|Title:||An English Murder|
|Publisher:||Faber and Faber|
|Tags:||Christmas, fiction, mystery, film adaptation|
This novel is very much in the tradition of Golden Age detective fiction, and is therefore likely to appeal to fans of the more 'cosy' murder mystery. A group of guests gather in a large country house, owned by the dying Lord Warbeck, who wants what is left of his family around him to celebrate what he assumes will be his last Christmas.
The guests are a motley bunch, including Sir Julius Warbeck, Chancellor of the Exchequer, the wife of one of his underlings, the fascist son of the present Lord Warbeck, and the Chancellor's bodyguard. Also present is foreign historian Dr Bottwink, and the traditional faithful butler.
When the first murder occurs, the house is cut off from the rest of the world by a heavy snowfall, and it is left to Sir Julius's bodyguard to initiate a preliminary investigation before contact can be made with the local police force. [Suggest a different description.]
Author Bio for Clark, Alfred Alexander Gordon
Alfred Alexander Gordon Clark (4 September 1900 – 25 August 1958) was an English judge and crime writer under the pseudonym Cyril Hare.
Gordon Clark's pseudonym was a mixture of Hare Court, where he worked in the chambers of Roland Oliver, and Cyril Mansions, Battersea, where he lived after marrying Mary Barbara Lawrence (see Lawrence baronets, Ealing Park) in 1933. They had one son, Charles Philip Gordon Clark (clergyman, later dry stone waller), and two daughters, Alexandra Mary Gordon Clark (Lady Wedgwood FSA, architectural historian, see Wedgwood baronets) and Cecilia Mary Gordon Clark (Cecilia Snell, musician, who married Roderick Snell).
As a young man and during the early days of the Second World War, Gordon Clark toured as a judge's marshal, an experience he used in Tragedy at Law. Between 1942 and 1945 he worked at the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. At the beginning of the war he served a short time at the Ministry of Economic Warfare, and the wartime civil service with many temporary members appears in With a Bare Bodkin. In 1950 he was appointed county court judge in Surrey. His best-known novel is Tragedy at Law, in which he drew on his legal expertise and in which he introduced Francis Pettigrew, a not very successful barrister who in this and four other novels just happens to elucidate aspects of the crime. His professional detective (they appeared together in three novels, and only one has neither of them present) was a large and realistic police officer, Inspector Mallett, with a vast appetite.
Tragedy at Law has never been out of print, and Marcel Berlins described it in 1999 as "still among the best whodunnits set in the legal world." P. D. James went further and wrote that it "is generally acknowledged to be the best detective story set in that fascinating world." Of his other full-length novels, Suicide Excepted shows a man committing an almost perfect murder, only to find that a quirk of the insurance laws deprives him of the reward.--Wikipedia.
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