Many thanks go to Net Galley and to the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, for allowing me access to an advance readers copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
It's time for some more British Library Crime Classics, this time in the form of two George Bellairs stories in one volume, The Dead Shall be Raised and The Murder of a Quack. I've reviewed the two stories separately, but given a single rating for the complete volume.
The Dead Shall be Raised
After the body of a man accused of murder more than 20 years earlier is discovered on the Yorkshire Moors, Inspector Littlejohn spend his Christmas holiday trying to find just who killed him and who was the original murderer. This will prove to be a tough test of Littlejohn's intelligence, but with the help of the local constabulary and some well meaning locals, he finds a way to crack the case.
I really enjoyed this story. The idea of a cold case in modern detective stories is certainly not a new one, but in the 40's, during the war, it was more difficult to find the resources to carry out an investigation. Littlejohn, as a character, is no Sherlock Holmes or Poirot, but he is relentless is his pursuit of justice. The outcome of this case wasn't too surprising, but the story was very cleverly done, given the setting and the time.
I would have liked this story to be a little longer, maybe to have a volume of it's own, but that is the only real drawback.
The Murder of a Quack
When the body of a boneman (a kind of unqualified doctor) is discovered hanging in his own surgery, having apparently been strangled first, Inspector Littlejohn is called in to solve the murder. There are few people with an obvious motive, and those that do have seemingly strong alibis. But the inspector does his job the only way he knows how and finally solves the case.
Again, this story is really enjoyable. I especially liked the character descriptions, showing the reader all the negative pints about each character as well as the good. However, this also makes it quite clear who the murderer is. Despite this, it was a good read, as we follow the inspector trying to get all the evidence he needs against his chief suspect.
Again, it would be nice had this been longer, but it is still a great example of golden age crime writing.
Overall, this book is a great addition to the series and I would recommend anyone to read this book.
Star rating: 4/5
This book will be published on 3rd October 2017