Monday, June 22, 2020

He'd Rather Be Dead (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #9)

He'd Rather Be Dead is the 9th Inspector Littlejohn mystery by George Bellairs. Originally released in 1945, this reformat and rerelease by Agora is 245 pages and available in ebook format (earlier 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 is included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free.

This is an engagingly written and well constructed golden age mystery. Full of well rendered characters, it proceeds from the murder of a universally loathed crass and mean spirited mayor at an official luncheon through the winnowing of a whole stable of potential murderers by Inspector Littlejohn. The dialogue, though admittedly a product of its time, is well written and urbane, lightly witty and humorous. Although I have enjoyed all the Littlejohn mysteries, this one does work quite well as a standalone, and it's not necessary to have read the other books.

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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