George Bellairs: a bank manager, a talented crime author, part time journalist and Francophile. His detective stories, written in the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s, combine wicked crimes and classic police procedurals, set in small British communities. Best known for his Detective Littlejohn stories, he is celebrated as one of Britain’s crime classic greats.
I always like to start a new mystery series at the beginning and read the books in order, but this time I decided to start with the book George Bellairs published in my birth year, 1949. The Case of the Famished Parson is somewhere in the middle of the Inspector Littlejohn series. I immediately liked this detective — Inspector Littlejohn is an older but very talented detective. His methods are more traditional than his newer counterparts, but he is very dedicated to his work, even when he is on bedrest recuperating from a gunshot would to the leg!
…from the publisher:
Dr. James Macintosh, the Bishop of Greyle, is a mysterious man; for a long time, nobody even seems to know his last name. But things suddenly take a turn for the worse when his body is found completely emaciated and battered having being pushed face-first off the edge of a cliff…
Inspector Littlejohn faces an incredibly peculiar case and must figure out how to explain the savage murder of a gentle Bishop? Perhaps he know too much about the secretive citizens of Cape Marvin, the seaside resort and the place of his murder. Or did it have something to do with the strange family he had left behind in Medhope?
Above all, why was the Bishop’s body so undernourished that death by violence won out by only a few days over death by starvation?
I liked George Bellairs’ writing style and can easily see why he is considered “as one of Britain’s crime classic greats.” I enjoyed meeting this new-to-me detective and was involved with the search for answers all the way through the book. It’s a series I would like to continue, but will go back and start with the first book.