Beatrice Bradley / Gladys Mitchell 1/2


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.

Gladys Maude Winifred Mitchell was born in Cowley, Oxford on 19 April 1901 to James, a market gardener of Scottish parentage, and Annie. She was educated at Rothschild School, Brentford and The Green School. From 1919 to 1921 she attended Goldsmiths College and University College London.

Upon her graduation Mitchell became a teacher of history, English and games at St Paul’s School, Brentford until 1925. She then taught at St Anne’s Senior Girls School, Ealing until 1939. In 1926 she obtained an external diploma in European History from University College and she then began to write novels while continuing to teach. In 1941 she joined Brentford School for Girls where she stayed until 1950. After a three-year break from teaching she took a job at Matthew Arnold School, Staines, where she taught English and history, coached hurdling and wrote the annual school play until her retirement to Corfe Mullen, Dorset in 1961. She continued to write until her death in 1983.

She was a member of the Middlesex Education Association, the British Olympic Association, the Crime Writers’ Association, PEN and the Society of Authors. Her hobbies included architecture and writing poetry. She studied the works of Sigmund Freud and her interest in witchcraft was encouraged by her friend the detective novelist Helen Simpson. Mitchell never married.

Mitchell wrote at least one novel a year throughout her career. Her first novel (Speedy Death, 1929) introduced Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley, a polymathic psychoanalyst and author who was featured in a further 65 novels. Her strong views on social and philosophical issues reflected those of her author and her assistant, Laura Menzies; they appear to have been something of a self-portrait of the young Mitchell.

Mitchell was an early member of the Detection Club along with G. K. Chesterton, Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers and throughout the 1930s was considered to be one of the “Big Three women detective writers”, but she often challenged and mocked the conventions of the genre – notably in her earliest books, such as the first novel Speedy Death, where there is a particularly surprising twist to the plot, or her parodies of Christie in The Mystery of a Butcher’s Shop (1929) and The Saltmarsh Murders (1932). Her plots and settings were unconventional with Freudian psychology, witchcraft (notably in The Devil at Saxon Wall (1935) and The Worsted Viper (1943) and the supernatural (Naiads and Nessie, Ghosts and Greek Gods) as recurrent themes.

In addition to her 66 Mrs. Bradley novels Mitchell also used the pseudonyms of Stephen Hockaby (for a series of historical novels) and Malcolm Torrie (for a series of detective stories featuring an architect named Timothy Herring) and wrote ten children’s books under her own name.

After her death Mitchell’s work was neglected although three posthumously published novels sold well in the 1980s. Radio adaptations were made (by Elizabeth Proud) of Speedy Death (1990) and The Mystery of a Butcher’s Shop (1991) both with Mary Wimbush as Mrs Bradley and broadcast on BBC Radio 4; both adaptations were very faithful to the original books. A BBC television series, The Mrs Bradley Mysteries (starring Diana Rigg) was produced in 1999; however, the characteristic cackle and crocodilian looks were absent, and the plots and characters were changed. By the mid 1990s, only one of her novels was in regular print: a Virago Press paperback edition of The Rising of the Moon (1945) – which is still in print. Something of a renaissance began in 2005 with the publication of a collection of hitherto unpublished short stories, Sleuth’s Alchemy, by Crippen and Landru, and in the same year Minnow Press published a new edition of her rare 1940 novel Brazen Tongue. Others editions gradually followed, with various titles now available in paperback, and all of her Mrs. Bradley titles now published in ebook editions.

Although critical opinion is divided on what is her best work, her strengths and style can be gleaned from the following 16 books: The Saltmarsh Murders (1932), Death at the Opera (1934), The Devil at Saxon Wall (1935), Come Away, Death (1937), Brazen Tongue (1940), When Last I Died (1941), The Rising of the Moon (1945), Death and the Maiden (1947), The Dancing Druids (1948), Tom Brown’s Body (1949), Groaning Spinney (1950), The Echoing Strangers (1952), Merlin’s Furlong (1953), Dance to Your Daddy (1969), Nest of Vipers (1979), and The Greenstone Griffins (1983). 

Edited from Wikipedia: Gladys Mitchell

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


speedy deathSpeedy Death (1929)

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

Best Review
****

Note: Introducing Mrs. Bradley

Guests have gathered to dine at Alastair Bing’s elegant country manor, but only one guest—a murderer—is aware of the dead body in an upstairs bathtub. With renowned explorer Mr. Everard Mountjoy noticeably absent from the dining table, the rest of the party searches for him, and soon discovers the explorer’s drowned corpse. The murder is mystifying, not in the least because the body in the bath is clearly a woman’s! As danger and theories unravel, psychoanalyst Mrs. Beatrice Lestrange Bradley observes and interprets all, from shrieks in the night to drowning attempts to poisoning. It’s clear that Mrs. Bradley has a basilisk eye for detail. But can she uncover a motive for murder?

Rediscover the notorious detective Mrs. Bradley in her original starring role. This definitive mystery is the first in Gladys Mitchell’s sixty-six book series featuring this most unusual and brilliant heroine.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


butchers shop The Mystery of a Butcher’s Shop (1929)

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.
Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca

Best Review
*****

Note: Rump roast or hamburger?

When Rupert Sethleigh’s body is found one morning, laid out in the village butcher’s shop but minus its head, the inhabitants of Wandles Parva aren’t particularly upset. Sethleigh was a blackmailing money lender and when Mrs. Bradley begins her investigation she finds no shortage of suspects. It soon transpires that most of the village seem to have been wandering about Manor Woods, home of the mysterious druidic stone on which Sethleigh’s blood is found splashed on the night he was murdered, but can she eliminate the red herrings and catch the real killer?

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


longerbodies The Longer Bodies (1930)

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

Best Review
****

Note: The Olympic standard!

At ninety, the screeching, still lively Great Aunt Puddequet devises a novel means to determine which of her young nephews stands worthy of her inheritance: she will award her fortune to the relative who shows the greatest promise on her homemade Olympics field. Assisted—and occasionally bullied—by the trainer, Kost, the five men of the family take up the sports of the discus throw, the long jump, and the shot put with competitive and varied results. Although no one is publicly pursuing the javelin toss, that sharp instrument nevertheless has a way of turning up on the field, the blade’s tip stained with blood each time. Mrs. Puddequet watches her relations’ training with great interest, though the old lady’s constant companion—a nervous young woman once promised her share of the inheritance—and only grandson (now surrounded by rivals to the estate) survey the scene with considerably less amusement.

The tournament gets thrown off-track once the body of a tenant and Little Longer villager is found on the training grounds. Specifically, the luckless man is tied (with gymnasium rope) to a mermaid statue and submerged in the small mere. Inspector Bloxham tries to make sense of the tableau, and soon has a second death to investigate. Irritated at these mortal intrusions, Mrs. Puddequet tries to chase the police away from her Olympics, but finds a psychiatrist named Bradley (who has taken an interest in the Longer bodies) less easy to deter. While the inspector jumps from one suspect to another, Mrs. Bradley uses logic and psychology to identify the murderer from among the hopeful athletes and inheritors.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


saltmarsh murdersThe Saltmarsh Murders (1932)

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.
Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca

Best Review
*****

Note: A complicated pregnancy!

Noel Wells, curate in the sleepy village of Saltmarsh, likes to spend his time dancing in the study with the vicar’s niece, until one day the vicar’s unpleasant wife discovers her unmarried housemaid is pregnant and trouble begins.

It is left to Noel to call for the help of sometime-detective and full-time psychoanalyst Mrs Bradley, who sets out on an unnervingly unorthodox investigation into the mysterious pregnancy, an investigation that also takes in a smuggler, the village lunatic, a missing corpse, a public pillory, an exhumation and, of course, a murderer.

Mrs. Bradley is easily one of the most memorable personalities in crime fiction and in this classic whodunit she proves that some English villages can be murderously peaceful.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


death opera Death at the Opera (1934)
AKA:Death in The Wet
Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.
Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca

Best Review
*****

Note: Death & The Mikado

Hillmaston School has chosen The Mikado for their next school performance and, in recognition of her generous offer to finance the production, their meek and self-effacing arithmetic mistress is offered a key role. But when she disappears mid-way through the opening night performance and is later found dead, unconventional psychoanalyst Mrs Bradley is called in to investigate. To her surprise she soon discovers that the hapless teacher had quite a number of enemies – all with a motive for murder

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


devil saxonThe Devil at Saxon Wall (1935)

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

Best Review
*****

Note: An eccentric town!

The quaint, cozy village of Saxon Wall is hiding a dark, sinister reality. When fiction author Hannibal Jones retires to Saxon Wall in hopes of reinvigorating his writing career, he instead finds himself in the midst of an increasingly puzzling and dangerous situation. Eccentric villagers and stories of curses, demons, and blood sacrifices abound. A devastating drought and imposing vicar escalate the pervasive fear until Hannibal Jones feels compelled to call in his good friend and detective, Mrs. Beatrice Lestrange Bradley. An alarming tale of a missing baby and suspicious deaths comes to light. And soon Bradley and Jones are at the center of a mystery wrought with conspiracy, murder…and witchcraft.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


dead mens morrisDead Men’s Morris (1936)

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

Best Review
****

Note: Christmas on a pig farm?

Bearing a gift of a stuffed boar’s head, Mrs. Beatrice Lestrange Bradley descends upon her nephew Carey Lestrange’s Oxfordshire pig farm for the holidays. The house is a lively one: in addition to Mrs. Bradley’s grandnephew Denis and chauffeur George, country life is well maintained by Mrs. Ditch, whose husband and sons are hearty practitioners of the morris dance. News travels that a neighboring solicitor has received a note with money challenging the man to attend a ghost-watch for the appearance of a local legend. The unfortunate lawyer accepts the terms, and meets his fate along the riverside, presumably dead of a heart attack.

Foul play—if any there be, argues the unconvinced country inspector—may have been instigated by a quarrelsome pig farmer named Simith, who had a standing feud with the solicitor. The suspect, however, meets his end shortly thereafter; apparently, it is death-by-boar. Such colorful demises intrigue the old psychoanalyst, and Mrs. Bradley begins investigating in earnest, uncovering hidden motives, secret passages, defaced churches, and murderous intent in a series of pig book entries. As the winter gives way to spring, Mrs. Bradley grows increasingly concerned that the killer may strike again, and this time much too close to the Lestrange farm.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


come awayCome Away Death (1937)

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.
Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca

Best Review
*****

Note: A Greek reenactment turns deadly!

All his children agreed that Sir Rudri Hopkinson was a most unaccountable man; and when he had yet another of his crack-brained ideas and decided to find out what the Mysteries at Eleusis really were, they thought the expedition would be a ‘fearful rag.’ With the help of his elder son Gelert, a far sounder if less imaginative archaeologist than Sir Rudri himself, and his hot-tempered rival Alexander Currie, he planned to re-enact the ritual practiced by the ancient Greeks at Eleusis, Epidaurus, and Mycenae. As his wife said to Mrs. Bradley, “If they were going to do a bit of honest digging, I shouldn’t worry so much. It’s all this classical philandering that I find so tiresome and upsetting.” So Mrs. Bradley accompanied the expedition, ostensibly to keep an eye on the three little boys and two attractive young girls, but actually to watch Sir Rudri’s eccentric behavior, and it was no surprise to her to discover a human head in the box which had previously held the snakes representing the god Aesculapius.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


st peters fingerSt. Peter’s Finger (1938)

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

Best Review
****

Note: A dead schoolgirl!

Mrs. Beatrice Lestrange Bradley receives a visit from her barrister son, Ferdinand Lestrange, who brings with him a plea for help. The coastal convent and girls’ school of Saint Peter’s Finger reports that student Ursula Doyle has died under inexplicable circumstances. The poor girl was found in the filled tub of a guesthouse bathroom but the coroner discovers that she had died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Fearing public outcry at the suspicious death, the nuns ask the Home Office psychoanalyst to look into matters. Mrs. Bradley dutifully attends.

Arriving at the convent, the detective quickly learns that the flow of information runs differently here. Though the nuns don’t withhold facts, neither do they extend them. Part of the difficulty lay in the circumstances: although none can believe little Ursula capable of committing the cardinal sin of suicide, the possibility of murder occurring at St. Peter’s is particularly disagreeable. As facts continue to find against a ruling of accidental drowning, Mrs. Bradley is forced to start looking for a murderer.

A couple of outsiders fit nicely: the dead girl’s aunt, Mrs. Maslin, moved one step closer to seeing Ursula’s large inheritance bestowed to her own stepdaughter; Miss Bonnet, a visiting physical training mistress, certainly had the strength—and possibly a motive—for murder; and cousin Ulrica, an enigmatic girl with signs of religious mania, was the last person to see Ursula alive. Even simple-minded Sister Bridget, with affinities for a pet mouse and for starting fires, cannot be immediately ruled out. As a solution begins to form, Mrs. Bradley grows increasingly uneasy with the situation and warns the Mother Superior to take steps to avoid another crime. In so doing, the old sleuth will also have to act fast to preserve her own life.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


printer's error Printer’s Error (1939)

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

Best Review
****

Note: Anti-semetic book ignites murder!

The imminent publication in a limited edition of a scandalously anti-Semitic book—The Open Bellied Mountain—by the printing house of Saxant and Senss, finds the author of the inflammatory work—Fortinbras Carn—and his closest relatives receiving disturbing threatening letters; threats that soon have to be taken deadly seriously when the author’s wife is killed in mysterious circumstances.

Mrs. Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley is soon drawn into a mystery as bizarre and as baffling as any that she has ever encountered during her long and illustrious career. Ably assisted by her resolute and energetic nephew Carey, and by the young and enterprising solicitor to the author’s family, she finds herself battling Nazis, nudists and gun-toting motorcyclists in equal numbers; unmasking the reason behind a sudden craze for wearing false beards; and the origin of several dismembered human body parts, which begin to appear in a variety of increasingly peculiar locations. All before eventually arriving at the case’s unexpected and surreal climax.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


brazen tonguesBrazen Tongue (1940)

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

Best Review
****

Note: Three stray corpses!

It is the early months of the Second World War, and the inhabitants of the provincial town of Willington are just coming to terms with the idea of petrol shortages, rationing, occasional air raid warnings, and the blackout. The last thing they expect is for three mysterious corpses to appear in their midst on the same gloomy night.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


hangman curfew Hangman’s Curfew (1941)

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

Best Review
***

Note: A rather complicated tale!

Mrs. Bradley’s niece-by-courtesy, Gillian, is instructed to embark upon a walking holiday, as rehabilitation after a failed romance. Once alone, amidst the border castle, colourful heather, and wild moors of Northumberland, Gillian not only succeeds in forgetting all about her past love, but also manages to stumble across an intriguing mystery.

Mrs. Bradley finds herself drawn into the puzzle—but by chance or design, she cannot decide—and is forced to pit her considerable wits against as ruthless and unscrupulous an adversary as she has ever encountered.

Church ghosts; music hall mayhem; a repeated and perplexing case of strychnine poisoning; and—not forgetting—hidden treasure, are just some of the things with which Mrs. Bradley must contend, before a murderer can be finally brought to a long awaited justice.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


last died When Last I Died (1941)

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.
Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca

Best Review
*****

Note: Mitchell’s Best?

Mrs. Bradley can’t resist looking into an old case when she comes across the diary of an alleged murderess in this 1941 classic detective novel, often called the author’s best book.

It was quite by accident that Mrs. Bradley found the diary of a woman, now dead, who a few years earlier had been arrested, tried and acquitted of murdering a professional ghosthunter. Mrs. Bradley has dealt with murderers before, but she has always dealt with them as a professional psychiatrist—coolly, scientifically, almost flippantly. Now, however, the brilliant old lady is fiercely determined to bring a cruel and ruthless murderer to bay—even if she has to open up the grave of the woman most people think wrongfully escaped the gallows. It proves to be one of the most difficult cases in Mrs. Bradley’s career, even prompting our celebrated sleuth to take several wrong turns herself.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


laurels poisonLaurels Are Poison (1942)

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

Best Review
****

Note: Terror in a girl’s school

Mrs. Bradley, celebrated psychoanalyst, arrives at Cartaret women’s training college intending to fill a vacancy left by a house warden from the previous semester. The missing staff member, Miss Murchan, disappeared during the end-of-term dance and failed to surface again. Add to that the possibility that Miss Murchan may have witnessed, or even been involved in, the death of a young student earlier that year, and the warden’s abrupt absence from college begins to look very sinister indeed. Mrs. Bradley’s arrival is met with a rash of busy—and sometimes menacing—practical jokes: bathrooms are flooded, snakes are let loose in a classroom, clothing is savagely slashed, and one girl’s hair is cut off while she sleeps. Fortunately, the energetic new warden takes into her confidence the sub-warden, an intelligent young woman named Deborah Cloud, and a trio of colorful students: outgoing, outspoken Laura Menzies, future hairstylist Kitty Trevelyan, and shy but physically strong Alice Boorman. Together, the group combats the increasingly mischievous pranks, but even Mrs. Bradley is unable to anticipate the murder of the house cook: the woman’s body is found downstream in the nearby river, with her corsets floating separately among the weeds. It soon becomes clear that the Cartaret grounds contain a fugitive, but is this person the missing Miss Murchan? And if so, then whose bones were boiled in the abandoned quarry? And what of the rather suspiciously named Miss Cornflake, a new student who possesses the commanding presence of an experienced teacher? Mrs. Bradley keeps admirable track of all these details and more, disarming pistol-wielding mental patients and dodging murderous attackers while moving determinedly towards the mystery’s conclusion.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


worsted viperThe Worsted Viper (1943)

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

Best Review
****

Note: Poison Pen Tales

Mrs. Bradley is not unaccustomed to receiving fan mail, but the anonymous letter that she opens one morning at breakfast has not been sent by a well-wisher. The letter evokes memories for Mrs. Bradley of a past criminal investigation, in which she had played a minor role in convicting a particularly unpleasant murderer and Satanist.

The letter, too, provides a link to a sudden spate of gruesome and ritualistic murders occurring in the normally tranquil surroundings of the Norfolk Broads and not for the first time, Mrs. Bradley finds herself drawn into a race to track down a killer.

Aided by her nephew Jonathan, and only occasionally hampered by her three former pupils—Laura, Kitty and Alice—Mrs. Bradley takes to the myriad waterways where she is pitted against a dark occultist sect, a deadly line in knitwear and a plot to dismantle an ancient monument, and where she finds herself the object of a long-harboured plan for revenge.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


sunset sohoSunset Over Soho (1943)

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

Best Review
****

Note: An old body amongst the new corpses!

It’s the height of the Second World War, and Mrs. Bradley is working overtime as a doctor at a rest shelter for air raid casualties and displaced persons. With all the present mortality around them, the staff hardly needs another dead body, yet they find one in the form of a two-year old corpse, packed into a makeshift coffin and clothed in a now tattered dressing gown. The dead man’s identity and appearance in the shelter are a mystery; the coffin/crate wasn’t noticed in the basement room on the previous day. Mrs. Bradley realizes that the story really begins in the days before the war, and confides her tale to Detective Inspector Pirberry.

In a second plot line, David Harben, a young novelist and acquaintance of Mrs. Bradley, spends his summers writing and boating off England’s coast. One dark night a tap at the porthole window reveals a visitor to David’s tub: a beautiful woman whose first words to David are “I’ve killed him.” The boat is moored off the beach near some houses, and upon the woman’s request that David investigate, the writer enters the house and discovers the dead man on the floor. David returns to the boat, hours pass, and when they next visit the house, the body has disappeared. The mysterious woman then leaves David by taking his boat, and when David reclaims it down river, the woman is nowhere to be found. That’s when the attempts on David’s life begin. While David ponders these events, two Dominican nuns and their collection of five orphaned boys enter his life. Mrs. Bradley takes this extended family into her beach house, but during another investigation of the dead man’s house, David disappears. The sea recurs throughout this story, and Mrs. Bradley collects such clues as a secretive sailing flag, a talkative parrot, a water-filled cellar, sinister Spaniards, and stories of naval heroics and alluring water-nymphs, clues which help her (and perhaps only her) make sense of this tangled plot.

This plot is very complex and hard to follow. For more information see review at:

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


father sleeps My Father Sleeps (1944)

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

Best Review
****

Note: A mysterious tormentor!

Touring Scotland’s western Highlands is meant to be a romantic holiday for Ian and Catherine Menzies. But the winds shift when the limping, haunted figure of Hector Loudoun appears. The man begs for an audience and then regales them with a marvelous tale: after Hector refused another man’s offer to purchase his property, he was cursed by a terrible fall and tormented by a ghostly voice calling out for justice. The story seems unfounded, until Hector’s housekeeper suddenly goes missing…and the body of a stranger—stabbed in the back—is discovered by Ian’s sister and her traveling companion Mrs. Beatrice Lestrange Bradley. The psychoanalyst detective is no stranger to murder. She sets out to interview Hector, but instead unearths a whole new set of mysteries…and motives.

In this peculiar tale of clan lore and buried secrets, the indomitable Mrs. Bradley unravels a multifaceted mystery—piece by satisfying piece.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


rising moonThe Rising of the Moon (1945)

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

Best Review
*****

Note: A new Jack the Ripper?

Could there be a Jack-the-Ripper copycat in the sleepy village of Brentford? Two women have been found brutally murdered, each under the light of a full moon. When a third mutilated body is identified, brothers Simon and Keith Innes discover that their brother Jack was mysteriously absent from their home on that last moonlit night. After Jack’s snob’s knife goes missing from his tool box, Simon and Keith have no choice but to investigate and clear his name. With the help of the peculiar amateur detective Mrs. Bradley, the brothers race to find answers…before the rising of another full moon.

The belovedly eccentric Mrs. Bradley and her ingenious sleuthing are sure to impress in this cleverly woven classic. You’ll never guess who lurks in the shadows—and why.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


comes chopperHere Comes a Chopper (1946)

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

Best Review
*****

Note: A guest loses his head!

Roger Hoskyn and Dorothy Woodcote are spending their Easter weekend holiday on a walking tour of the English countryside. Toward day’s end, the pair find themselves still a long distance from a train station and decide to stop at Whiteledge, a country manor house, to ask directions. To their surprise, the butler ushers them in and leads them to bedrooms and baths, where the travellers are to wash and then join the house for dinner. Arriving at table, Roger and Dorothy are soon in the company of some interesting persons: they recognize Claudia Denbies, a striking redhead and a celebrated violinist, and master George Merrow, whose birthday the party is celebrating, as two of three horse riders who passed them that afternoon. Dorothy notices that the third rider, a tall, handsome man, is absent from the group, and an enquiry reveals that Mr. Harry Lingfield went out riding and has not yet returned. Dorothy also learns that her and Roger’s invitations were given by the superstitious and eccentric Lady Catherine Leith, who didn’t want Lingfield’s appearance to create thirteen at table. To Roger’s right sits an unsettling old lady named Mrs. Bradley, whose black eyes take in the details of all her dining companions.

Mr. Lingfield still hasn’t returned to Whiteledge by the following day, and Mrs. Bradley and the travellers, under the auspices of taking the dog for a walk, retrace the trail on which Dorothy and Roger saw the horse riders. The dog disappears into a copse, and its pursuers come across the naked and headless body of a man. It appears to be the body of the missing Mr. Lingfield, but there is some opposition to this theory, notably from Claudia Denbies, Lingfield’s lover. The corpse’s head is not found at the scene, and an inquest only seems to raise more questions. Mrs. Bradley has been acting as a consulting psychiatrist for someone in the house, but will not reveal her patient’s identity to the police. A Scottish train conductor testifies to seeing a decapitated body laying across the tracks. The inspector’s suspicion falls on Mrs. Denbies, but then who is responsible for three attempts on Roger’s life, and why? When a second beheading occurs, Mrs. Bradley steps in and offers a solution which incorporates archery, sculpture, second sight, seven and sixpence, the “mount of Venus,” tripwire, barbed wire, and a burned-out car in high-spirited—if not entirely believable—fashion.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


death maidenDeath and the Maiden (1947)

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.
Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca

Best Review
****

Note: Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water! 

When former banana-grower Edris Tidson hears of a possible sighting of a water-naiad he insists that his wife, her aunt Prissie and Prissie’s young ward Connie, travel with him to Winchester in search of the nymph. As tensions rise between Connie and Edris, Prissie invites part-time Freudian Mrs. Bradley to join them and unofficially observe Edris and his growing obsession. Then two young boys are found drowned and speculation mounts that the naiad is luring them to their deaths. Can Mrs. Bradley unravel the mysteries hidden within the river?

Best review a little too highly rated, perhaps?

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website


dancing druidsThe Dancing Druids (1948)

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

Best Review
****

Note: Nine rocks & three missing men!

The nine rocks known as The Dancing Druids had become objects of mystery and suspicion in their locality, and were linked in people’s minds with the disappearances at nine-yearly intervals of three apparently harmless local men. There was also the smuggling mystery: it was known that valuable paintings and clever fakes were being smuggled abroad, but it was not until Mrs. Bradley, with her unerring acumen and the help of her attractive young secretary, Laura, deduced a connection between this trade and the disappearances, that the two mysteries were finally solved.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


Tom BrownTom Brown’s Body (1949)

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.
Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca

Best Review
****

Note: The fate of a  rude teacher?

Gerald Conway was a junior master at Spey College. The Head considered him a reliable history specialist and a useful games coach, but his fellow masters thought him a rude and insufferably presumptuous young man and the boys called him a mean and treacherous beast. But, as Inspector Gavin said, “Public schoolboys don’t murder the staff.” Mrs. Bradley wasn’t so certain; at least she felt sure they knew more than they would say. The erudite Micklethwaite, for example, an expert in Judo, refused to speak of the abominable Conway who had accused him of cheating in the exam for the Divinity Prize. Mrs. Bradley had to use tact and guile and a bit of black magic to make boys and masters tell her the whole story.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


groaning spinneyGroaning Spinney (1950)

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

Best Review
****

Note: Christmas in The Cotswolds

Mrs. Bradley has decided to spend Christmas with her nephew Jonathan and his wife Deb at their home in the Cotswolds. Upon settling in, the psychiatrist soon hears the story of a local apparition: the ghost of a country parson, it is said, can sometimes be seen at night slung over the gate leading to a grouping of trees called Groaning Spinney. As neighbours and locals visit Jonathan with seasonal greetings (for he has inherited, with the purchase of the large house, the mantle of village squire), Mrs. Bradley learns that the ghostly vicar has been spotted that evening by two travellers. She also makes the acquaintance of Tiny Fullalove, a man to whom Mrs. Bradley takes an immediate dislike. She fares better with Tiny’s brother Bill, a capable countryman named Will North, and farmhand Ed Brown, who has a knack for befriending and taming wild animals, particularly birds.

After the holiday, various villagers begin to receive anonymous letters carrying accusations and insinuations against themselves and others. The first letters are handwritten, subsequent ones typed. Jonathan points out that their spiteful content usually springs from a kernel of truth; e.g., a note detailing an affair between Tiny and Deb seems to elaborate upon an unwelcome pass Tiny had made previously. In the midst of this, and after a particularly heavy snowfall, the body of Bill Fullalove is found, slumped over the woodland gate in a morbid imitation of the parson’s demise a century before.

As Mrs. Bradley theorizes upon the source of the poison pen letters, she makes the acquaintance of the Inspector assigned to the suspicious death and pesters him into exhuming the recently interred body. Another discovery reveals itself with the winter’s thaw: the body of a woman, housekeeper to the Fullaloves, is found on the hillside, where it was buried for weeks under deep snow. The finding of dog collars and leads stuck into a rabbit hole provides for Mrs. Bradley further proof of her theory, and as she gets into riding dress to accompany her nephew on a fox hunt, she sets a trap that will flush out the guilty party and run it to ground.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


devils elbowThe Devil’s Elbow (1951)

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

Best Review
***

Note: Murder on a coach tour!

Dan Jeffries’ job, as courier on a coach taking holiday-makers on a tour of Scotland, was fairly uneventful until, with the tour nearly over, one of the party was murdered. It was fortunate that the important facts preceding the crime had been faithfully recorded by Jeffries in letters to his fiancée, and even more fortunate that she should have been working for Mrs. Bradley.

Mrs. Bradley, as befits “the best woman detective in fiction”, was quickly on the scene, questioning and deducing, ferreting out the real facts behind this apparently motiveless crime. There was the question of the boat-trip undertaken by some members of the coach party, the nylons found in a caravan mattress, the jewels smuggled in a barrel of fish, and other seemingly irrelevant discoveries. But relevant they were, and Mrs. Bradley was soon well on the way to solving one of her most brilliant cases.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


echoing strangersThe Echoing Strangers (1952)

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

Best Review
*****

Note: A conspiracy to murder?

Most people overlooked the sullen deaf-mute teenager Francis Caux…until he led police to the scene of a murder. It was psychoanalyst and detective Mrs. Beatrice Lestrange Bradley who found a clever way to communicate with Francis, thus learning that his recent fear of water stemmed from a body chained to the underside of a boathouse dinghy. But how did Francis know the location of the body? Even more puzzling is the discovery of a second murder linked to another Caux teen, Derek, in a nearby village. Mrs. Bradley suspects that the teenage Caux boys are somehow related, and soon must consider the possibility that they are coconspirators…in murder.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


merlins furlongMerlin’s Furlong (1953)

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

Best Review
****

Note: Three violent deaths!

At Merlin’s Furlong lived Mr. Aumbry, a wealthy, elderly art collector; and at Merlin’s Furlong, just when he had changed his will, Mr. Aumbry died—violently…

Not far away, at Merlin’s Castle lived Professor Havers, of Carford University, a man with an unsavoury reputation and a taste for witchcraft; and soon, at Merlin’s Castle, long before his appointed time, Professor Havers died—violently…

And at Carford, not long before, an unfortunate undergraduate, a pupil of Professor Havers, had died—violently also, since he appeared to have cut his own throat…

It was fortunate indeed that three other undergraduates, involved innocently enough in these bloody affairs, had as a friend a nephew of Mrs. Lestrange Bradley. Fortunate for them, for they certainly needed help; fortunately for Mrs. Bradley, since the case, with its flavour of witchcraft and the Black Mass, was one after her own heart; and most fortunate of all for the countless admirers of ‘the best woman detective in fiction’ who will find in Merlin’s Furlong all the ingredients of a vintage Gladys Mitchell crime story.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


faintley speakingFaintley Speaking (1954)

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

Best Review
****

Note: Whose speaking?

On a rainy, miserable night, down-on-his-luck author George Mandsell ducks into a public telephone box, intending to call his publisher and ask for an advance. As soon as he is inside, the phone begins to ring. Answering it, he discovers that the caller is a Miss Faintley, and in no uncertain terms she tells him to pick up a parcel from a neighboring station and to deliver it to a shady shopowner in the village. Before Mandsell can explain that she has mistaken him for another errand-runner, she rings off. Spotting the chance to make a little money while also perhaps finding inspiration for a story idea in the adventure, the penniless author sets out to retrieve the package.

A short while later, thirteen-year-old Mark Street is dismayed to find his least favorite school teacher staying at the same hotel where he and his family are passing their summer holiday. Worse luck, Miss Faintley (referred to by Mark as “old Semi-Conscious”) has uncharacteristically asked him to accompany her to a nearby town. With a schoolboy’s resourcefulness, Mark slips away from his teacher at Torbury and returns to the hotel for an unsupervised swim. He begins to worry, however, when Miss Faintley doesn’t return to the hotel by the following day, and confides as much to Laura Menzies, a fellow guest and newfound companion in athletic activities. Out for an early morning hike, Mark and Laura discover a deserted house surrounded by woods on one side and coastline on the other. Ignoring “no trespassing” signs, they investigate and eventually come upon a woman’s body lying among the gorse. Laura alerts her employer, Mrs. Beatrice Bradley, and the old detective soon picks up the scent. If the body is that of Miss Faintley, who killed her, and why? After a visit to the caves at Lascaux, the consultation of some botany books, a little seafaring surveillance, and the befriending of both Mr. Mandsell and a Latin-speaking parrot, Mrs. Bradley is ready to deliver a solution.

This plot is very complex and hard to follow. For more information see review at:

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


watsons choice2 Watson’s Choice (1955)

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

Best Review
****

Note: The Return of The Hound of The Baskervilles?

Mrs Bradley investigates the murder of a young woman following a Sherlock Holmes themed party. One of Sir Bohun Chantrey’s great passions in life are the stories of Sherlock Holmes. To celebrate the great man’s anniversary, he throws a party at which the guests are instructed to come as characters from the detective stories. But several of the guests are more interested in Sir Bohun’s money, and when he announces that he is to marry a poor governess, things take a turn for the worse, not least when the Hound of the Baskervilles turns up. Fortunately Mrs Bradley, and her secretary Laura, are amongst the guests and ready to investigate the deepening mystery.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


twelve horsesTwelve Horses and the Hangman’s Noose (1956)

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

Best Review
***

Note: Maybe his horse got really annoyed?

John Mapstead kept twelve horses at his riding-stables. Eight were for hire, three came and went mysteriously in connection with race meetings and one was for his own use. It was in the loose-box of the latter that they found his battered body, and the horse was squealing mad and had blood on its hoof.

The verdict of the inquest was Death by Misadventure, but Dame Beatrice Bradley, Gladys Mitchell’s unique detective, began to make inquiries which uncovered one strange feature of the case after another, until by a cold process of deduction she and her secretary were in a position to prove just what had been going on in the Hampshire countryside.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


23 man2 The Twenty-third Man (1957)

Available in paperback, ebook and audible editions.
Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca

Best Review
*****

Note: A Death on Hombres Muertos

Renowned criminologist, psychoanalyst and sardonic widow Mrs Bradley is enjoying a relaxing holiday on the beautiful island of Hombres Muertos. Then a cave high up in the mountains, containing the mummified bodies of twenty three dead kings, acquires an extra corpse overnight and Mrs Bradley is delighted to be called into action.

As her investigations begin it quickly becomes clear that almost everyone on the island has a motive for murder, and a dark secret they are desperate to conceal. But who is the real killer?

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


spotted hemlockSpotted Hemlock (1958)

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

Best Review
****

Note: Do headless horsemen use poison?

When a phantom horseman—headless, of course—appears amidst the rhododendron at England’s Calladale College of Agriculture for women, the incident is passed off as a rag pulled by the rival men’s college, Highpepper Hall. But when the badly decayed body of a young woman—a Calladale student, to judge from the badge on her jacket—is discovered in an abandoned coach, it becomes obvious that something much more sinister then a prank has been played. Dame Beatrice Lestrange Bradley, psychiatrist and consulting psychologist to the home office, whose pig farming nephew Carey holds a temporary position at the college, is called in to investigate.

Dame Beatrice’s first deduction is that the murderer—for this was no accidental death—must have possessed a particular knowledge of poisonous plants in order to choose spotted hemlock, which was at its most deadly at that time of year. Her second conclusion is that the murder victim is not at all who she was originally thought to be…

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


grew tomatoesThe Man Who Grew Tomatoes (1959)

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

Best Review
****

Note: Three Rotten Tomatoes?

Mr. Hugh Camber, claiming the family estate as his own following an inheritance, does not receive quite the warm welcome that he has expected. Housestaff members give their notice, the chauffeur is released following a wave of insubordination, and the villagers seem reluctant to account for the tension that accompanies the house. Slowly, Hugh gathers up enough information to draw some conclusions. It appears that upon Paul Camber’s death, the household fears the inevitable arrival of a widowed aunt, Mrs. Hal Camber, to claim the estate for herself and her rather insufferable young son. There are rumours of unpleasantness between a dismissed Camber tutor and a local farm girl. Added to that, much speculation is given to the demise of Paul Camber: he was found drowned in a Scotland stream. Paul’s son, master Stephen, had also drowned in a local river a few months earlier, and an eyewitness noted that the boy appeared to be drunk as he made his way along the bank.

As prophesied by the Camber housemaids, Mrs. Hal arrives at the estate with her son in tow, and with the intention of settling in. Sympathetic but resolute, Hugh locks horns with this domineering relation and eventually sends her back to her home. Shortly thereafter, villagers start receiving anonymous letters which accuse Hugh of the murder of his relatives. When Hugh and his fiancée, the vicar’s sister, are sent similar notes, Hugh asks Dame Beatrice to travel to the Norfolk estate and venture an opinion as to the writer’s identity. Hugh already suspects the exiled aunt, but, as Dame Beatrice points out, it is curious that the letters specifically refer to murder when accusations of other ill behaviours would blacken a name equally well. After all, both Paul and Stephen Camber were accorded rulings of accidental death.

And then there are the tomatoes. Parlourmaid Ethel lifted three from Paul Camber’s dining room table and became quite sick after eating them. Master Stephen’s final lunch was said to contain tomatoes. But from where did these intoxicating fruits originate? And how did they find their way into the Camber house? Dame Beatrice uses her knowledge of poisons, salmon fishing, agriculture, pig farming, and the deviousness of human nature to solve this agreeable countryside mystery.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


say flowersSay It With Flowers (1960)

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

Best Review
***

Note: No Roman skeleton?

Two leading characters in this detective novel are Phlox and Marigold Carmichael, a pair of dilettante Bohemians who wish to find a Romano-British treasure trove. While digging in Hampshire, they unearth a skeleton which they show as a Romano-British exhibit. However, Dame Beatrice Lestrange Bradley is so doubtful of its origin that she has tests made and discovers the bones to be those of a person killed within the present decade. And so Miss Mitchell’s famous woman detective takes on a new and exciting case.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


nodding canariesThe Nodding Canaries (1961)

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

Best Review
**

Note: One of Mitchell’s worst!

Dame Beatrice is summoned by schoolmistress Alice Boorman, who has found herself in a bit of a predicament. While hosting two candidates for a rival teaching position, the group visits the mine shafts of Pigmy’s Ladder, where the two visitors explore under ground while Alice, subject to claustrophobia, stays above. Out of sight much longer than expected, Alice begins to worry about her charges; a search finds the teachers unconscious from the heavy presence of butane (or calor) gas within the shafts. Concerned that she may be accused of trying to do in her job rivals, Alice appeals to Dame Beatrice, who is quick to assure her that the gas was meant for someone else. She proves this by conducting the police to the body of Oliver Breydon-Waters, walled up in an underground alcove at the prehistoric site.

The elderly detective focuses on the Nodding archaeological society, and soon learns that Breydon-Waters was not well-liked. The victim’s mother is in questionable contact with her son from the spirit world, and she shows Dame Beatrice his collection of earthly possessions which seem to include several artefacts and relics lifted from various digs. While gas canisters were found beside Breydon-Waters’ body, death was assuredly caused by a severe blow to the head. Had the man known something which led to his demise? Or had his illicit activities caught up with him? If Breydon-Waters’ mother was indeed in celestial communication with him, that avenue of investigation reaches an end when the lady is poisoned by salts of lemon. As Dame Beatrice digs deeper, she uncovers a murderer whose motive may be sincere but whose actions are disturbingly deadly.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


bones keepMy Bones Will Keep (1962)

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

Best Review
***

Note: The Island of Ghosts

Laura’s trip to her native Scotland—accompanying Dame Beatrice for a conference, the secretary finds the venture more pleasure than business—begins ominously when she witnesses at Inverness a man thrown into the path of a speeding lorry. A little later, Laura is caught in heavy rain, which cuts short her exploration of Highland scenery. Fate deposits her on the strange island of Tannasgan—Island of Ghosts—and she shares dinner with an even stranger companion, a red-bearded Scot who calls himself Malcom Donalbain Macbeth. Sent to a bedroom after her host requests her company for a week, Laura’s increasing unease with the situation causes her to flee. Making her way to the rowboat that carried her to the island, she is surprised to find another stranger hiding in the boathouse. The pair escape to shore as the sound of bagpipes builds from a dirge to a frenzied reel, then violently, abruptly cuts off.

Laura’s nighttime adventures interest Dame Beatrice strangely, as they learn that the Laird of Tannasgan was stabbed with a skian-dhu, his body chained to a rum barrel and placed in the loch. A young journalist named Grant—the man in the boathouse—dogs the ladies during their investigation, pleading with Laura to offer him an alibi for the murder. It becomes clear that Laura’s host was not the cruel Laird known to many as Cu Dubh—Black Dog—but then what part did he play in the proceedings? The trail leads to a menagerie of carvings on a neighbouring island, but the arresting figures of the werewolf, gryphon, and basilisk there remain silent with their secrets.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


adders heathAdders on the Heath (1963)

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

Best Review
**

Note: Another candidate for worst Mitchell?

Dame Beatrice receives a letter from her grandnephew, Denis Bradley, and relates its contents thusly to Laura over breakfast: “Denis has joined a friend named Tom Richardson for a fortnight’s holiday. He was late getting to the hotel and the friend slept in a small tent until Denis arrived. A dead man was found in the tent one night. Richardson recognised him, but did not tell the police so. However, by the time the police arrived at the tent, the body had been exchanged for another which Richardson did not recognise. Now he and Denis have discovered the first body. They want us to go along and look into the matter.” Look into the matter they do, and it’s soon discovered that Tom Richardson, a track runner, not only knew one of the dead men but had quarreled with him on one blackmail-tinged occasion. How and why the rival athlete’s body had gotten into Tom’s tent, and why it was then exchanged for a second dead man, are indeed mysteries best left to the elderly sleuth. What she discovers involves an improbable mix of athletics clubs, absentee landowners, New Forest ponies, and some vague form of national/international intrigue, the undertaking of which perhaps only Dame Beatrice truly understands.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


delft blueDeath of a Delft Blue (1964)

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

Best Review
***

Note:  Murder Dutch style?

Mrs. Beatrice Lestrange Bradley, a renowned psychoanalyst and detective, has a penchant for making the most unusual acquaintances in the most unlikely places. While attending a conference in Holland, Mrs. Bradley meets the lively Binnie Colwyn-Welch. The newly engaged girl introduces the detective to her relations, the eccentric offspring of three overlapping family lines. And that’s when the mystery begins. Binnie’s family is rife with conflict, not the least of which is caused by her handsome, troublemaker brother, Florian. Shortly after a portrait of the stunning-yet-cruel Florian is completed—including a study of the young man’s hand holding a delft-blue hyacinth—the lothario goes missing. And who better than the indomitable Mrs. Bradley to follow the trail…all the way to a murder.

Gladys Mitchell Tribute Website 


Go to Gladys Mitchell Page 2/2


Complete Gladys Mitchell Bibliography


Good Mystery home