They Rang Up the Police

by Joanna Cannan
Rue Morgue Vintage Mystery first American edition – 1999

When murder strikes in the quiet English countryside
only Inspector Guy Northeast of Scotland Yard sees the vital clue.

  1553447When Delia Cathcart and Major Willoughby disappear from their quiet English village one Saturday morning in July 1937, it looks like a simple case of a frustrated spinster running off for a bit of fun with a straying husband.
   But as the hours turn into days, Inspector Guy Northeast begins to suspect that she may have been the victim of foul play. On the surface, Delia appeared to be a quite ordinary middle-aged Englishwoman content to spend her evenings with her sisters and mother and her days with her beloved horses. But Delia led a secret life-and Guy turns up more than one person who would like to see Delia dead. Except Delia wasn’t the only person with a secret…
   Never published in the United States, They Rang Up the Police appeared in England in 1939 and is the first of two books to feature young Inspector Guy Northeast, who, as critics Jacques Barzun and Wendell Hertig Taylor point out, “marks a departure from the norm of the thirties.”
   Here’s what critics said about the second Guy Northeast mystery, Death at The Dog, also published by The Rue Morgue Press.
   “Skilled writing and brilliant characterization.” – Times of London.
   “Worthy of being discussed in the same breath with an Agatha Christie or a Josephine Tey…anyone who enjoys Golden Age mysteries will surely enjoy this one.” – Sally Fellows, Mystery News.

Only two Inspector Northeast books and I read them backwards. Didn’t really make any difference, but I think I would like to revisit Death at the Dog now. I really did enjoy both books in this series and wish there were more to read!

So many wonderful suspects and quirky characters! Inspector Northeast, they’re always poking fun at his name:), goes over the clues and even makes a lovely little chart of suspects and rates them…


But what if the murderer isn’t someone on the list? Hmm… I did ultimately guess correctly who did it, but it didn’t by any means detract from the fun of the journey getting there!

You can check out my thoughts on the other two Cannan mysteries I read HERE and HERE.

This book fulfills the What category (Title contains two words beginning with same letter) in the Gold Era for Just the Facts M’am over @ My Reader’s Block.

The Stately Home Murder

by Catherine Aird

7805179The Earl of Ornum has been forced to open his 300-room ancestral estate to the public, who gladly pay to view the imposing halls and galleries with their fine collections of china, art and antique weaponry. On one memorable Sunday afternoon, the sights include a very recent corpse stuffed into a suit of armor, and soon Detective Inspector Sloan of the Calleshire CID is navigating the treacherous waters of the aristocracy, a copy of Burke’s Peerage in one hand and his earnest young assistant, Constable Crosby, in tow. “There’s something very old-fashioned about this – butlers and bodies in the library,” complains the unhappy Superintendent Leeyes to Sloan. There is also a helpful vicar, a lovelorn steward, a black-sheep nephew, and two very old and eccentric aunts – everything, in fact, you could want in a stately home murder, with the possible exception of a secret passageway. First published in England in 1969 as The Complete Steel, it’s one of the finest and funniest books by this mistress of the gentle art of mayhem.

This was my first Inspector Sloan book. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Great characters, excellent plot with lots of good red herrings, a ghost and humor!

Big fancy words were always being thrown around and poor Inspector Sloan was always at a loss for understanding. Bascinet, burgonet, fealty, muniments… I got a real kick out of it…

“What sort of time would this have been, sir?”
He frowned. “I must have been heading for the ha ha by ten past four.”
“I beg your pardon, sir?”
“The ha ha.”
“That’s what I thought you said.” Sloan tried it out for himself. Tentatively. “The ha ha?”
“That’s right, Inspector.”
“And what” – cautiously – “did you do when you got there?”
“Walked round it.”
“I see, sir.” It was like one of those radio parlor games where everyone else knew the object. He suppressed an urge to say, “Can you eat it?”
Instead he murmured, “Did you see anyone while you were there?”
Miles Cremond frowned again. “Purvis. He was talking to Bert Hackle by the orangery.”
Sloan sighed. It was altogether too simple to suppose that you kept oranges there. “Anyone else?”
“No, Inspector.”
“And when did you get back?”
“Late? Late for what?”
“Dinner, Inspector. I’d hardly left myself time to change. M’wife was waiting for me and we went down together a bit late.”
“and you were walKing all the time, sir?”
“Yes, Inspector.”
“Round the ha ha?”
“Very funny.” said Crosby not quite inaudibly enough.

Very satisfying read!

This book fulfills the What category (Published under more than one title) in the Silver Era for Just the Facts M’am over @ My Reader’s Block.

Song for Sunday: Forgiveness

David Meece has an amazing story. When my boys were little he was one of the first popular Christian music stars. A lot of the songs we sang in church were written by him. We saw him in concert at our church 30+ years ago. He is an accomplished pianist. Trained in the classics, he was a musical prodigy. You have to read his biography HERE. He toured the world when he was in his early teens, playing under Andre Previn!

But David had a nightmare childhood with a violent alcoholic father. He wrote this song, My Father’s Chair about his father. After my children were grown I had an opportunity to see him in person again. He told of his childhood struggles, his music, his relationship with his earthly father and his heavenly father. He told us the story of this song and sang it for us. It really touched me as I too had an alcoholic father. I wanted to share this song with you today.

“He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
Revelation 3:21 (NASB)

Imagine God rising from His throne and smiling as He welcomes us into our eternal dwelling place.  Imagine the peace that comes from knowing we will never cry again, never fear again, never hurt again because we are in His presence, at rest in His arms.

For many of us, the image of God as a loving father seems foreign because of the profound rejection we have experienced at the hand of our earthly fathers.  We have been pushed away and told “there are more important things to do” or “there isn’t time for you.”  Although the harsh words may have been spoken years ago, the hurt has remained in our souls.  How we’ve longed to be loved unconditionally!

We are created by God as relational beings, and we yearn for warm fellowship with one another and with Him.  In heaven we will finally enjoy that perfect fellowship as we see and experience the brilliant majesty of our Lord.  His presence will comfort us for eternity.  Our needs will not be an issue, and we will be free to focus on glorifying and serving Him.  There will be no more children longing for a parent’s embrace, no more aching hearts yearning to be loved, and no more hurting souls striving for acceptance.  We will no longer wrestle with our sin nature as we try to live independent of God.

Oh, what an inheritance!  What a blessed promise!  We can rejoice with the apostle Paul who said, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (I Cor. 2:9).  And it is the promise of these future blessings that purifies our lives, energizes our obedience and overpowers our demands for instant gratification.  We accept the fact that many of the difficulties we experience may not be resolved in this life because our Father’s purposes transcend our temporal situations if we are willing to wait.

The reward of the one who is patient and faithful will be to reign with the Father and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (NASB).’”

Is your heart filled with pain and bitterness?  Does the thought of a heavenly father and eternal kingdom seem distant?  If so, I encourage you to give Him a chance.  Get to know Him by reading His word and building relationships with people who love Him.  Through faith, you too can share the promise of the future.

Ponder your image of God.  Do you have a positive image of God or a negative one tainted by the failures of your earthly father?

Written by David and Debbie Meece

If you’d like to listen to a couple of his songs HERE‘s a short playlist.

Listen to David tell you about his father and his journey of forgiveness…