The Sussex Downs Murder by John Bude
Published by British Library Crime Classics/Poisoned Pen Press
27th April 2014
'Already it looked as if the police were up against a carefully planned and cleverly executed murder, and, what was more, a murder without a corpse!'
Two brothers, John and William Rother, live together at Chalklands Farm in the beautiful Sussex Downs. Their peaceful rural life is shattered when John Rother disappears and his abandoned car is found. Has he been kidnapped? Or is his disappearance more sinister - connected, perhaps, to his growing rather too friendly with his brother's wife?
Superintendent Meredith is called to investigate - and begins to suspect the worst when human bones are discovered on Chalklands farmland. His patient, careful detective method begins slowly to untangle the clues as suspicion shifts from one character to the next.
This classic detective novel from the 1930s is now republished for the first time, with an introduction by the award-winning crime writer Martin Edwards.
The British Library Crime Classics aim to reprint and publish those classic crime novels that have been lost through the passing of time. The Sussex Downs Murder by John Bude is a great example of this genre, similar to that of my all-time favourite Agatha Christie.
John Roper's car is found abandoned off a country lane on the Sussex Downs, and he is missing - but where can he be and why would he just disappear? His brother William is none the wiser, and Superintendent Meredith is brought in to investigate this mystery. As he digs deeper into John Roper's life, he is soon aware that his relationship with his sister-in-law seems to be rather too friendly, and it's not long before human bones are discovered in the area.
One clue leads to another and soon Superintendent Meredith and his team have a number of suspects, but still no body as such. What did happen to John Roper, and why? Superintendent Meredith is a great detective, he is wry and amusing and ultimately good at his job, but as with most fictional detectives, he does things in his own peculiar way. This is a perfect Sunday afternoon armchair read for lovers of classic crime fiction. I wasn't disappointed.