The Sussex Downs Murder was printed sometime in the 1930s. And these books are going to be reprinted now. I am a big fan of British mysteries. I mean, who isn’t? My fascination with Agatha Christie and M C Beaton is well known to readers here. So I grabbed the opportunity to read a resurrected English mystery.
The setting is a small British village in Sussex Downs. Chalklands is a small farm run by two brothers John and William. William is married and John is friendly with his wife. One day John leaves for a vacation and then just disappears. His car is found stranded and there is evidence of foul play. Superintendent Meredith enters the scene. He is a hard boiled police man, a detective. He sets about methodically questioning people and looking for clues.
A few days later, some bones are discovered which turn out to be body parts. Now this is the part of the book I did not like. There is entirely too much graphic detail about the kind of bones, the number of bones, the state they are found in etc. Not something I want to read in a detective novel. It is indicated that said bones belong to John. So the missing person turns into a murder.
There are many astonishing things like why it took John a certain amount of time to reach the place the car was found, how much gasoline the car contains, why John was friendly with his sister in law, where he went on vacation etc. The reader will enjoy discovering new twists in the plot every few pages.
I guessed what the mystery was all about mid way through the book, but I still had to read till the end to find out if I was right. Meredith is a quirky character as befits a good fictional detective. He likes his meals, that man, and his wife is very particular that he doesn’t miss his supper.
If you like mystery stories set in the ‘golden age’ of detective fiction, you will definitely enjoy reading The Sussex Downs Murder by John Bude.