The Port of London Murders (1938) by Josephine Bell

The Port of London Murders by Josephine Bell

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“There were a lot of dangers on this river; that was the fascination of it.”

A drug addict commits suicide by drinking Lysol in her bleak tenement room. A barge full of cargo goes missing in a storm. An old lady holes up in an empty building scheduled for demolition, determined to stay in her home until the last possible moment. These are all typical scenes from London’s Docklands. Sergeant Chandler comes to suspect that these incidents are all related, but he may be out of his depth. Continue reading “The Port of London Murders (1938) by Josephine Bell”

The Catalyst by Josephine Bell (1966)

The Catalyst by Josephine Bell

6 stars (6/10 stars)

You know, if they weren’t so scatty, such an absolute hoot, I’d begin to think they were a bit sinister.”

I’ll tell you what I think. I think they’re first-class liars, one and all. And they hate each other.”

For thirty years, Hugh Wilmot has dreamed of Greece. He’s finally taking the trip, though the circumstances aren’t exactly what he imagined. His wife Florence and her sister Beatrice are ruining the holiday with their bickering, just as their incessant fights have destroyed his home life for so many years. In fact, their rivalry seems to flourish in the sun, with their travels providing a fresh audience for old grudges. Fellow holidaymakers can’t help feeling disturbed, as each member of the trio tells a different version of their relationship. Only one thing is clear: a Greek tragedy is playing out before their eyes. Continue reading “The Catalyst by Josephine Bell (1966)”

Adventure with Crime (1962) by Josephine Bell

Adventure with Crime by Josephine Bell

4 Stars (4/10 stars)

“I seem to have got into a way of expecting dreadful things to happen.”

Young widow Frances Aldridge finds it hard to move past her grief in England, where everything reminds her of her late husband. So when her American friends invite her for an extended visit, she thinks a change of scenery will do her good. Instead, it may end her life.

Eager to see as much as she can of this new country, Frances embarks on a long solo bus trip. She meets a number of friendly strangers…and at least one killer. The United States is a big country, but is it big enough for Frances to stay one step ahead of danger? Continue reading “Adventure with Crime (1962) by Josephine Bell”

The House Above the River (1959) by Josephine Bell

The House Above the River by Josephine Bell

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“Something was going on there that he did not understand, and had no wish to take part in. Something dangerous, some evil, beginning to show itself, suddenly, startlingly […] And there was a certainty, at least, of something planned, an organized wickedness. It had come to the surface in a seething moment of horror, and sunk back, leaving only a question, an uneasy dread. Giles was sure the lid would come off again, but when and where and how and against whom directed, he had no idea at all.”

This wasn’t Giles Armitage’s plan for his French sailing holiday, to be trapped by fog in a small village in Brittany. He’s itching to move on to the next destination, though his companions, Tony and Phillipa, are happy to explore the village. They even make friends with the English inhabitants of the local chateau.

Giles is shocked to meet the owner’s wife—his ex-fiancée Miriam, who broke his heart long ago. And Miriam is afraid. There is something terribly wrong at the chateau. Whatever is taking place between Miriam and her husband Henry Davenport, Giles wants nothing to do with it. As the fog closes in, however, he may no longer have a choice. Continue reading “The House Above the River (1959) by Josephine Bell”

The Upfold Witch (1964) by Josephine Bell

Josephine Bell - Upfold Witch

5 Stars (5/10 stars)

“Village life is rather extraordinary, isn’t it? Until you’re used to it, I suppose. Then you know what to believe and what to—discard.”

Real-estate bargains can be hard to come by, so when Henry and Jeanie Frost find the perfect retirement cottage, they buy first and ask questions later. As it turns out, there are a lot of questions.

Mulberry Cottage has been vacant for ten years, ever since Celia Wainwright vanished and her much-older husband abandoned the house. Even after all this time, the villagers of Upfold are haunted by her fate. Some think she was a victim of persecution, hounded from her home or driven to suicide. Some think she was a seductress who ran off with another man. And some think she was a witch.

Continue reading “The Upfold Witch (1964) by Josephine Bell”