Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Johnny Under Ground: Patricia Moyes

Patricia Moyes wrote nineteen mysteries starring Inspector Henry Tibbett between 1959 and 1993. Inspector Tibbett and his wife Emmy were a well-known fictional sleuthing couple at that time, and many readers still enjoy the books. I read most of the books during that time period, and loved them all. Rereading this book was a joy.

If I remember correctly, most of the mysteries in this series do not start out as normal police investigations. Often they originate during or from some event in the Tibbett's lives.  They may be on vacation and a murder occurs, that type of thing. That is not always true, however, as in Murder a la Mode (covered here and here by Moira at Clothes in Books).

In this mystery, Johnny Under Ground, Emmy Tibbett plays a much larger part than usual. The mystery revolves around an event in her past. Emmy attends the reunion of officers, RAF and WAAF, who served at Dymfield. She was just nineteen when she was stationed there, and had a crush on one of the RAF officers, who later died tragically. After the reunion, Emmy is asked to help write a history of Dymfield. Her partner in the writing project dies, possibly a suicide but maybe not. It is assumed that someone is trying to keep a secret from the past buried. Henry, of course, is concerned for Emmy's safety and gets involved in the investigation.

This book is one of my favorite of the series because of the the focus on Britain during World War II and how the war affected peoples lives. The book was published in 1965 and looks back at a time twenty years earlier.

The review of Johnny Under Ground at In Reference to Murder gives some of Patricia Moyes' background, including her work during the war as a flight officer in the WAAF. Obviously Moyes used her experiences in writing this book. At Rue Morgue Press, there is an article with even more information about her life, written by Katherine Hall Page.

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Publisher:  Henry Holt and Co., 1987. Orig. pub. 1965.
Length:     253 pages
Format:     Paperback
Series:      Inspector Henry Tibbett, #6
Setting:     UK
Genre:      Mystery
Source:    I purchased my copy. 

20 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Me too, Patti. I picked this book to reread first because I could remember how much I liked it years ago.

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  2. I'm reminded of a Delano Ames book that I read recently Corpse Diplomatique which featured an amateur sleuthing married couple....Jane and Dagobert, I think. I wasn't overwhelmed by that so will pass on this one. Obviously similar, but different, but it's not calling out to me.

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    1. I cannot remember if I have read Corpse Diplomatique but I have read others in that series (a long time ago of course). I plan to reread the first in the series and Moira sent me a copy of the 2nd one, so I hope to get to those soon. My reading is over-planned for the rest of the year.

      You might like this one because it is set partially around the war and because it has some sort of sleazy characters, but in general I don't think the Tibbett series is for you.

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    2. I don't think there's much comparison between the series, Col, the Moyes books are superior.

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    3. Richard, thanks for the input - I may have another look, if that's the case. I'm not too fussed about revisiting Ames in all honesty, but the TBR pile is a bit out of control and I ought to swear off acquiring more books from new authors (or even old ones)!

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  3. What a great choice, Tracy! The Tibbetts are a terrific couple, and I do like Emmy as a character. And you're right; WWII England is a great context for a mystery.

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    1. I like the Tibbett's too, Margot, and the way that Patricia Moyes tells a story.

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  4. I haven't read anything by this author but this seems right up my street, thanks.

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    1. I really do think this series and especially this book would be your type of book, Katrina. I hope you try it out.

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  5. Thanks for the shoutout Tracy. I read this one ages ago and don't remember much about it, but it is on my shelf so I may have to re-read it now...

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    1. I had fond memories of this one, Moira. So I picked it first for a reread. But I am eager to try some other earlier ones and some of the books where they are vacationing. And they are a fast read.

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  6. One of my favorite authors. I've read them all - yes, this is a particularly good one - and liked them all. Great FFB choice, Tracy.

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    1. Glad to hear that, Richard. My dilemma now is fitting some of these in with all the other books I have planned to read. Now that I am reminded how much I liked them.

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  7. Now this is one I missed, Tracy. I recently read a bunch of Moyes books for the first time - had never read anything by her before. (Well, reading something for the first time would indicate that, Yvette.) At any rate, I enjoyed the books I read and though Mrs. Tibbett got on my nerves occasionally, on the whole I would read any other Moyes book I came across. I'm definitely going to look for this one. I do like that cover too. Maybe I'll get lucky.

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    1. The cover is very nice, Yvette. I think I had that in a different version and when I saw this edition at a book sale, I had to have it.

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  8. A new writer and this one sounds great. Thank you for the introduction.

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    1. This author is sort of like a bridge between Golden Age types of mysteries, moving toward more modern mysteries. I guess they sort of fit in the cozy mold, but I have always found them to be great stories.

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  9. Tracy, new for me too but it's the kind of series and setting I know I'd enjoy reading, especially in paper form.

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    1. You probably would enjoy books in this series, Prashant, and I don't think reading them in any order matters too much. I am sure I was not able to get them in order when I read them (originally). Maybe they will show up at a book sale.

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