Francis Beeding Death Walks in Eastrepps (1931)
"'ORRIBLE DOUBLE MURDER IN EASTREPPS THIS EVENING! ... 'ORRIBLE MURDER! ..."
Trains, like morals, were proper in the Golden Age:
Eldridge closed the despatch-case with a snap and, rising briskly, walked down the corridor to his solitary table in the dining-car. Mulligatawny soup, poached turbot, roast leg of lamb - the usual railway dinner... Not so bad. He ate it steadily, and even had a second slice of lamb, for he was hungry. During the meal, as was his custom, he read from a book propped up against the cruet.
Death Walks in Eastrepps - subtitled "An Inspector Wilkins Mystery" - is a Golden Age classic. It has all the hallmarks of the period that I enjoy: trains, lonely roads, spinsters, widows, rose gardens, golf courses, cliffs, dodgy businessmen, missing embezzlers, blackmail, screaming maids, loopy aristocrats, Colonels who never forget to say goodnight to their cats, bad weather, niblicks, use of the word "complexion", and murder after murder after murder.
It is thoroughly good fun and all quite unlikely. As a mystery is has an element of cheating that I won't give away, but which reminds me somewhat of a rather famous early Agatha Christie that has also been considered by many to cheat.
'Francis Beeding' is the pseudonym of a pair of prolific writers, John Leslie Palmer and Hilary Aidan St. George Saunders. Alfred Hitchcock's wonderfully weird film Spellbound (1945) - "will he KISS me or KILL me?" - is based on a Beeding novel, The House of Dr. Edwardes (1927), so I'll have to track that down.