Mildred Davis, ‘They Buried A Man’

Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise hosts the Crime Fiction Alphabet each week. This week we’re halfway through with the letter M and I’m highlighting Mildred B. Davis…

‘The fatal poisoning had happened more than twenty years before…

Now the best loved man in Little Forks was dead, victim of a cruel and senseless automobile accident.

“Could it be a case of belated justice?” the doctor wondered to his wife. And the town’s new young newspaper editor began to do some wondering of his own. What had the dead man, Selwyn Buoman, really been like? Was this upright man guilty of an old murder nobody wanted to talk about?

Being a good newspaperman, Gunnard Kerr went deeper and deeper into the life of Selwyn Buoman, and at last he found the extraordinary solution to a murder – and to the character of an unusual man.’

I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery! I HAD to get to the end to see who did it. Ms. Davis used multiple narrators to tell the story. Chapters titled as to whom was telling their side of the story-Story Continued by Minnie Caldecott… It was fun getting to know the characters this way. Like an actress sliding into a role, Ms. Davis slid into character as she wrote each chapter. I enjoyed the small town atmosphere and relationships. I liked the characters. Even the not so lovely or nice ones you found yourself understanding and wanting them to grow and become better people. It was interesting in seeing how the secrets and character of one man effected the whole community and changed the course of all the residents lives. I highly recommend this book. I am on the look out now for her first book, ‘ The Room Upstairs’.

Quotes from the book:

‘they buried a man a year ago. A man Little Forks knew and loved for nearly half a century. A man who ….. They buried a man a year ago, but they couldn’t bury all the threads with which he was tied to the people he left behind.’

‘Bert and I weren’t superstitious. We knew there was nothing in the plaster of the walls or the wood of the floor to make our Una unhappy because she lived In a room where there’d been so much misery 24 years ago. Just as there was nothing in the plaster and the wood of the dining room to make it haunted because a man fell dead there with a bellyful of poison 22 years ago. What happened in these rooms and between these walls long ago wasn’t in them any more. Even Bert’s and my happiness wasn’t in them. They were just walls and rooms, and the misery and happiness was only in the people who walked in them.’

You can check out more about Mildred @ Mildred Davis Mystery Bookroom

Bibliography:
1948 – The Room Upstairs (Edgar Award for Best First Novel, presented by the Mystery Writers of America)
1953 – They Buried a Man
1954 – Suicide Hour (a novella) click on the link to download a free copy!
1955 – The Dark Place
1964 – The Voice on the Telephone
1966 – The Sound of Insects
1967 – Strange Corner
1967 – Walk Into Yesterday (aka Nightmare of Murder)
1969 – The Third Half
1971 – Three Minutes to Midnight
1974 – The Invisible Boarder
1975 – Tell Them What’s-Her-Name Called
1977 – Scorpion
1977 – Lucifer Land (co-authored w/Katherine Davis)
2006 – Murder in Maine: The Avenging of Nevah Wright (co-authored w/Katherine Roome)
2007 – Murder in Maine: The Fly Man Murders
2008 – Murder in Maine: The Butterfly Effect

This book also counts toward my Vintage Mystery Challenge over at Bev’s My Readers Block.

Some old book covers of Mildred’s books…


 

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