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Murder by the Book (A Langham and Dupre Mystery) Hardcover – July 1, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

SF author Brown (Homeworld) does a good job depicting the changing social world of 1955 London in his well-paced first mystery. Literary agent Charles Elder asks an old friend and client, mystery writer Donald Langham, to help him with a delicate personal matter. Kenneth, a charming scallywag with whom Charles has become intimate at the Hackney swimming baths, is now trying to blackmail him with incriminating photographs of the pair in flagrante delicto. Don, whose contact at an investigative agency could assist in the case, teams with Charles's glamorous associate, Maria Dupré, to try to retrieve the photos. Meanwhile, a number of Don's fellow writers are meeting untimely ends. Maria lacks the well-roundedness of the main characters, but her high spirits nicely compliment Don's somewhat-dour nature. Readers will hope a sequel is in the works. Agent: John Jarrold, John Jarrold Literary Agency (U.K.). (Aug.)

Review

“Charming characters and a consistently entertaining tone mark this crime debut from sci-fi veteran Brown” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Readers will hope a sequel is in the works” (Publishers Weekly)
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Product Details

  • Series: A Langham and Dupre Mystery (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Crème de la Crime (July 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780290519
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780290515
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,555,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roso on August 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
When crime novelist Donald Langham's agent asks for some help with a "delicate matter", little does Donald know what he's getting into. The world of literature is shocked as members of the London Crime Writer's Association appear to have committed suicide. Donald believes something far more sinister has taken place and with the help of his agent's assistant Maria Dupre, he sets out to prove it.

Set in 1955, this is a taut, well written hard boiled mystery. Sure to be a big hit with the Mad Men set.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a delightful crime novel set in 1950’s London. Donald Langham is a forty year old author of crime mysteries, featuring his private detective Sam Brooke. Langham is widowed and lives a slightly solitary life, but is successful at what he does and enjoys his writing. His literary agent, Charles Elder, invites him to lunch and then asks him for his advice. Elder is being blackmailed after being photographed with a young man in a very compromising position. Donald Langham had worked briefly for a detective agency after the war and has lived vicariously though his Sam Brooke novels, so offers to help. This also brings him into closer proximity with the lovely Maria Dupre, who works with Charles Elder.

Before long, Donald and Maria, find themselves involved in ransom demands, blackmail and murder. For it seems that there is a sudden spate of suicides and murders among literary figures, authors, agents and reviewers, many known to Donald personally. Can he untangle the crimes and find the link between blackmail and murder? What is more, can he solve the crimes before he too becomes a victim?

If you enjoy Golden Age detective fiction, you will be sure to like this intelligent and witty novel. Although it is set in a slightly later period – post war London – it has an evocative sense of time and place. The plot is full of twists and turns and there are many nods to authors from that period, which will appeal to lovers of the mystery genre. Donald Langham is a wonderfully understated hero and the other characters help flesh out the storyline. Events are fast moving and this looks to be the start of a wonderful series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat on August 31, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Donald Langham is a mid list crime writer who makes his living from writing in the nineteen fifties. His agent, Charles becomes the victim of a blackmailer and Donald, against his better judgement, agrees to try and find out who the blackmailer is. Attempts at ambushing the blackmailer fail and the situation becomes more difficult when Charles is arrested. As all good amateur detectives must, Donald has a contact in the police and Jeff Mallory asks for Donald's help in solving some apparently unrelated murders among writers and critics. Someone seems to have it in for anyone involved with books and publishing.

This is an exciting and fast paced crime novel and the first in a new series. It doesn't have too much on the page violence and the nineteen fifties is well drawn though I did spot one anachronism - which didn't spoil my enjoyment of the story. The plot is well constructed and I didn't work out who the murderer was until Donald did. I liked the characters - the eccentric Charles, down to earth Donald and Maria Dupre - Charles' assistant. I also thought the book was well written.

If you enjoy crime novels by Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh then you will probably enjoy 'Murder by the Book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Vicki M on August 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fantastic premise, mystery writers being literally done in by their imaginations. The idea great, the execution not quiet as well done. In London after WWII a midlist mystery author is pulled into first a blackmail scheme targeting his agent then increasingly violent murders of fellow authors in the styles of their works. Romance, revenge and feats of daring cumulate into a rather rushed finale. I personally feel with a little more depth and character development this would have been a really great read. As I would be taking my life in my own hands by reviewing this negatively I will say that it was a good evenings entertainment. I will look for the next installment and hope Langham and Dupre rise to the occasion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By danceforth books on February 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover
The premiss is interesting-- a novelist and his agent's secretary joining forces to solve a series of murders connected to the publishing world--, but the delivery is a bit weak. In using the setting of London, arguably the greatest city in the world, more could have been done to further the plot, which in itself is a bit flat. As a Londoner in the 1950s myself, I felt that the period was treated too lightly and could have been developed further. All in all, a bit of a disappointment.
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