Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Death Knocks Three Times: Anthony Gilbert

This is the second book I have read featuring Arthur Crook, criminal lawyer. The author of the series is Anthony Gilbert, a pseudonym of Lucy Beatrice Malleson.

As the story  begins, Crook is driving home to London, over an isolated moor in a pelting rain, and the road is becoming impassable. When he sees a light he turns off the road down a drive to a large old house, inhabited by Colonel Sherren and his retainer, Bligh, both very old men. Colonel Sherren allows Crook to stay overnight, and Crook leaves the next morning. Colonel Sherren's nephew, John Sherren, is coming to visit that same morning, but he doesn't stay long either. A day or two later, Crook learns that the Colonel has died and both he and John Sherren are required to attend the inquest. Only Bligh was around when the Colonel died, and he does inherit all his money. The inquest returns a verdict of death by misadventure, with no evidence of anyone being responsible.

The rest of the story focuses on John Sherren and his other older relatives, who seem to have a habit of dying shortly after he has visited.  And everywhere John goes, he runs into Arthur Crook in the same place. John is an author, and although he doesn't make much money at it, he does love to write. He hopes to eventually inherit money to supplement his small income so he can continue writing.


What did I like about this story? Just about everything.
  • There were lots of quirky characters. And all of them were very-well developed. Some of them were not so likable, but still interesting to read about. So many good characters: Bligh, Miss Pettigrew. Arthur Crook doesn't show up that much, just here and there. But I liked him in this book and he and John Sherren held the story together.
  • The story was paced well and kept me interested. I was always wondering where the book was going and what the solution was. I was surprised at the end but it did make perfect sense. 
I did not go into lots of detail here, but here are lots of other blogger's thoughts on this book...

See reviews at A Hot Cup of Pleasure, My Reader's Block, Beneath the Stains of Time, Pretty Sinister Books, Do You Write Under Your Own Name?, Clothes in Books, crossexaminingcrime, and Mysteries Ahoy!

I have also reviewed two other books by Lucy Beatrice Malleson:
Portrait of a Murderer  (writing as Anne Meredith)
A Case for Mr. Crook  (writing as Anthony Gilbert)


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Publisher:  Random House, 1950 (orig. publ. 1949)
Length:     244 pages
Format:    Hardcover
Series:     Arthur Crook series
Setting:    UK
Genre:     Mystery
Source:    I purchased my copy





16 comments:

  1. I'll bet that cover appealed to you, too, Tracy :-). I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I've been meaning to read more of her work, and simply haven't. I want to, though, and I'm glad of the reminder.

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    1. Lucy Beatrice Malleson / Anthony Gilbert sure wrote a lots of books, Margot, and I plan to try more of them.

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  2. It's amazing how many women crime writers wrote under a male name. I haven't read anything by this author but definitely will. I bet you were thrilled when you saw the cover of this one.

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    1. I was surprised at that, Katrina, although it makes sense. I guess some readers would be more impressed with a male author. Yes, I love the cover.

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  3. I can see you would be tempted by that cover. LOL! I like the sounds of this one a lot so will look into it. Sounds a bit different.

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    1. That is what I especially liked about this book, Cath. It was not what I expected. I waited years to find a copy of this cover that I felt was affordable, and finally decided to go for it.

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  4. I love the sound of this! I'll see if the library can ILL me a copy. Thanks!

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    1. I hope they do have it, Nan. It is very good, and different.

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  5. Seems to me I read something by Anthony Gilbert years ago, Tracy, but I have no idea what it might have been. The name is familiar, tho. A lawyer named "Crook," eh? We had an actual lawyer--a prosecutor, in fact--named "Outlaw." And a fairly good one, as I recall. Elected to serve in Surry County, Va., sparsely populated jurisdiction with Edward (country) Hams its only claim to fame.

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    1. I did find the last name of Crook strange, at least in a mystery, Matthew, but he is a good character. Especially in this book. A prosecutor named Outlaw is even worse.

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  6. This is quite possibly the best Anthony Gilbert novel featuring Arthur Crook I've read. So many of her mysteries seem to be rehashes of her favorite motif of spinsters in jeopardy and you either get satire and lampooning as in 30 Days to LIVE or high melodrama as in Death Lifts the Latch. And in lots of them Crook hardly appears at all. But this book is chock full of surprises and excellent characters with, of course, the callous Miss Pettigrew stealing the show.

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    1. I did love Miss Pettigrew, John. And what an ending. I will keep trying more of the books by Anthony Gilbert, especially as I have a few more in my TBR boxes. Specifically, Death of a Redhead, Death in the Blackout, and Murder Comes Home.

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  7. I really enjoyed this one too - so many traditional trappings, but turned into something really unusual. She is an interesting writer...

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    1. Having read (and really really liked) Portrait of a Murderer, I am prepared to give more of her books a chance, Moira. And this one encourages me even more.

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  8. Great cover. I don't think you have tempted me to try it though.

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    1. Not really your kind of book, Col. I had been wanting this edition of the book for a long time, so I was happy to finally get it.

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