Resorting to Murder: Holiday Murders, edited by Martin Edwards
Holidays offer us the luxury of getting away from it all. So, in a different way, do detective stories. This collection of vintage mysteries combines both those pleasures. From a golf course at the English seaside to a pension in Paris, and from a Swiss mountain resort to the cliffs of Normandy, this new selection shows the enjoyable and unexpected ways in which crime writers have used summer holidays as a theme.
These fourteen stories range widely across the golden age of British crime fiction. Stellar names from the past are well represented Arthur Conan Doyle and G. K. Chesterton, for instance with classic stories that have won acclaim over the decades. The collection also uncovers a wide range of hidden gems: Anthony Berkeley whose brilliance with plot had even Agatha Christie in raptures is represented by a story so (undeservedly) obscure that even the British Library does not own a copy. The stories by Phyllis Bentley and Helen Simpson are almost equally rare, despite the success which both writers achieved, while those by H. C. Bailey, Leo Bruce and the little-known Gerald Findler have seldom been reprinted.
Each story is introduced by the editor, Martin Edwards, who sheds light on the authors’ lives and the background to their writing.
I kept seeing this book recommended to me by Goodreads and Amazon, so when I found a copy at the library I snatched it up. This is part of the British Library Crime Classics series, which includes reprints of some forgotten gems by popular writers of the 20th century. This book contains a collection of short stories all centered on the holiday or vacation setting. We’ve got stories at the seaside, in lonely country cottages, and in Alpine snow chalets. Some of them feature sleuths that readers might recognize from other books, like Dr. Thorndyke, Reggie Fortune, John Dollar, and of course, Sherlock Holmes.
The Holmes story, “The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot,” was the only story I had read before, and frankly, it’s not his best. All of the other stories were new to me. While I had my favorites, there really wasn’t a bad story in the whole collection. That is so rare! “The Hazel Ice” by H C Bailey and “Cousin Once Removed” by Michael Gilbert were my favorite. I also found some new authors, The funniest story was by Helen Simpson, “A Posteriori.” It’s worth hunting this collection down for that story alone! I was surprised not to see Agatha Christie in here, but I’m kind of glad they stuck to unknowns.