Sunday, January 3, 2021

Death Drops the Pilot (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #25)


Death Drops the Pilot is the 25th Inspector Littlejohn mystery by George Bellairs. Originally published in 1956, this reformat and re-release from Agora Books is 280 pages and available in ebook format (other editions available in other formats). It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. For Kindle Unlimited subscribers, this book (and the other Agora editions) are currently included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free.

The Inspector Littlejohn books are silver age classics and always deliver a diverting and engaging read. George Bellairs was a master of intricate plot construction and this entry wears its age (nearly 65 years) surprisingly well although this entry is darker than the average for the series. This volume sees DI Littlejohn and his bagman Sgt Cromwell trying to get to the bottom of the disappearance and murder of a ferry captain (mid-trip) whilst sorting out skullduggery and leftover wartime secrets. The plotting is twisty and readers will need to pay attention to have any hope of figuring out whodunnit before Littlejohn & co. This one works fine as a standalone, and readers don't need to have read the previous books in the series to keep up with the plot.

It's really lovely to see these gems being dusted off and re-released to new generations of readers. Bellairs (Harold Blundell) was a gifted writer and a technical master of construction.

Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.  

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