Whodunit, British Library, Crime Classic, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy L. Sayers

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Sir Basil Thomson (1861-1939) was educated at Eton and New College Oxford. After spending a year farming in Iowa, he married in 1889 and worked for the Foreign Service. This included a stint working alongside the Prime Minister of Tonga (according to some accounts, he was the Prime Minister of Tonga) in the 1890s followed by a return to the Civil Service and a period as Governor of Dartmoor Prison. He was Assistant Commissioner to the Metropolitan Police from 1913 to 1919, after which he moved into Intelligence. He was knighted in 1919 and received other honours from Europe and Japan, but his public career came to an end when he was arrested for committing an act of indecency in Hyde Park in 1925 – an incident much debated and disputed.

His eight crime novels featuring series character Inspector Richardson were written in the 1930’s and received great praise from Dorothy L. Sayers among others. He also wrote biographical and criminological works.

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The D.D.I. recognized him and smiled. “That was a great case you brought us. You’ll be interested to hear that it is a case of mur-r-der!”

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In the hall he found the body of his maidservant, Helen Dunn, aged about fifty, lying on the floor near the telephone. She had bled profusely from a wound in the head and her body was cold.

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“The late Miss Clynes, sir? How dreadful. It must have been very sudden.”

“It was.”

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He flung open a drawer and took from it a heavy dagger in a sheath with blood-stains upon it. On the blade were engraved the words, “Blut und Ehre!”

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“I’m writing to you about the death of Mr. Dearborn. You bet the murderer’s laughing up his sleeve now that he’s got away with it.”

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“There’s one thing which I daresay you noticed—that pair of slippers half kicked under the bath were of men’s size.”

“Yes, I noticed that, too, and they were sprinkled with blood.”

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“What are you looking for, sir?” he said.

“Bloodstains.”

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None of the other guests could explain what she was doing in Crooked Lane during the night…

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