaining read.
This was an unsatisfactory mystery.
Alured Dalmaine is on holiday in Switzerland when he runs across his tiresome and demanding cousin who drags him off to a school concert to see her daughter in a tableau. Part of that same tableau is the lovely Helga, a young teacher at the school. She asks Dal to seek out her sister Ida, who is living near Dal with her much older husband. Ida has replied to none of Helga's letters, and Helga is worried.
On the train returning to England, Dal meets a pleasant little man, Hooper, who has received a huge legacy from a cousin he has never met. He is off to stay at a swish hotel near Dal's home, where he has invited his other cousins, all seven of them, for a free holiday. Coincidentally, two of Dal's cousins, including the one he me in Switzerland, turn out to be related to Hooper.
Two people are murdered but I won't say who in case, as I do, people like to guess who the victim will be. The plot hinges too much on coincidence, but I liked Dal and the journalist friend covering Hooper's murder. This was a pleasant, undemanding read.
This British Library Crime Classic was first published in 1938. The best things about it are the descriptions of the docks, the Thames, the fog, the crumbling houses in the poor back streets, and how welfare and the health system work. The worst things are the plot and most of the characters. The plot involves smuggling and is quite silly. I saw no need for the complication of the pink night dresses, except that the lingerie shop gave some of he characters a place to work.
I am another fan of Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver mysteries.
Despite my disorientation, I like the idea of expanding beyond "Golden Age" very much. We could make the criteria anything published 40 or more years ago, which would be 1981 and earlier this year, 1982 next year, and so on. What do you think?
People younger than you and I might classify anything last century as vintage!
Richard Garth, the heir to the Garth family farm, has returned secretly after 25 years away. Did he kill his father, with whom he argued so bitterly many years ago? Or was it his sister, who keeps the farm running profitably despite her father's refusal to pay her a wage or buy her a bull? Perhaps it was the middle brother who returned penniless from Malaya, or the youngest brother, a sensitive young man who hates his father. Could the murderer be the local farmer who bears an old and bitter grudge? The answer is obvious, really.
As usual for Lorac, there are loving descriptions of the landscape and cursory character development. The policeman, MacDonald, is the only person with a personality.
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