Thursday, May 9, 2019

“A Cotswolds Murder” by Roy Lewis

Chuck Lindop manages a site for vans in the English Cotswolds. The site is what Americans would call a trailer park. He’s something of a bully, and he’s always willing to take advantage of women. He also never seems to be around when the owner of the site comes around to look at the books. And the books need looking at.

When Lindop’s body is found on the site, his head bashed by an iron pipe, the suspects abound. And the reader of this rather classic mystery story thinks he knows who did the deed. As it turns out, the reader may know less than he thinks he does, even knowing many of the facts.

Is the killer the young man bullied by Lindop, the young man whose wife started labor the night of the murder? Was it the woman in another van who had been shamefully taken advantage of? Was it the man whose wife had run off after a fling with Lindop? Or was it some of the criminal types in the area who seem to have had themselves mixed up with the dead manager?

Roy Lewis
Inspector Crow of Scotland Yard arrives, to help the local police. He painstakingly recreates the timing of the crime, and where everyone was. He discovers that virtually all of the suspects had an alibi. The crime looks insoluble.

A Cotswolds Murder by Roy Lewis begins as something that reads like a serious literary novel and then becomes a vintage mystery story, It was first published in 1975 under the title of A Part of Virtue, and it’s now been republished along with several other Inspector Crow mysteries.

Lewis is also the other of some 60 other mysteries, novels, and short story collections. His Inspector Crow series includes A Lover Too ManyMurder in the Mine,The Woods MurderError of Judgment, and Murder for Money, among others. He lives in northern England. 

The reader of A Cotswolds Murder thinks he knows the killer’s identity almost from the beginning; it seems this will be a mystery of how the detective unravels the crime. But it changes several times, with a final twist that delivers a punch.

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