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The Port of London Murders (1938)

af Josephine Bell

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1165231,937 (3.94)11
"A suicide, a derelict barge, and floating pink chiffon nightdresses... When the San Angelo drifts into port in the Pool of London, telephones begin to ring across the capital and an intricate series of events is set in motion. Beset by dreadful storms in the Bay of Biscay, the ship, along with the "mixed cargo" it carries, is late. Unaware of the machinations of avaricious importers, wayward captains, and unscrupulous traders, docklands residents Harry Reed and June Harvey are thrust together by a riverside accident, before being swept into the current of a dark plot developing on the harborside. First published in 1938, this early novel from one of the great Golden Age mystery writers skillfully delivers a compelling tale of murder set against a gritty portrayal of life alongside the Thames. This edition also includes an Introduction by series editor CWA Diamond Dagger-Award winning author Martin Edwards"--… (mere)
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» Se også 11 omtaler

Viser 5 af 5
Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss. ( )
  fernandie | Sep 15, 2022 |
‘’It was quite dark now, but lights twinkled everywhere, making bright oath across the black water. And far away on all sides, a red and orange glow covered the sky, shining steadily on the vast labyrinth of London.’’

The San Angelo arrives in the Pool of London and sets a rather peculiar (and exciting for us readers) chain of events in motion. A young boy finds himself in danger and is rescued by a young man who falls in love with a brilliant girl. In the meantime, members of the upper class, corrupted salesmen and striving families complete a puzzle of murders, dark motives and...nightdresses.

Set during the harsh months of November and December, Josephine Bell (Doris Bell Collier) creates a mystery that isn’t just another Crime story but also a poignant and elegant social study within the communities living alongside Father Thames. Families suffering from constant afflictions, cramped inside suffocating rooms, girls who trust the wrong men, corrupted members of a strange society. Fast-paced and developed through a series of mysterious events, this mystery has all the proper ingredients of a good old British Crime novel. A fascinating heroine, a gallant, honest young man, agonising policemen, rich and spoiled young women, unreliable suitors. June and Harry are wonderful characters, but the real protagonist of London and the many forms of its gritty, secretive underbelly.

Beautiful Introduction by Martin Edwards, as always.

I want a BBC/ITV series dedicated to the amazing British Library Crime Classics squad and I want it now!

‘’The side streets are empty except for the piles of rubbish left by the stalls and swept into heaps against the curb. The main road is empty too. A few dirty papers blow backwards and forwards across it, a few people in Sunday clothes walk slowly along the pavement; a few trams clank past bearing visitors to distant families, uncomfortable in stiff collars and unyielding best shoes. The blocks of houses and shops, equally closed and silent, look drearier than ever.’’

My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.wordpress.com/ ( )
  AmaliaGavea | Jul 12, 2021 |
I'm willing to believe that, as one of her first novels, this is not Josephine Bell's best. I found the plot heavy going, and felt as if I struggled to finish it. There were however some clever plot strands and interesting characters, perhaps a few too many of them. The setting seems to be contemporary with its original publication, and the picture it paints of life in the slums on the London wharves is arresting.

Perhaps someone has a recommendation for my next read? ( )
  smik | Apr 7, 2021 |
Josephine Bell was also a physician, so not surprisingly, her novels often feature a strong medical component, not the least of which were two of her doctor-protagonists. She also featured poison and other unusual methods of murder prominently in her plots. Bell and her family were experienced sailors, and the author drew upon this knowledge, too, using many vivid passages in her books that relate to the water and to various nautical details.

Water is certainly at THE PORT OF LONDON MURDERS from 1938, specifically as the title suggests, the port area of London's River Thames. It's a tough neighborhood, but the death of one Mary Holland is still a bit of a shock, even though it appears at first to be a suicide by Lysol poisoning. Tell-tale needle marks on the victim's arm lead Detective Sergeant Chandler to suspect murder tied into a drug ring—which seems even more chillingly apparent when Chandler disappears shortly after he starts to investigate, right before he's due to testify at the inquest. It's up to Inspector Mitchell of Scotland Yard to unravel the layers of deception and addiction that are exploiting rich and poor alike in a way that hasn't changed much in the seventy years since the book was written.

Bell is particularly good with settings, even the squalid ones that pop up in the novel, no doubt witnessed first-hand in her role as a physician who saw people from every walk of life. Her take on the state of medicine in her day was often somewhat bleak. ( )
  BVLawson | May 24, 2014 |
A little gritty for my taste but good plot ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 26, 2013 |
Viser 5 af 5
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Bell, Josephineprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Edwards, MartinIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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"A suicide, a derelict barge, and floating pink chiffon nightdresses... When the San Angelo drifts into port in the Pool of London, telephones begin to ring across the capital and an intricate series of events is set in motion. Beset by dreadful storms in the Bay of Biscay, the ship, along with the "mixed cargo" it carries, is late. Unaware of the machinations of avaricious importers, wayward captains, and unscrupulous traders, docklands residents Harry Reed and June Harvey are thrust together by a riverside accident, before being swept into the current of a dark plot developing on the harborside. First published in 1938, this early novel from one of the great Golden Age mystery writers skillfully delivers a compelling tale of murder set against a gritty portrayal of life alongside the Thames. This edition also includes an Introduction by series editor CWA Diamond Dagger-Award winning author Martin Edwards"--

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