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The Billiard-Room Mystery
Anthony Bathurst Mystery – Book I
By Brian Flynn

Dean Street Press
7 October 2019/ ASIN: B07W8B1G1Y

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde 


Sir Charles is holding his annual cricket week at his home Considine Manor in Sussex. The usual people are there doing the usual things, until something very unusual occurs – a murder! A body is found in the billiard room and Lady Considine’s pearls are missing. Can the dogged Inspector Baddeley discover whodunit, or will the urbane Anthony Bathurst beat him to the solution?

Brian Flynn was one of the less well known authors from the Golden Age of mysteries. This was his first novel and it dates from 1927, the events in it being set a few years earlier. In his day he was very popular, and now modern readers can sample his novels as Dean Street Press is releasing the first ten in ebook and paperback editions. They have introductions by their online champion from the blog In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel and unlike the very rare original copies that are occasionally on sale these all cost modest prices. So what is the fuss about? This truly is a classic example of this type of mystery novel and it comes complete with all the expected elements (plus some unexpected ones) The house party, mostly upper class guests, unusual murder weapon, a trawler load of red herrings, clever detective versus the police and plenty of “fair play” clues. Anthony Bathurst is a bit like a less febrile Lord Peter Wimsey, a man who comes across as being his own biggest fan. His huge ego did get to grate after a while, but he does not work against the police but with them, albeit hoping to get there first. A modern historical novel set in the period would make much of the recent war and have it cast some obvious long shadows. This is not a part of this novel as such, but in the overly jolly, sometimes rather frantic behaviour of some of the characters there is a feeling of making up for lost time and of having a good time while they can; very 1920s. I did guess whodunit towards the end but there are plenty of suspects and I am keen indeed to read another. If you have read all the usual, easy to obtain golden age mystery authors and want to sample something in the same style do check out Dean Street Press in general, and this book in particular.

UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in The Bead Magazine, Making Jewellery and
Reviewed 2019