Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Margery Allingham, British Library, Crime Classics, Golden age, whodunit, cozies, English

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Mary ‘Molly’ Thynne was born in 1881, a member of the aristocracy, and related, on her mother’s side, to the painter James McNeil Whistler. She grew up in Kensington and at a young age met literary figures like Rudyard Kipling and Henry James.

Her first novel, An Uncertain Glory, was published in 1914, but she did not turn to crime fiction until The Draycott Murder Mystery, the first of six golden age mysteries she wrote and published in as many years, between 1928 and 1933. The last three of these featured Dr. Constantine, chess master and amateur sleuth par excellence.

Molly Thynne never married. She enjoyed travelling abroad, but spent most of her life in the village of Bovey Tracey, Devon, where she was finally laid to rest in 1950.

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There was something about those hands, with their strangely crisped fingers, as though they had been arrested in the very act of closing, that somehow gave the lie to the woman’s attitude of sleep.

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News travels quickly and mysteriously on board ship. By the time lunch was over, the rumour began to spread that Mr. Smith’s death had not been due to natural causes.

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“The blood’s coming from a cut at the back of his neck,” she said slowly. “He couldn’t have done that in falling. Some one must have—”

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“There’ll be blue murder here before Christmas!”

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Constantine reflected on the various means dentists have at their disposal should they wish to silence their patients …

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“He had his enemies, I suppose?”

“Disputes, you mean? Over the merits of Puccini and Wagner, Strauss and Verdi! But people do not entice an old man from his home many years afterwards to avenge Wagner or Puccini!”

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