Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Sussex Downs Murder - Review

The Sussex Downs Murder John Bude with forward by Martin Edwards

Rating: 3.5 Stars
Source: NetGalley

Description:  Two brothers, John and William Rother, live together at Chalklands Farm in the beautiful Sussex Downs.  Their peaceful rural life is shattered when John Rother disappears and his abandoned car is found.  Has he been kidnapped?  Or is his disappearance more sinister - connected, perhaps, to his growing rather too friendly with his brother's wife? (from

Genre: Mystery

Why I Picked This Book: Once I saw that this was part of the British Library Crime Classics I couldn't resist.  Especially since this is an author that I was previously unfamiliar with.

My Impression:  John Bude is completely new to me so I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I started this.  While I do enjoy most classic mysteries if not handled correctly they can come off as dry and dated.  After reading the interesting forward by Martin Edwards which provided a short and entertaining biography of Bude I was predisposed to like the book and the contents did not let me down.  There's a certain lightness and matter of factness that make even what's a pretty grizzly murder not feel that way.  While the mystery might not have been as intricately plotted as what I have come to expect from Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers and while I was able to guess the killer early on it was still fun to watch it unravel.  The characters were all likable (well those that are supposed to be) and I particularly enjoyed Bude's detective Superintendent Meredith who possessed an intelligent mind and a sense of humor.
The writing is a bit dated but for the most part I found it entertaining - especially in the careless way the dealt with evidence.  I did like that this mystery dealt with the details of the investigation versus the characters and the behind the scenes.  For the most part the reader views the crime and the developments through Meredith's eyes which was a little unusual.  This isn't an intense page turning read but instead more of a gentle stroll in another time with a murderer or two lurking about!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely!  I'm thrilled to discover a new-to me author with a good sized backlist.

Would I Recommend this Book?:  If you enjoy classic British mysteries this is definitely worth the read.

Challenges Met?


  1. You got me with "a gentle stroll in another time with a murderer or two lurking about"... Can't resist that! ;-)

  2. Despite being a little dated, I like the sound of the flow and it looks like you enjoyed solving the mystery.

  3. I do enjoy classic British mysteries now and then. I don't read them that often (too many newer books tend to land on my reading pile). This sounds interesting, even if dated. Sometimes that adds charm to a book.

  4. Yay for you finding more mystery writers to add to your reading list. Have you read them all yet? Lol!
    Happy reading!
    Brittany @ This is the Story of My(Reading) Life

  5. This looks nice. And I love the cover art!

  6. I notice that they are reprinting many of these classics. My library has The Cornish Coast Murder. It was reissued in 2014.

  7. I'd never heard of this author before, but it sounds good - and I love that cover :)

  8. I've been a little leery of some of the other (mostly male) classic British mystery writers, after trying a few who were, as you describe, dry and dated. I'm glad to hear this one holds up - sounds like I have another writer to try!

    1. I should qualify that - other than Wentworth, I think I've read most of the significant women writers from that period. I wasn't trying to infer that the men's books were more likely to be dry and dated - just that I haven't read as many of them as I have of the women authors' books! I put that parenthetical adjective in quite the wrong place.

  9. I haven't heard of this author before but it sounds fun. I'm glad that it wasn't dry or dated.