The Cornish Coast Murder, Paperback Book

The Cornish Coast Murder Paperback

Part of the British Library Crime Classics series

3.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


'Never, even in his most optimistic moments, had he visualised a scene of this nature - himself in one arm-chair, a police officer in another, and between them - a mystery.' The Reverend Dodd, vicar of the quiet Cornish village of Boscawen, spends his evenings reading detective stories by the fireside - but heaven forbid that the shadow of any real crime should ever fall across his seaside parish.

But the vicar's peace is shattered one stormy night when Julius Tregarthan, a secretive and ill-tempered magistrate, is found at his house in Boscawen with a bullet through his head. The local police inspector is baffled by the complete absence of clues.

Suspicion seems to fall on Tregarthan's niece, Ruth - but surely that young woman lacks the motive to shoot her uncle dead in cold blood?

Luckily for Inspector Bigswell, the Reverend Dodd is on hand, and ready to put his keen understanding of the criminal mind to the test.

This classic mystery novel of the golden age of British crime fiction is set against the vividly described backdrop of a fishing village on Cornwall's Atlantic coast .

It is now republished for the first time since the 1930s.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288 pages
  • Publisher: The British Library Publishing Division
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic crime
  • ISBN: 9780712357159



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

_The Cornish Coast Murder_ is another in the British Library's series of recent reprintings of detective novels from the Golden Age of the 1920s and 1930s that--while popular in their day--subsequently fell out of print. John Bude was the pen name of Ernest Carpenter Elmore, who wrote several mysteries set in different locales around England.This first one takes place in the coastal Cornish town of Boscawen, and the setting is the star. Bude sets the pitch-perfect atmosphere right from the opening scene, which finds the local vicar, Reverend Dodd, watching out the window of his study for the arrival of the local doctor, his dinner guest. As he waits, it is "raining fitfully, and gusts of wind from off the Atlantic rattle the window-frames and sigh dismally among the sprinkling of gaunt pines which surrounded the Vicarage." In the comfort of his study, though, "a big log fire crackle[s] in the open hearth," illuminating the bookshelves that line the room. A wooden crate between the two armchairs is later revealed to hold a slew of detective novels borrowed from the local library, which the Vicar and the Doctor--huge fans of the genre--will split up to read, exchange, and discuss over the next week. This domestic idyll is disrupted later in the evening, though, when young Ruth Tregarthan, the niece of the master of local Greylings Hall, calls to say that her uncle has been shot. Suddenly, the Vicar finds himself in the midst of a real-life murder mystery, and he proves in many ways to be a more able detective than the local officials--but at the cost of his love of detective fiction.Bude's plotting and characterization show their age in places. There are lots of unchecked references to the unpredictable moodiness and impulsiveness of women, and the police inspector comes up with a scenario about how the murder was committed that is so absurd I kept waiting for him to be mocked by his fellow cops. Instead, they agree that his theory--which requires the murderer to walk barefooted along walls and set up a series of sawhorses with planks between then--is the only plausible explanation. The real solution is, in all honesty, not a whole lot less ridiculous. But that kind of intricate, complicated puzzle-making was the whole point of the genre for some Golden-Age writers, so in that sense, Bude's approach isn't unusual or jarring.If you're a fan of Golden Age British mysteries, I highly recommend this...but if your tastes lean more toward the contemporary, psychological police procedural, you probably should skip it.

Review by

Despite the fact that it was published in 1935, this is a delightful find for those who love cozies, with a brilliant foreword by Martin Edwards. Bude (a pseudonym used by Ernest Ellsmore) published over 30 detective novels, all stand alones, in just over 20 years.A question that the Reverend Dodd asks himself early on is whether the methods he uses to solve the puzzles in the detective fiction would work as well if he were confronted by the real thing. And then he has the opportunity to assist Inspector Bigswell in the solving of a real life murder, and he knows he will never feel the same about crime fiction.As I said, a delightful read.

Review by

Julius Tregarthan is found dead in his own home. Initially investigators believe that the shots may have been fired from a path outside the window; however, the vicar has a differing view. Suspects include his niece Ruth who discovered the body as well as many other village persons. There are a couple of misleading clues which may throw some readers "off the scent" of the real murderer, but a confession is finally obtained by the Inspector. I enjoyed the setting of this novel and some of the elements, but I did not find it particularly stimulating.

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