Beatrice Bradley / Gladys Mitchell 2/2


GM Logo 256Good Mystery

Find a good murder! 


 A Proud Amazon Associate 


Gladys Mitchell & Beatrice Bradley Mysteries


gladys nitchell_Gladys Mitchell (1901 – 1983) was an English author best known for her creation of Mrs. Bradley, the heroine of 66 detective novels. She also wrote under the pseudonyms Stephen Hockaby and Malcolm Torrie. Feted during her life (called “the Great Gladys” by Philip Larkin), her work was largely neglected for the two decades after her death.

Full bio on Gladys Mitchell Page 1/2

More on Gladys Mitchell  Wiki  Gadetection

More on Mrs. Beatrice Bradley

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 

The Gladys Mitchell Tribute Site is a fantastic resource with additional detailed reviews of almost all of Mitchell’s books. A wealth of information for Gladys Mitchell fans. Pages of interest include:

Introduction  Biography  Bibliography  Essays  Links  Short Stories


Mrs. Beatrice Bradley  Novels Part 2/2


pageant murderPageant of Murder (1965)

Available in paperback and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
**

Note: Another candidate for worst Mitchell!

The dull but important little town of Brayne, situated somewhere between London and Windsor, is celebrating its new status as a borough. Among other festivities, the Council have decided to stage an historical pageant. Along with other celebrities are figured Shakespeare’s Falstaff and two English Kings—Henry VIII and Edward III.

The persons taking these parts are apparently innocent and harmless, and yet, in turn, all three are murdered, not, it seems, so much for their own sins as for the long-ago short-comings of the characters they represent in the pageant.

Dame Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley and her secretary, Laura Gavin, succeed in unravelling the mystery, Laura by making a somewhat gruesome discovery in the little river on which Brayne stands, and Dame Beatrice by applying to the case what the immortal Jeeves would call “the psychology of the individual.”

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


croaking ravenThe Croaking Raven (1966)

Available in hardcover and ebook editions. 
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
****

Note: A summer castle!

Under pressure from a small boy who wants to spend his summer holiday there, Dame Beatrice Lestrange Bradley is persuaded to rent the estate, only to find that an unexplained violent death occurred there some two years previously and that the murderer has never been found. The police have a suspicion that they know his identity, but there is no proof.

The dead man was Thomas Dysey, a previous owner of the estate, but it is so impoverished that there seems no reason for supposing that the murder was committed by one of his relatives for gain, although, in the absence of all other conceivable motives, there seems no other cause for his death.

During the early part of Dame Beatrice’s tenancy, the castle appears to be haunted by a singing ghost, but his spectral nature is soon in doubt, as, twice a week, on Wednesday nights and Sundays, he steals food from the manor house pantry. The situation is further complicated by the fact that on Wednesdays and Saturdays the house and castle are thrown open to the customary half-crown visitors, one of whom may be the murderer.

One of the better later Gladys Mitchell novels!

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


skeleton island Skeleton Island (1967)

Available in hardcover and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
**

Note: Not one of the better later Gladys Mitchell novels!

When Colin Spalding agreed to stay with his father in the old lighthouse he had rented for the summer, he did so reluctantly—and only because his father’s second wife would be there.

For Colin believed himself to be in love with the beautiful Fiona. His attentions were diverted, however, by the arrival of Laura Gavin, acting as temporary matron with the small prep school which had rented a local hotel—and it took little persuasion for him to take up the post of junior master at the school. There he met a former acquaintance, Ronald Ferrars, with whom his step-mother had once had a ship-board romance. But when Ferrars’ body was found at the old lighthouse, Colin was a suspect for murder…

Fortunately, Laura was at hand to persuade her employer, Dame Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley, to visit the scene and uncover the unsavoury truth…

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


3 quickThree Quick and Five Dead (1968)

Available in paperback and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
****

Note: Murder without prejudice?

Laura Gavin’s walking companion along a country road situated at the edge of the New Forest isn’t her employer, Dame Beatrice Bradley, but a newly acquired Irish wolfhound named Fergus. The young dog belongs to Laura’s son Hamish, who’s away at school, so Fergus has been staying at the Stone House and has become especially devoted to Dame Beatrice. On the walk, Fergus behaves strangely, then bolts into the woods. An early morning search uncovers dog and something unexpected: the wolfhound is guarding the body of a young woman, Karen Schumann, who has been strangled, and pinned to her chest with a knitting-needle is a piece of paper reading: In Memoriam 325. With the investigation still ongoing, another woman’s body is discovered in the woods, also strangled, another cryptic note attached (In Memoriam 380).

With Dame Beatrice’s input, the police concentrate on three suspects: Edward James, a theology and divinity student engaged to the first victim; Mrs. Schumann, Karen’s mother and, briefly, landlady to Maria Machrado, the second victim; and Otto Schumann, Karen’s quick-tempered sailor brother and Maria’s ex-boyfriend. When a third woman’s body is discovered, her death occurring under similar circumstances, Scotland Yard’s Inspector Maisry works to prevent another tragedy, but he is unable to disrupt the pattern: there is a fourth murder, then a fifth.

Dame Beatrice works with Gavin and Maisry to make sense of the facts. For one thing, each victim, while sometimes not a foreigner, had a different national association: Karen Schumann was German, Maria Machrado, Spanish; other victims were an Italian maid, a French-language schoolmistress, and an Irish nanny. Then there are the notes attached to the bodies, whose numbers may have a historical significance, either as a year date (a.d. 325?) or as day, month and year (3 February, 1905?). Dame Beatrice, who has deduced the murderer’s identity but lacks proof, explains her theory to the police, and the group begins to strengthen its case. Ultimately, it is Dame B. and George who apprehend the killer, thanks to the old lady’s forethought and her chauffeur’s proven reliability in matters of life and death.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


dance daddyDance to Your Daddy (1969)

Available in paperback and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
****

Note: Bye-bye Rover?

Dame Beatrice Lestrange Bradley is typically consulted for her astute detective skills, but her most recent invitation is anything but typical. She has been summoned to the home of an unknown relative, Romilly Lestrange, who asks not for her assistance in solving a crime, but for her psychiatric opinion of his wife. The young woman, according to Romilly, has developed a troubling habit of tossing items and pets off a cliff top! But Romilly’s wife, Rosamund, tells a different story—one of repression and deceit at the hands of her captor. As Dame Beatrice attempts to discern the eccentric from the criminally insane, the news of a family inheritance arises, followed by the discovery of another relative’s dead body floating in the sea. Dame Beatrice must use skills both psychoanalytic and sleuthing to uncover the truth…for never has a case been closer to home, and never has her life been in such peril.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


gory dewGory Dew (1970)

Available in hardcover and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
****

Note: A shady boxing mishap?

Dame Beatrice Lestrange Bradley finds herself in the unusual position of being involved with a shady professional boxing establishment run by a gang whose activities are a cover for something which Damon Runyon would call, “by no means a high-class business, and even considered somewhat illegal.”

Toby Sparowe, the nephew of one of the Dame’s friends, has bought a derelict railway station opposite the public house where the gang have established their training quarters, and where a callow youth is being coached for a non-existent fight. In fact, the boy is being used as a cloak for the gang’s profitable but nefarious enterprises. Toby befriends him and offers to help with his training but this does not suit the gang’s plans and they rudely brush off Toby’s offer.

When a murder is committed and the youth charged, Toby’s suspicions are aroused. He invokes the help of Dame Beatrice who uses her formidable wits to bring about a happy but not a highly ethical ending.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


Lament for Leto (1971)lament leto

Available in paperback and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
****

Note: Kill the novelist?

Dame Beatrice Lestrange Bradley, taking shelter from the rain in the British Museum, encounters a middle-aged archaeologist named Ronald Dick whom she last met in Greece many years previously. He persuades her to join another expedition in that country to visit various shrines and temples dedicated in the Golden Age to Apollo, who was the son of Leto by Zeus.

The party turns out to be an ill-assorted one and, of the ten people who form it, only the leader is seriously interested in its object. Six of the members are young and, on the whole, frivolous; and, in any case, harmonious relationships are jeopardized by a selfish woman novelist whom almost all the others would soon like to see dead.

In the end one of them kills her and it takes Dame Beatrice to work out the identity of the murderer.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


hearse maydayA Hearse on May-Day (1972)

Available in paperback and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
****

Note: Mayering Eve in Seven Wells?

Fenella Lestrange is motoring from her great-aunt Beatrice’s house in Wandles Parva to her cousins’ manor in Douston, and she is running late. Looking for a place to eat, Fenella stops at the village of Seven Wells and tries her luck at the local inn, called the More to Come. There she learns that the inn was built upon the foundations of an ancient church, and that the village is busy with secret preparations for tonight’s Mayering Eve ceremonies. Unable to get more information about this apparently unique pagan holiday (the date being April 30th), Fenella finishes her dinner and returns to her car only to find that the vehicle, working fine moments ago, now won’t start.

Frustrated by the delay, she has the car towed to the only garage around, then secures a room for the night at the More to Come. Villagers and the staff at the inn continue to allude to the strange activities that will happen soon. After being told by the landlord, Mr. Shurrock, to bolt her bedroom door for the night, Mrs. Shurrock adds, “Whatever happens, don’t you open that door to nobody.” Fenella’s curiosity soon overtakes the unease she feels, and she slips out of her room to do some investigating. She first encounters the bizarre scene of costumed villagers dressed as the signs of the Zodiac, reading cards at the inn. Scorpio recognizes Fenella as an intruder, and the group turns hostile. Escaping the group, Fenella also becomes spectator to a strange ritual taking place within the crypt of the old church. Inside, a sacrificial skeleton is sprinkled with rooster’s blood while the gatherers chant a pagan fertility poem. The anointed bones are then carried to their resting place in a hillside grave.

Dame Beatrice is quite interested in Fenella’s adventures, for the psychiatrist is looking into the murder of the squire of Seven Wells, Sir Bathy Bitton-Bittadon. The man was found with a knife in his back, and it appears the murderer then threw Sir Bathy over a wall that surrounds his land. When Fenella makes a later visit to the More to Come, she is surprised to find that the landlord and staff have been replaced by a group of strangers. Enquiries on the Shurrocks’ sudden absence produce sinister warnings from the villagers. And another unpleasant discovery is in store: within the crypt beneath the inn, Fenella comes across five freshly laid out human skeletons.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


busy lizzieThe Murder of Busy Lizzie (1973)

Available in hardcover and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
****

Note: Murder on Great Skua!

Marius Lovelaine has decided to extend the olive-branch and visit his estranged sister at her island-set hotel. He rallies his family together, but wife Clothilde wants nothing to do with sister or island, and opts to visit her cousin instead. Reluctantly, Marius travels to the island of Great Skua with only his grown children in tow: son Sebastian and daughter Margaret are determined to make the most of their holiday. Eliza Lovelaine (now Dashleigh) has invited them to her hotel, though rather dubiously mentioning the guest fees as she did so. Marius and family disembark from the boat, having arrived with a reptilian older lady and her Amazon-sized companion, only to be told that sister Lizzie has not returned from a trip to the mainland. Frustrated, Marius waits for her arrival, but the days pass and the tiny boat never brings the missing woman to the island.

Marius does make the acquaintance of Eliza’s business partner, a dour woman named Miss Crimp, who promptly annoys her guest by situating Marius at the hotel while booking his offspring into a separate chalet. An infestation of ornithologists to the island proves the last straw, but before the Lovelaines can make an exit, a birdwatcher spots the body of a woman being tossed against the rocks by a turbulent sea. Identification shows that the unfortunate woman is Eliza Dashliegh. Marius, who had hoped to reconcile with his sister partly to bolster any potential inheritance she might leave, becomes a suspect in the suspicious death, as does the money-minded Miss Crimp and Lizzie’s illegitimate son, an island farmer named Ransome Lovelaine.

Sebastian and Margaret find that the family headstones in the churchyard have been defaced in a curious manner, and unsettling actions and signs point to the presence of witchcraft on Great Skua. Dame Beatrice keeps an eye on events, but she and Laura have come to the island on their own mission. Dead pigs, locked lighthouses, midnight rituals and pirates’ caves provide enough intrigue for the elderly detective to postpone the writing of her memoirs and investigate the mysteries provided by this wind-swept, rocky Atlantic island.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


javelin jonahA Javelin for Jonah (1974)

Available in paperback and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
****

Note: A fatality on the field?

Hamish Gavin has accepted a teaching position at a unique institution, Joynings, where almost all of the students—and most of the faculty—have dark deeds and secrets in their past that led them there. Equal parts safe house, college, and minimum confinement prison, Joynings warden Gascoigne “Gassie” Medlar places the emphasis on school sports programs, with academic classes arriving a distant second. Hamish soon meets the other teacher/coaches, including a disagreeable man named Jones, who is unpopular with students and staff, and for several good reasons. David Jones is a careless womaniser, targeting a number of female students and work staff; his actions and oversights have caused sports injuries to some promising athletes, including a stunt that sent a long distance jumper to the hospital; he’s unreliable and drinks heavily; and complaints to Medlar about him don’t produce a result, as Jones is the warden’s brother-in-law.

When Jones disappears from campus, no one is overly concerned, though Hamish finds the behaviour of some of the students odd. Days later, Jones’s body is discovered buried in the long jump pit, and Hamish contacts his mother and her employer, Dame Beatrice, who takes up the case. Dame B.’s investigations uncover several motives of people who would prefer to see the unlikeable Jonah out of the picture, including Medlar, who may have been his blackmail victim. A trophy javelin is found in a changing room, covered in red paint, but the real murder weapon is soon found among the practice javelins: one of them was fitted with a lethal steel dagger tip. As Dame Beatrice gathers more clues, a student’s body is found in the woods, bludgeoned by a metal shot. An off-campus meeting of suspects at the village police station gives Dame Beatrice the opportunity to unmask the school’s sports-minded killer.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


winking brimWinking at the Brim (1974)

Available in in paperback and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
***

Note: A disappointing hunt for Nessie

Sir Ferdinand Lestrange’s daughter Sally gets invited to join a monster-hunting expedition. The group—led by publisher and folklore enthusiast Sir Humphrey Calshott—plans to monitor the waters of Loch Tannasg in western Scotland for any signs of a Loch Ness-like creature, and the group members approach their task with varying degrees of seriousness. A pair of twin spinsters hope to indulge their artistic side, while a retired army major and his meek wife simply want a holiday. The Calshott’s daughter Phyllis, Sally well remembers from girlhood experience, has a tendency to prattle, and the unlikeable Angela Barton seems to enjoy spreading nasty insinuations about and among the other party members. Reluctant to be tied down to a caravan containing such aggravating personalities, Sally offers to drive her car up and act as liaison to the three camps. Sally is quite grateful for the freedom her vehicle offers, and between Angela’s gossip and her own observations concludes that some dalliances are taking place. The tranquil loch is also cause for close attention: first Sally, then the twins, briefly encounter the fleeting lake creature. Their news is overshadowed by the discovery of Angela Barton’s wet body in an abandoned house, a suicide note nearby, a wound on her throat, and a thermos of poisoned coffee near at hand. But if the woman tried to kill herself, reasons Sally, why was the note still dry if she attempted first to drown herself in the loch? And why is there no residue of poison in the thermos’ cup? For answers, Sally consults her grandmother, Dame Beatrice, who has an impressive track record for just this sort of problem. Together, Sally, Dame Beatrice, and secretary Laura Gavin interview and investigate until they find a solution, and one which calls upon a final appearance of the Loch Tannasg creature.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


covent styxConvent on Styx (1975)

Available in paperback and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
****

Note: Murder becomes a habit?

For the second time in her career, Dame Beatrice Lestrange Bradley is called upon to solve the mystery of murder in a convent. After a series of anonymous letters have been received by the Sisters and also by members of the staff at a school run by the nuns, the supposed writer of the letters is found drowned in the school pond, together with her own Family Bible.

At the inquest a verdict of accidental death is returned, but Dame Beatrice regards this as unsatisfactory for reasons which she passes on to the local Inspector of Police. With some help from him and some evidence supplied by two of the schoolchildren, she unmasks a heartless and cowardly murderer.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


late evening Late, Late in the Evening (1976)

Available in paperback and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
****

Note: Who killed the dinosaur? Mrs. Bradley #50!

Margaret and Kenneth Clifton pass their childhood summers with their two sets of aunts and uncles in the sleepy village of Hill. They spend their days playing in the town’s sheepwash, avoiding Sunday school, investigating the old hermit’s shack, and deciding which sweets to purchase at Old Mother Honour’s shop. The pair has befriended Our Sarah, a matronly girl who supervises the village children like a hen with her chicks. Margaret and Kenneth also make the acquaintance of Lionel Kempson-Conyers, an inquisitive lad staying with his aunt at her manor house. The siblings’ Aunt Kirstie has for years housed a boarder named Mr. Ward, an eccentric and solitary man whose behavior has become increasingly erratic. He has been digging up the grounds with a spade in places like the chicken run, the garden, and the hermit’s shack. Margaret is unsettled when she finds a hole shaped like a grave within the run-down shack; a later visit reveals that the hole has been filled in again. During a fancy dress (costume) party held at the manor house, tragedy strikes: a girl from London is found dead by the sheepwash, still wearing a dinosaur costume from the party. Mrs. Bradley, in communication with Mrs. Kempson, decides to visit Hill, and some interesting facts surface. The murder victim and young Lionel, heir to the estate, were wearing the same costume; Doctor Tassall, who absented himself from the party at an early hour, was once engaged to the girl, but is now in love with Amabel Kempson-Conyers, Lionel’s sister; and Mr. Ward’s spade, the apparent murder weapon, is found in the sheepwash. Also, Mr. Ward hasn’t been to his room for two days. The psycho-analyst must then decide whether one or two murderers are living in Hill village.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


noonday nightNoonday and Night (1977)

Available in paperback and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
***

Note: Who killed the driver! 

Called upon to probe the mysterious disappearance of two touring ‘motor-couch’ drivers (That’s what the publisher’s blurb says! Actually motor coach – but good idea!), Dame Beatrice Lestrange Bradley uncovers a racket which involves stolen antiques, smuggling and murder. Later, a third driver is missing, but reappears to tell a tale which Dame Beatrice suspects is only partly true. The story moves from a stately home in Derbyshire to a Cathedral town in West Wales and finishes in a loch-side hamlet not far from Fort William. One slender clue leads to another until the drama is played out and the murderer named.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


fault structureFault in the Structure (1977)

Available in paperback and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
****

Note: Too much coincidence?

Depending on how one looks at it, Mr. Theddeus E. Lawrence manages to incur either terrible misfortune or celebrated windfalls. Relatives and family members have a habit of dying, but Lawrence is often compensated for his loss.

His father perished in a car crash while his son was at the wheel; a sympathetic school benefactor failed to get medical attention in time and died of an aneurysm; and now it appears that Mr. Lawrence’s first wife has turned up, only to go missing again. When a body is discovered, though, it belongs to the man’s second wife, a college secretary who is found buried on the school grounds. Dame Beatrice first hears of the case from her son, who is investigating an embezzlement charge against the busy Mr. Lawrence. Ultimately, Lawrence is jailed—for drunken driving and resisting arrest.

The years pass, and one night Dame Beatrice’s secretary Laura Gavin attends a meeting of the local dramatic society. The question before the group: what to present at the Caxton festival, an affair celebrating printing-press innovator William Caxton. After much deliberation and theatrical argument, the society decides to mount a production of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera. Dame Beatrice is interested to hear Laura’s news that a headstrong society member is determined to recruit a reluctant villager, a young printer sharing the name of William Caxton, to take part in the pageant.

Remembering her acquaintance with the man named T.E. Lawrence and A.C. Swinburne, Dame Beatrice decides to watch over the festival activities, which is just as well: during The Beggar’s Opera’s final performance, the actor playing Macheath is fatally strangled by (what should have been) a prop noose. Laura and Dame B. talk reach a conclusion by assigning identities to the luckless roles of victim and murderer.

Another very complicated plot, get more information at:

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


Wraiths and Changelings (1978)wraiths changelings

Available in paperback and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
***

Note: A Halloween ghost hunt!

An evening of exchanged ghost stories on a windy Hallowe’en night leads Dee Crieff-Tweedle to an inspired idea: she’ll organize a ghost hunt. She and her complacent husband (affectionately called “Dum”) soon organise a group of thrill seekers, including a curiously muscular clergyman, a male medium calling himself Madame Arcati, and Eiladh Gavin, Laura’s daughter and Dame B.’s goddaughter.

Dee has planned out the itinerary with a thoroughness that would make a sergeant major proud. Among the sites to investigate: a ghostly mass in a Salhouse churchyard, a body thrown over a Roman Fort wall in Burgh Castle, and a benevolent ghost monk (with dutiful ghost dog) in a ghost boat in the waters of Ranworth Broad. In Eiladh’s letters to Dame Beatrice, she reports that there’s trouble from the start, due to ill will between hostess and just about everyone else in the party. Eiladh records an escalating series of practical jokes to re-enact the ghostly scenarios, culminating in the strangling murders of two group members. Dame B. steps in and, after a round of interviews, clears Eiladh’s name whilst collaring the murderer(s?).

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


mingled venomMingled with Venom (1978)

Available in paperback and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
****

Note: Try the horseradish?

Nearing 70, matriarch Romula Leydon finds much at fault with her varied and colourfully-named family. An illegitimacy here, a touring stage actor there, and the lady finds herself disapproving of her flesh and blood kin more often than not. Romula has made a steady habit of bankrolling people in whom she sees potential: efficient secretary Fiona Bute was the first outsider to benefit from her employer’s whims. Then came kitchenmaid Ruby Pabbay, an opinionated young lass who enjoys singing while doing the washing up; Mrs. Leydon thought the girl’s voice had merit, and Ruby has been treated to singing lessons and trips to London ever since. Now milady’s restless eye has fallen on her (adopted) grandson Gamaliel, a handsome black teen with aspirations to become a world-class boxer. Such attention given to this comparative outsider does not sit well with several of the family members who are still living in the shadow of the rich relative’s scorn.

Gamaliel also arrests the attention of Dame Beatrice Bradley, who is staying at a nearby hotel. It is from the future boxer that the Home Office consultant learns of an outbreak of shoving—one targeting Romula Leydon, a second directed at her daughter Diana—that, if successful, would have dispatched its recipients over a cliff. This is soon eclipsed by a fateful Sunday luncheon wherein a pot of horseradish sauce mixed with the root of wolfsbane (or monkshood) makes its way to the table. The only casualty is Romula Leydon, most likely by design: it was known that only the matriarch ever used the sauce, and that a pot was made fresh each week by her faithful cook, Mrs. Plack. A recently dismissed kitchenmaid is arrested, charged with substituting the lethal sauce as a means of revenge. But no one—Dame Beatrice and the not-quite-grieving family included—can believe the simple girl capable of such an act. So Dame B. sets out to clear a kitchenmaid’s name and, in so doing, shake the murderer from the family tree.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


Nest of Vipers (1979)nest vipers

Available in paperback and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
****

Note: Drowned in the ocean while in bed?

One of the better later Mitchells! Four & a half stars maybe?

Chelion Piper has been arrested under suspicion of murder. One of the tenants of his country apartment house, an unsocial and secretive old lady named Miss Minnie, was found by Chelion and two other men in her bungalow, dead in her bed. Suicide or accidental death is quickly ruled out: the woman was drowned in sea water (her clothes and bed were wet), and her face was bludgeoned in.

The police discover that Piper inherited the house from a relative of Miss Minnie’s, and she was there to find evidence of a new will that would give her claim to the property. Motive thus provided, the police begins building the case against Chelion. The accused man writes to Dame Beatrice, and she agrees to pay a visit to Weston Pipers on his behalf (while there, she uses the alias of “Mrs. Farintosh” to allay suspicion).

At the house, Dame B. meets Niobe, the quick-to-tears caretaker who was once engaged to Chelion, and the remaining tenants, all of whom are writers—true crime reporters, advice columnists, romance writers and spy novelists among them. The detective soon learns about a wave of sordid anonymous letters addressed to several individuals, as well as a prank that changed the printing of stationery bearing the estates name from “Weston Pipers” to “Nest of Vipers.”

The trail of Miss Minnie leads Dame Beatrice and Laura to a run-down junk shop in the village, where they find a duplicitous shop owner, a set of steel fire-irons (which may include a murder weapon), and a cryptic picture with occult origins. When the shopkeeper is found dead in his office, stabbed in the chest, an investigation of the junk shop reveals a private room containing black curtains and carpet, satanic symbols traced upon the floor, and a sacrificial altar. Dame Beatrice must now decide just how many murderers she’s looking for: one, two or an entire coven.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


mudflats deadThe Mudflats of the Dead (1979)

Available in hardcover and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
****

Note: A deadly midnight swim?

Young schoolmaster-turned-author Colin Palgrave seeks inspiration for his second novel among the dunes and beaches of Saltacres, where he plans to spend his holiday. He encounters one rather forthright character straight away, and that in the form of 20-year old Camilla Hoveton St. John, a vacationing art student.

After some undisguised flirting, Camilla invites Palgrave to stay with her and two others at a beachfront rental, and Palgrave warily accepts. All goes well until the early arrival of the next week’s tenants: Colin is surprised to find Morag Lowson, to whom he was once engaged, with her doctor husband and luggage in tow. The house becomes uncomfortably crowded and, growing weary of Camilla’s amorous advances, Palgrave opts to sleep in his car. Unable to settle into his cramped quarters, he is persuaded by Camilla to join her in an evening swim. A little later, he leaves the young woman in the sea and returns to the house and his makeshift bed.

The morning yields an unpleasant discovery: Camilla’s body has washed up on the beach. An inquest determines that the death was accidental, and that the woman had probably been caught in the undertow of an outgoing tide. But what has happened to the unlucky art student’s suitcase? It has disappeared from the rental house, and in reality it must have been removed during the night by one of the occupants. A sightless “mumper” (here, a derelict beachcomber) named the Old Mole provides the answer when he finds the hastily buried case of clothes among the dunes. And who was the figure in white that Palgrave saw on the night of Camilla’s drowning? All of this activity gives the novelist the inspiration he had hoped for; but when the manuscript turns out to contain more truth than fiction, an unamused murderer makes plans to deposit another body among the mudflats.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


uncoffind clayUncoffin’d Clay (1980)

Available in paperback and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
***

Note: Sheiks, Dolls & Man Traps!

Between-books novelist Michael Lockerbie pays a welcome visit to his brother Innes and Innes’ wife Mary in the quiet Dorset village of Strode Hillary. The quiet does not last, however: Michael interrupts a burglary at his brother’s house, and historical items—including a doll and a metal man-trap—are stolen from the local museum. The criminal activity appears to continue when a wealthy sheikh who has taken up residence in Strode Hillary is shot at while talking outside with a land agent. Before long one of the sheikh’s sons gets his leg caught in the man-trap, and the land agent, an unlikeable man named Winters, disappears.

Innes appeals to Dame Beatrice to look into these matters, and the psychiatrist begins her investigation by interviewing those suspected of the museum robbery. When the missing Mr. Winters resurfaces—he was buried under a half-submerged punt in a trout-stream, the museum doll pinned to his frozen body—Dame Beatrice deduces that the land agent, and not the sheikh, was the intended target of the potshot. But what of the other goings-on? The detective finds the answers, the novelist finds inspiration for his next book, and Strode Hillary returns to its quiet existence.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


whispering nightsThe Whispering Knights (1980)

Available in paperback and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
****

Note: Another one of Mitchell’s spooky mysteries!

Another of the better novels in the later days of Gladys Mitchell!

Ten people, seven women and three men, are on a tour visiting sites with prehistoric monument stones in Cumbria, Argyll, Inverness and the islands of Arran and Lewis. In Cumbria Sister Veronica asserts that she has seen a flitting figure following the tour, but only one other person in the group also claims to have seen it. After an unusual version of the Truth Game is played to pass a wet evening at one of the hotels, the party begins to break up. Later on, a body is discovered in the stone circle at Callanish on Lewis and another is found in Oxfordshire, the second one a former member of the group.

Dame Beatrice Lestrange Bradley is present when each body is discovered, and it needs all her expertise to solve both mysteries.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


deathcap dancersThe Death-Cap Dancers (1981)

Available in paperback and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
**

Note: Someone is not a fan of folk dancing!

While en route to visit relatives, Hermione Lestrange falls into company with three agreeable women who are spending their autumn holiday in a forest cabin. Out for a drive, the group discovers a battered bicycle by the side of the road, and closer inspection reveals the unfortunate owner, seemingly dead from head wounds, her body found in a nearby ravine. The police are contacted, but Hermione becomes concerned that suspicion may fall on herself and her new acquaintances, as the scene resembles a hastily covered-up automobile accident. Fearing the worst, she rings up her great-aunt and voices her fears.

The young women are ultimately exonerated, but in a quite unforeseen way: there is a second murder, and an attempted third, and each of the victims or near-victims (including the roadside casualty) is a member of a touring folk-dancing troupe staying at a local hostel. The newest attacks occurred after a performance of hornpipe- and morris-dancing which Hermione and her friends had attended. One dancer was set upon and her body pushed into a broom closet; another troupe member—a man still wearing a lady’s wig to replace the absent cyclist in dances—was knocked unconscious and left for dead in the bushes outside. While Inspector Ribble concentrates his investigation on the movements of the folk-dance group, Dame Beatrice Lestrange Bradley considers a longer list of suspects. The Home Office psychoanalyst also imagines a wider range of scenarios than her more dogmatic police counterpart, some of which put Hermione and her friends in danger. Sending her great-niece (and her group) back to her father’s pig farm in Stanton St. John, Dame Beatrice builds the case study of a very disturbed individual—someone who takes pleasure in pushing the death-cap mushroom into a victim’s wounds.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


lovers moanLovers, Make Moan (1981)

Available in hardcover and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
**

Note: A Midsummer’s Nightmare?

Jonathan and Deborah Bradley come to the rescue when relations wish to enjoy a cruise: not only does the couple agree to tend to a handsome country house, they also temporarily inherit two young charges, Rosamund and Edmund. Knowing that they can always press into service Jonathan’s ageless aunt should he and Deborah require a holiday of their own, arrangements are soon put into place. The suggestion to use the picturesque Bradley grounds to stage a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is met with enthusiasm, and soon rehearsals are underway.

The role of Pyramus is given to a difficult young man who soon manages to have nearly the entire cast against him, as his lack of tact and dubious criminal background hardly prove endearing. For this character’s play-acting death scene, the producer acquires a realistic-looking dagger with a retractable blade (introduced in the chapter entitled “Retractable Blade”) and all goes well for the first two performances, but decidedly less so for the third. Hinckley, the actor who wielded the dagger so convincingly in that role, suddenly falls ill—mussels are suspected—and another actor is hastily costumed for the role. It is only after the fatal weapon’s plunge that it is discovered the prop dagger has been switched for a real one. Accident? If not, who was the intended victim? Dame Beatrice looks into the matter and answers these questions—but only after the dagger has claimed another life.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


gloria mundyHere Lies Gloria Mundy (1982)

Available in paperback and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
****

Note: One final Mitchell witch tale!

Another of the better Gladys Mitchell later titles!

At a weekend gathering of relatives and friends, Gloria Mundy, a woman from the host’s pre-marital past, turns up unheralded and uninvited, and her visit is followed by a series of disturbances, domestic disagreements and two unrelated accidents. These culminate in the discovery of a charred corpse in the burnt-out dower house in the grounds of the mansion.

Dame Beatrice Lestrange Bradley has been one of the guests, but only so that she can cast a professional eye over the eccentric, elderly aunt of the hostess, and she is called away before anything untoward or dreadful comes about.

Was Gloria Mundy a witch? What else could explain the mysterious events which follow her unexpected arrival? What else could account for her being seen alive in a London dress shop several weeks after she has been found dead—apparently the victim of murder? With the help of Corin, a young journalist who narrates the story, Dame Beatrice painstakingly pieces together the complicated jigsaw and leaves no stone unturned until she has unearthed the truth.

The setting is the Cotswolds, and the place names, including Uley, with Hetty Pegler’s Tump, and Cleeve Cloud, topped by Belas Knap, are recalled by the author with nostalgic affection.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


burrowing moleThe Death of a Burrowing Mole (1982)

Available in hardcover and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
**

Note: Another contender for worst Gladys Mitchell title!

Two undergraduates decide to spend the long vacation searching for treasure which local legend indicates was buried in a castle well during the Civil War.

When the youths get to the site, they are dismayed to find that other parties have also obtained permission to work there. Some archaeologists are hoping to excavate a Bronze Age barrow and two architects, with their helpers, intend to attempt a partial reconstruction of the walls and flanking-towers of the castle.

One of the archaeologists is also an amateur astronomer. One night, while studying the stars, he falls from the top of the keep…to his death.

The fall is regarded with suspicion when the police discover that all fingerprints have been cleared off the dead man’s telescope. Then two brutal murders are committed on the site and it falls to Dame Beatrice Lestrange Bradley and the local police to solve the mystery of the deaths.

The treasure? Well, the castle is easily identifiable, so no metal detectors please!

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


greenstone griffinsThe Greenstone Griffins (1983)

Available in hardcover and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
****

Note: A final spooky Mrs Bradley case?

The Greenstone Griffins is the story of Jessica Denefield, a country girl who, as a child, becomes obsessed by a pair of candle-holders in the shape of the fabulous creatures called griffins. Because of two fatal accidents—or what appear to be accidents—she believes that the griffins have the power to work evil and her fascination with them increases.

Jessica rationalises this feeling as she grows older, but the griffins continue to haunt her. In an apparent coincidence, she sees them next in a shop which shortly afterwards is burnt out in puzzling circumstances. But the griffins are not destroyed: subsequently they appear in the window of a flat belonging to a mysterious French woman who once figured in the second of the deaths that occurred during Jessica’s childhood. Still obsessed by the greenstone figures, Jessica calls at the flat, only to find the murdered body of the tenant. It is chillingly clear that one of the griffins has been used as the murder weapon.

When Jessica falls under police suspicion, her cause is taken up by Mrs. Beatrice Lestrange Bradley, who brings the true culprits to book by a mixture of deduction, common sense and applied psychiatry.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


cold lone stillCold, Lone and Still (1983)

Available in hardcover and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
**

Note: A final trip to The Highlands!

Comrie Melrose, in his business life an easy-tempered literary agent, has planned a holiday that will double as a compatibility test: he will traverse the highlands of Scotland with his fiancee, the striking beauty Hera, to ensure that the couple can weather the ups-and-downs of both countryside and relationship.

While walking The Way, Comrie and Hera encounter a number of fellow travelers including the garrulous mate’s mate Carbridge and the handsome Mr. Todd. Both men notice Hera’s presence—too much so. Soon Comrie and Hera continue on the trail to Fort William, hoping to leave the party far behind. But fate is not so easily shaken: seeking shelter from a sudden rainstorm, the pair ducks into an abandoned stone farmhouse. In a dark passageway, Comrie stumbles literally upon a man’s body, a dagger protruding from the lifeless form. Convinced that it is Carbridge (and not wishing to draw suspicion), the couple agrees to give no alarm, but to leave the murder site as soon as possible.

Their shock is rather justified then when, some days later, an incontestably alive Carbridge saunters into their hotel, the rest of the hiking party trailing after him. The identity of the farmhouse body soon comes to light, but Comrie worries that his discovery that night is a portent of graver things to come. And that is just how matters manage to play out. Reluctantly accepting an invitation for a reunion with the motley band of hikers, Comrie finds himself in a building on the campus of a polytechnic school. Anxious for some air, a helpful hangman-turned-housemaster suggests Comrie try a shadowy corridor for a bit of a stroll. At the end of the passage, Comrie finds the body of Carbridge, a Scottish sgian dubh dagger stuck into him. It suddenly appears that the hiker’s party houses a murderer after all.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


winding sheetNo Winding-Sheet (1984)

Available in paperback and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
***

Note: And a final school mystery!

The headmaster of the Sir George Etherege school for boys becomes understandably concerned when one of his senior staff, a geography teacher named Mr. Pythias, does not appear at school following a weekend break. In the days leading up to Christmas vacation, no one at the school or at his boarding house hears from the missing man. The unexplained absence is doubly frustrating as Pythias had collected several hundred pounds from dozens of students and faculty to fund a school trip to Greece, and the money never made it to the bank on that fateful Friday. The headmaster refuses to believe that a staff member could have absconded with the money, but then where has Pythias disappeared to?

A couple of mysterious break-ins happen on campus and the groundskeeper spots two figures causing mischief, but they escape apprehension. They seemed to be digging near a large plot in the quad that was used as a rubbish hole when building construction was taking place. Plans of transforming the area into a large lily pond come to an abrupt halt when a man’s body is found buried among the debris.

When two boys who may have witnessed one of the break-ins go missing, the inspector requests Dame Beatrice to take up the case. Accompanied by Laura Gavin, the psychiatrist to the Home Office questions co-workers, students, landlord, housemates, bank officials, and even a Southampton art gallery owner until she is able to provide the beleaguered headmaster with answers to the puzzle.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


crozier pharaohsThe Crozier Pharaohs (1984)

Available in hardcover and ebook editions.
Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Best Review
***

Note: #66 – a rather weak farewell!

Trouble starts in the quiet coastal village of Abbots Crozier when Bryony and Morpeth, the eccentric Rant sisters of Crozier Lodge, decide to breed Pharaoh hounds, the oldest domesticated dogs in the world.

The sisters reluctantly take on a kennel-maid to care for the Pharaohs but, some time after her arrival, their Labrador, Sekhmet, is stolen. The theft leads to the discovery of a dead body in the river. Is the unidentified corpse connected with the night prowler who has been tapping on the windows of Crozier Lodge? Before the mystery can be solved, a second body is found on the moor.

When suspicion falls on the Rants’ kennel-maid, Dame Beatrice Lestrange Bradley and Laura Gavin are called in to retrace the steps of the dead men and find out how and why they died.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


Mrs. Beatrice Bradly Short Stories


sleuths alchemySleuth’s Alchemy, Cases of Mrs. Bradley and Others (Crippen & Landru, 2005) 

Detectives: Bradley and Others

Best Review
****

Available only in paperback and hardcover editions.

Book  Amazon.ca

Note: 31 Gladys Mitchell short masterpieces!

“One of the Big Three Women Detective Writers” So wrote the London Observer about Gladys Maude Winifred Mitchell (1901-1983). Now, twenty years after the posthumous publication of her final novel and seventy-five years after the first appearance of Mrs. Beatrice Bradley (called by the Observer, “by far the best and most vital English female detective”), comes a new collection of short stories. The stories were first published in newspapers in the 1930s and 1950s. Many of them, however, have not appeared in book form before, and all of them bear the unmistakable stamp of Gladys Mitchell. Nicholas Blake wrote in The Spectator, “I have considered her to be one of the half-dozen best detection-writers in this country. Not only has she created that unforgettable sleuth the eccentric, flamboyant and witch-like alienist, Mrs. Bradley: she is also witty and ingenious; she carries her load of erudition with the utmost grace; and she likes the detective story to be full-blooded fantasy.” 

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


Gladys Mitchell DVD Collections


The Complete Collectionmrs bradley
Mrs Bradley Mysteries
Starring Diana Rigg and Neil Dudgeon

Best Review
****

Available only in DVD collection!

DVD Collection  Amazon.ca

Note: Diana Rigg is fantastic!

Death at the Opera / The Rising of the Moon / Laurels Are Poison / The Worsted Viper  This series seems to be missing ‘Speedy Death’ which is included in the European version However, a new version is now available for pre-order – though no list of contents is provided.

More on The Mrs Bradley Mysteries


Return to Gladys Mitchell Page 1/2


Complete Gladys Mitchell Bibliography


Good Mystery home




Comments are closed.