The second mystery featuring Maggie Byrnes Matheson, by Australian author June Wright, was originally published back in 1949. It follows Murder in the Telephone Exchange at the conclusion of which Maggie marries the policeman involved in the case, John Matheson.
The couple, with their little son, rent a house from a dictatorial landowner in an imaginary suburb in northern Melbourne. It is the murder of this unpopular gentleman with many enemies that Maggie with her unquenchable curiosity gets involved.
The story is Christie-esque but, being Aussie, not as stuffy. It is a Dark Passage imprint, reprinted by Verse Chorus Press, sent to MEAN STREETS Bookpostmortem by Tom Clayton at www.turnaround-uk.com It includes an Introduction by Lucy Sussex, as well as an interview with the Author by her which I found interesting from the point of view of a crime fiction lover and writer of the same.
Compared to today’s gruesome blood and gore homicides, this is a simple one-shot murder, and a pure whodunit of the old school. I suspect the latter will be more likely customers. Lots of possible perps with motive and opportunity. I got fond enough of Maggie for the suspense to send my pulse rate up a little, but not enough to put my cardiologist on standby, as in my previous review.
It is years since I came across any fiction with illustrations, as there are in So Bad A Death, and these done by Frank Whitmore are excellent! The cover, however, is sadly not one that would have me reaching with crime-lover’s lust for the book in a store.