Corpses in Enderby (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #22)
by George Bellairs
Ned Bunn wasn’t popular in the sleepy village of Enderby. But when he is murdered in plain sight, on the doorstep of his own shop, the town is left reeling.
With the murder weapon in hand and no shortage of motives, Inspector Littlejohn of Scotland Yard is expecting an easy case. But one look at the victim’s family reveals a tangled web of secrets and deceit and the looming threat of another murder.
As the case unravels Littlejohn finds himself faced with in an unexpected dilemma. Someone clearly has a vendetta against the Bunn family but is the enemy a stranger… or does the danger lie within?
“Corpses in Enderby” is my second George Bellairs read. I enjoyed the whodunit style story “A Knife for Harry Dodd” so looked forward to getting in to solve another mystery with Chief Inspector Littlejohn.
In a quiet English town, Ned Bunn is murdered in the street. Ned wasn’t a great guy and a lot of people have reason to dislike him, so which of them is responsible for his death?
“.. the Bunns gave one another alibis again. A proper home-loving lot, quarrelling like Kilkenny cats among themselves in private, but a close, compact mass in trouble.”
I liked the style of writing and enjoyed the mystery for the most part. As in my other Bellairs read, I fell for old-fashioned Britishness of this story and this small town crime entertained me for a couple of days.
I found it a little tricky to keep up with all of the (quirky and unlikable) characters in Ned’s large family but to be completely honest, the names weren’t that important and I found I was able to understand and follow the story regardless.
“With one of two rare exceptions, all the Bunn blood had faces like pug-dogs and their partners in marriage looked like their owners exhibiting them.”
This is a quick old-fashioned read for fans of a murder mystery. If you’ve never read any Bellairs, I don’t think I would recommend that you start with this one. Out of the two I’ve read, I think you’d be best reading “A Knife for Harry Dodd” over or before this one.
Overall rating: “Corpses in Enderby” is another good piece of 1950s detective fiction by George Bellairs. This is a nice story, but just an okay 3 star read for me. I won’t be ruling out Bellairs’ books in the future though (there are loads more for me to read!)
See my other reviews of books by George Bellairs here: