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Gladys Mitchell (1901–1983)

Författare till The Saltmarsh Murders

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Om författaren

Author Gladys Mitchell was born in Cowley, Oxfordshire, England on April 19, 1901. She was educated at Goldsmiths' College and University College, London. After graduating, she became a teacher and taught English, history, and games at numerous schools until her retirement in 1961. She is best visa mer known for her detective novels featuring Mrs. Bradley. She also wrote under the pseudonyms Stephen Hockaby and Malcolm Torrie. In 1976, she received the Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger award. She died on July 27, 1983. (Bowker Author Biography) visa färre


Verk av Gladys Mitchell

The Saltmarsh Murders (1932) 255 exemplar
Speedy Death (1929) 220 exemplar
When Last I Died (1941) 219 exemplar
The Rising of the Moon (1945) 215 exemplar
Watson's Choice (1955) 207 exemplar
The Mystery of a Butcher's Shop (1929) 182 exemplar
Death at the Opera (1934) 178 exemplar
Tom Brown's Body (1949) 167 exemplar
Come Away, Death (1937) 126 exemplar
The Twenty-Third Man (1957) 106 exemplar
Death and the Maiden (1947) 102 exemplar
Spotted Hemlock (1958) 93 exemplar
Laurels Are Poison (1942) 92 exemplar
Dead Men's Morris (1936) 91 exemplar
St. Peter's Finger (1938) 85 exemplar
The Longer Bodies (1930) 79 exemplar
Faintley Speaking (1954) 72 exemplar
Winking at the Brim (1974) 69 exemplar
The Death-Cap Dancers (1981) 69 exemplar
The Devil at Saxon Wall (1935) 64 exemplar
Uncoffin'd Clay (1980) 56 exemplar
Here Lies Gloria Mundy (1982) 53 exemplar
Sunset Over Soho (1943) 51 exemplar
The Dancing Druids (1948) 48 exemplar
Here Comes a Chopper (1946) 48 exemplar
The Devil's Elbow (1951) 47 exemplar
The Whispering Knights (1980) 46 exemplar
Convent on Styx (1975) 45 exemplar
Late, Late in the Evening (1976) 43 exemplar
The Crozier Pharaohs (1984) 43 exemplar
Nest of Vipers (1979) 41 exemplar
Dance To Your Daddy (1969) 39 exemplar
A Hearse on May-Day (1972) 39 exemplar
Cold, Lone, and Still (1983) 36 exemplar
Lament for Leto (1971) 36 exemplar
Brazen Tongue (1940) 36 exemplar
Fault in the Structure (1977) 34 exemplar
Mingled with Venom (1978) 34 exemplar
Pageant of Murder (1965) 33 exemplar
Noonday and Night (1977) 32 exemplar
Merlin's Furlong (1953) 32 exemplar
Adders on the Heath (1963) 31 exemplar
My Bones Will Keep (1962) 30 exemplar
Wraiths and Changelings (1978) 30 exemplar
The Nodding Canaries (1961) 29 exemplar
The Murder of Busy Lizzie (1973) 29 exemplar
The Worsted Viper (1943) 29 exemplar
A Javelin for Jonah (1974) 29 exemplar
Hangman's Curfew (1941) 28 exemplar
The Echoing Strangers (1952) 28 exemplar
Lovers, Make Moan (1981) 26 exemplar
The Man Who Grew Tomatoes (1959) 26 exemplar
No Winding Sheet (1984) 26 exemplar
Printer's Error (1939) 26 exemplar
Death of a Burrowing Mole (1982) 25 exemplar
Death of a Delft Blue (1964) 25 exemplar
Three Quick and Five Dead (1968) 24 exemplar
The Greenstone Griffins (1983) 24 exemplar
Skeleton Island (1662) 23 exemplar
Croaking Raven (1966) 23 exemplar
My Father Sleeps (1944) 23 exemplar
The Mudflats of the Dead (1979) 22 exemplar
Gory Dew (1970) 20 exemplar
Say It With Flowers (1960) 18 exemplar
Heavy as Lead (1966) 15 exemplar
On Your Marks (1954) 14 exemplar
Caravan Creek (1960) 12 exemplar
Bismarck Herrings (1971) 10 exemplar
Shades of Darkness (1970) 9 exemplar
Your Secret Friend (1968) 8 exemplar
Late and Cold (1967) 6 exemplar
The Seven Stones Mystery (1949) 4 exemplar
Churchyard Salad (1969) 3 exemplar
The Light-Blue Hills (1959) 3 exemplar
Holiday River (1948) 3 exemplar
The Malory Secret 3 exemplar
Death in Amsterdam (1964) 3 exemplar
Grand Master (1939) 2 exemplar
Cuando sale la luna (2012) 1 exemplar
Seven Stars and Orion (1934) 1 exemplar
Marsh Hay 1 exemplar
Shallow Brown 1 exemplar
Gabriel's Hold 1 exemplar

Associerade verk

The Oxford Book of English Detective Stories (1990) — Bidragsgivare — 392 exemplar
Ask a Policeman (1933) — Bidragsgivare — 187 exemplar
Murder by the Book: Mysteries for Bibliophiles (2021) — Bidragsgivare — 151 exemplar
Serpents in Eden: Countryside Crimes (2016) — Bidragsgivare — 94 exemplar
Lady on the Case: 22 Female Detective Stories (1988) — Bidragsgivare — 76 exemplar
The Big Book of Female Detectives (2018) — Bidragsgivare — 76 exemplar
Settling Scores: Sporting Mysteries (2020) — Bidragsgivare — 52 exemplar
Crime on the Coast [and] No Flowers by Request (1953) — Bidragsgivare — 47 exemplar
Bodies from the Library 4 (2021) — Bidragsgivare — 27 exemplar
Deadlier: 100 of the Best Crime Stories Written by Women (2017) — Bidragsgivare — 19 exemplar
Murder by the Seaside: Classic Crime Stories for Summer (2022) — Bidragsgivare — 17 exemplar
The Gourmet Crook Book (1976) — Bidragsgivare — 13 exemplar
Evening Standard Detective Book: Second Series (1951) — Bidragsgivare — 8 exemplar
Evening Standard Detective Book (1950) — Bidragsgivare — 5 exemplar
Best Detective Stories (Volume 2) (1964) — Bidragsgivare — 2 exemplar
The Big Book for Girls — Bidragsgivare — 1 exemplar


Allmänna fakta

Namn enligt folkbokföringen
Mitchell, Gladys Maude Winifred
Andra namn
Hockaby, Stephen
Torrie, Malcolm
Cowley, Oxfordshire, England, UK
Corfe Mullen, Dorset, England, UK
Cowley, Oxfordshire, England, UK
Ealing, West London, England, UK
Brentford, Greater London, England, UK
Corfe Mullen, Dorset, England, UK
Goldsmiths College, University of London
Rothschild School, Brentford, England, UK
Green School, Isleworth, England, UK
teacher (of history ∙ English ∙ swimming and games)
mystery writer
Detection Club
P. E. N
British Olympic Association
Kort biografi
Gladys Mitchell taught at a number of private (called public in England) schools until she retired in 1950. She returned to teaching in 1953 before retiring for good in 1961 at the age of 60, and no doubt this explains why she so often used schools in her books. She taught English, history and games. Her lifelong interest in athletics earned her membership in the British Olympic Association. Her first attempts at fiction in 1923 were rejected. In 1929, her first published novel, Speedy Death, introduced the character of Mrs. Beatrice Lestrange Bradley, a psychoanalyst/author turned amateur sleuth who then appeared in a further 65 novels. Mitchell was an early member of the Detection Club along with G. K. Chesterton, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy L. Sayers and in the 1930s was considered one of the "Big Three" British female detective writers. She also wrote a number of books under the pen names Malcolm Torrie and Stephen Hockaby. Born in the village of Cowley, Oxfordshire, April 19, 1901, she never married (any knowledge of romance and sex in her books was purely academic, she explained).



Rather convoluted mystery starting with a Holmes' theme costume party. I'll try a few more, but I can't say I am fond of Mrs. Bradley. I can see why she is not as popular as Wimsey, Poirot or Miss Marple.
ritaer | 5 andra recensioner | Dec 6, 2023 |
Sir Bohun Chantrey, a huge admirer of Sherlock Holmes, is throwing a huge weekend party in honour of the Great Anniversary. All guests are to dress as characters from Holmes’ cases. Sir Bohun has assigned a number of the characters to certain guests.

Bohun already has six members of his household attending, so he can only invite nine others. His selection is a couple who are divorcing, a matador, a cousin and the niece, a psychic investigator and her secretary, and actor to play Holmes and a Detective Inspector.

Not all invitees were fans of Holmes; some were more interested in his wealth. His announcement of his engagement to Miss Campbell really spiked their interest!

At first it looks to be a great evening with a formal dinner, dancing to a live band and a mystery solving game. But then… the fog got a bit too thick, and band got lost and was late, the guests decided to swap characters, and when the game was started the guests went their own ways instead of following Bohun’s instructions.

The guests were given pencil and paper and set out to explore the house to find elements from Holme’s adventures. The item and the story it was in were to be noted. An item appeared that was not from the ten chosen stories and no one knew why or who it was from.

The event that really got things going was when one of the attendees was found murdered the following morning. The hunt was on. Mrs. Bradley’s and Laura’s sleuthing uncovered some interesting skeletons in the peoples’ closets. There are red herrings galore to add to the puzzle. It is not the typical country house murder.

This is a new author to me and I plan to read more of her work. A very enjoyable read!
… (mer)
ChazziFrazz | 5 andra recensioner | Nov 8, 2023 |
What a stunningly mean spirited book- full of misogyny, ableism and a sense that the rich are always right. Attached to a pretty poor mystery with fully unlikable characters and a very messed up system of ethics with a shockingly grotesque ending. The main detective character is like dark side Miss Marple. It almost plays as a satire of the meaningless, cruel and empty lives of the idle rich. It sort of features a trans man and manages to do basically nothing with it. None of the rich people give a shit about the murder except that it's annoying. Just... ugh.

The rest is spoilers for the entire plot and reveals all the details casually but I'm writing a lot cause I'm mad about it.

This is spoiled in pretty much every blurb but just to be safe: Mountjoy turns out to be a trans man when they find him dead in the bath. There is pretty much nothing done with this - nobody shows any interest in his life at all and early suggestions his life will be investigated just don't happen. It's emphasised over and over that none of the family seem to care at all about his death and the only one who does is the outsider Carstairs. Turns out that's not a clue, they're all just arseholes. The murder is investigated and there's some attempt at suspense but then the attention abruptly shifts to an attempted murder and when they reveal they have proof who did Mountjoy's murder at the end it's kind of an anti-climax. There's no definitive evidence except what appears to be self admission in a diary which is revealed at the end so you can't work it out - although it's hardly surprising because there's only 2 people with even a vague motive and the 1 who did it is constantly portrayed as suspicious so. The only characterisation we get outside of him being an explorer is that he's timid and a bad house guest because he doesn't "golf or motor or walk or ride or swim or tennis or anything" (maybe they could have talked about his exploration stuff? no?) Apparently the only person he gets on with is Eleanor who is... the murderer. And the presumed motive is that she was mad when she found out he had a vagina. Amazing. There's a funny bit where Mrs Bradley suggests that Mountjoy wanted to marry Eleanor either for the money or because of his "sexual perversions". Horrifying!

Eleanor goes on to attempt 2 more murders that are avoided because Mrs Bradley moves the women she knows will be victims to her own room. There's never really any suspects presented for anyone other than Eleanor so the suspense is weak.

At the end Eleanor is murdered and there's a big trial where Mrs Bradley is arrested and you sort of think well she has to be innocent cause she's our hero right? Haha nah she did it, is very proud of it, all the people at the house knew she did it and support her, her lawyer son who defended her knows she did it too... it feels like such a bizarre ending and really uncomfortable. Especially when you realise they'd caught Eleanor red handed attempting murder, had witnesses to her attempting another and have the proof from the diary entry (which magically appears near the end) that she did the first murder so they could easily have got her found guilty of the first murder anyway. There was no need to murder her. At the very least I'm pretty sure they had enough evidence to get her confined to an asylum. But nope. The reasoning for why she did it is that she'd try murdering more people if she felt they were getting in between her and her love obsession but again they could just... get her arrested. It feels gross because of the positive glee everyone takes in it, including Mrs Bradley.

Mrs Bradley is constantly described as ugly, over and over, and even unpleasant to be around (she certainly doesn't seem to care much for other people's feelings or show any sorrow over deaths) but then in the end everyone is cheering for her because she... murdered Eleanor. It's bizarre - that she's presented as bad at least partly because of her looks but her redemption is murdering someone.

All the characters except Dorothy, Carstairs and Inspector Boring are pretty horrible honestly. Bertie is a lecherous man who goes too far with Dorothy after she says no and refusing to accept she's engaged to another man. His lechery is also what provokes Eleanor's attempted murder on Dorothy. He also attempts to murder Eleanor (and gets pretty damn close, apparently - she only revives from being drowned after 30 minutes of not breathing, which is absurd) which isn't something anyone cares about at all. It's just treated as totally fine.

Dorothy's fiancee G something Bing is a horrible man too. He shows no care for Dorothy's feelings and multiple times belittles her and treats her like dirt. He hates his sister even before she's hurt anyone for no obvious reason outside that she's tedious. He doesn't give a shit about Mountjoy dying.

Alistair Bing, the patriarch, also sucks. He's treated Eleanor like an all purpose servant/household manager/academic "assistant" and prevented her getting a real life (which is presented as why she ends up "snapping", not that she's shown any sympathy). He has an awful temper and hates Mountjoy for correcting his amateur archaeology nonsense and again shows basically no concern when he dies. He has an affair with a housemaid and in the end he flies off to Tibet before the trial of the murderer of his daughter, both a red herring and an example of his complete uncaring towards her and seemingly everyone who's not him.

Carstairs is probably the 2nd most sympathetic character, although him avoiding any suspicious because he knows the Chief Constable is another sign of the weird and messed up class politics and ethics in this book. Him applauding Eleanor's murder kind of ruins it too.
… (mer)
tombomp | 12 andra recensioner | Oct 31, 2023 |
Still Cackling
Review of the Thomas & Mercer Kindle edition (December 31, 2013) of the original Gollancz (UK) hardcover (1932).

One of the most frightful-looking old ladies—(according to William, of course)—that he’d ever seen. She was smallish, thin and shrivelled, and she had a yellow face with sharp black eyes, like a witch, and yellow, claw-like hands. She cackled harshly when William was introduced and chucked him under the chin, and then squealed like a macaw that’s having its tail pulled.

After getting over the shock of meeting Mrs. Bradley in Speedy Death (Mrs. Bradley #1 - 1929) I was hesitant to try another book with Gladys Mitchell's singularly odd psychoanalyst detective. I was curious however to know whether Mitchell would have pulled back on her physical descriptions which had constantly emphasized the shrivelled features and claw-like hands. Jumping ahead to read book #4, The Saltmarsh Murders, proved that this was not the case, as can be read in the above extract. The shrieking laughter continues as well.

Mrs. Bradley is on the scene in the coastal village of Saltmarsh when a series of murders occurs. The book is narrated by the village curate Noel Wells who becomes Mrs. Bradley's Watson as the case progresses. Almost all of the odd features of the first book continue in this one. The case becomes enormously complex as aside from the murders it also involves various assaults and imprisonments, a disappearance, a smuggling operation, and mystery persons scrambling across roofs in the night. Mrs. Bradley explains it all in the end of course.

See cover at
The spine and the front cover of the original 1932 Gollancz (UK) hardcover edition. Image sourced from Wikipedia.

I discovered the Mrs. Bradley Mysteries by Gladys Mitchell from reading Christopher Fowler's excellent The Book of Forgotten Authors (2017) which I recently reviewed and rated as Five Stars. Although Mitchell was a contemporary of such Golden Age of Crime Fiction authors such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, I had never heard of her previously and she is the first of the "Forgotten" that I chose to investigate. All 66 Mrs. Bradley novels have been republished in eBook & paperback by Amazon's Thomas & Mercer imprint in the recent years 2013 to 2018.

Trivia and Links
The Saltmarsh Murders was not adapted for television as part of the short-lived The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries (1998-2000) starring Diana Rigg as Mrs. Bradley (the casting of Rigg ignores Mitchell's description of the character). There is a delightful homemade tribute edit which uses clips from the series at Get the Party Started: The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries.
… (mer)
alanteder | 9 andra recensioner | Oct 25, 2023 |



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