The Z Murders by J. Jefferson Farjeon

Publisher: Poison Pen Press for British Library Crime Classics
Genre: British Library, General Fiction, Crime Classics, Mysteries/Thrillers
Paperback 256 pages
ISBN: 9781464204913
Publication Date: Sept. 1, 2015

My Source: Netgalley

‘Richard Temperley arrives at Euston station early on a fogbound London morning. He takes refuge in a nearby hotel, along with a disagreeable fellow passenger, who had snored his way through the train journey. But within minutes the other man has snored for the last time – he has been shot dead while sleeping in an armchair. Temperley has a brief encounter with a beautiful young woman, but she flees the scene. When the police arrive, Detective Inspector James discovers a token at the crime scene: a small piece of enamelled metal. Its colour was crimson, and it was in the shape of the letter Z. Temperley sets off in pursuit of the mysterious woman from the hotel, and finds himself embroiled in a cross-country chase – by train and taxi – on the tail of a sinister serial killer. This classic novel by the author of the best-selling Mystery in White is a gripping thriller by a neglected master of the genre.’

A rollercoaster ride of 48 hrs. on the trail of a serial killer. It was love at first sight for Richard Temperley and he was determined to find the girl from the hotel and do whatever he could to help her and keep her safe. Three murders plus in just 48 hrs.! In a race against the police to find Sylvia first and a cat and mouse game with the killer to keep her safe, will Richard solve the mystery and get the girl? Richard takes us on a winding, frantic search from town to town. Will the police figure it out in time and be there when he needs them?

Having read and loved The Mystery in White by Farjeon I was delighted to get a chance to read this one.  Not as good in my opinion, the ‘mystery’ of what was done specifically to the killer by the person he was after wasn’t explained enough for me. But an excellent, tense, read to the last page, good mystery! I highly recommend Farjeon and British Library Crime Classic, which we can now get here in the US through Poison Pen Press! Thanks!

Purchase this book:
Poison Pen Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Peggy Ann

5 thoughts on “The Z Murders by J. Jefferson Farjeon

  1. Didn't like this one at all. Lots of flaws, IMO. So much repetition in the story. Was more like a low grade Edgar Wallace thriller. I was hoping for a puzzling whodunit instead of a pursuit/action adventure/thriller. With so many better Farjeon books out there why they chose to reprint this one beats the heck out of me. I was hoping they'd go for a book with Farjeon's very original series detective Ben the tramp who is the inspiration for Curt's blog name. Very disappointed by that.

    OH! And on page 95 in my copy (an old 4th printing Collins Crime Club from 1933 and not the new British Library reprint) there is this line of dialogue: “Oh for the brain of a Poiret or a Sherlock Holmes!” Poiret?! I made a note of it on a Post-It and stuck it in the book to remind me when I wrote my own review (coming next month, BTW). Collins was Christie's publisher at the time! Although there were only seven Poirot books in 1932, the first year THE Z MURDERS was released, you'd think *SOMEONE* at Christie's own publishing house would've had the sense to correct that embarrassing spelling error.


  2. John, It was a huge disappointment after the Mystery in White! I'm so glad to hear that this is a one off and the rest of his are just as good! I was worried that Mystery in White might be the one exception. They are also reprinting Thirteen Guest. Maybe in the future they will do the tramp series! And the Poirot mistake is corrected in this edition! Looking forward to your review!


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