Agatha Christie,Ngaio Marsh,Dorothy Sayers,Margery Allingham,Bobby Owen,British Library Crime Classics

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Information Received

Burglary, fraud, murder and golden age mystery

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Description

In his London townhouse, city magnate Sir Christopher Clarke is found lying murdered. At the other end of the house his safe hangs open and rifled, and earlier in the day he had visited his solicitors in order to make a drastic change in his will. Later it is discovered that there has been fraud connected with the dead man, and this is but one of the many complications with which Superintendent Mitchell is faced. Fortunately he has the assistance of young Constable Owen, a talented young Oxford graduate who, finding all other careers closed to him by the ‘economic blizzard’ of the early thirties, has joined the London Police force.

Information Received is the first of E.R. Punshon’s acclaimed Bobby Owen mysteries, first published in 1933 and the start of a series which eventually spanned thirty-five novels.

Praise

“What is distinction? The few who achieve it step – plot or no plot – unquestioned into the first rank. We recognized it in Sherlock Holmes, and in Trent’s Last Case, in The Mystery of the Villa Rose, in the Father Brown stories and in the works of Mr. E.R. Punshon we salute it every time.”DOROTHY L. SAYERS

“Mr E.R. Punshon is one of the most entertaining and readable of our sensational novelists because his characters really live and are not merely pegs from which a mystery depends.”PUNCH

Bibliographic Data

Category: Crime Fiction
Publication Date: June 2015
Territories: World
ISBN: 978 1 910570 31 9 (ebook)/978 1 911095 31 6 (paperback)

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“You see,” Miss Kayne said, “I committed a murder once myself.”

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“Know him?” he asked.

Bobby was for a moment too surprised to answer. He had thought of every one else but not of the man whose dead face now was staring up at him.

“Yes. I know him,” he said.

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Perhaps the victim had not been unconscious but had known her fate, had sent upwards from the black pit a cry that none but murderers had heard.

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“You think it’s murder, don’t you?”

“There is no proof of that as yet, sir,” Bobby answered cautiously.

“No, I know, but it’s what you think,” Glynne answered. After a pause, he added: “So do I.”

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“I’ll have breakfast ready before you’re dressed,” Olive said, her mind full of bacon and eggs, tea, toast.

“Can’t stop,” Bobby told her. “I’ve to be at Castle Wych at once.”

“What’s happened there?”

“Murder,” Bobby answered as he made for the door.

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Late in the afternoon a man, unidentified, had been seen to throw a glove into the Midwych, Wychshire and Southern Canal…

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“Ode to a chocolate,” murmured Bobby.

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“I wouldn’t come any nearer if I were you. It’s not a thing to see unless you have to.”

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“I’ve got to hurry,” Bobby said. “Mr Weston has been found dead from a knife-wound in his study.”

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Deep in bucolic Wychshire something dreadful is stirring …

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With a slow gesture of one lifted hand, Bobby pointed. There, in a space between the prostrate stag and posturing goddess, was a human leg, a twisted, motionless leg in a strained, unnatural position.

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“Give me gossip or Sherlock Holmes, and I take gossip every time. The detective’s first aid and ever present help in time of doubt.”

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“I don’t like it, Olive. No good, plain evidence, not so much as the smell of a fingerprint. Nothing but psychology and an atmosphere of doubt, menace, and suspicion.”

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“Gets on your nerves, doesn’t it? I mean, that playing of hers. I’ve never heard anything like it.”

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Bobby Owen stood for a time in silence, looking down thoughtfully at the dead man’s face. A small, insignificant face, lacking even that touch of repose and dignity which death, even violent death, so often gives, and one that Bobby had never seen before. Of that at least he was sure.

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“What happens,” Bobby asked, “when a woman with an irresistible attraction for men, and the man with an irresistible attraction for women, meet? When glamour meets glamour . . . ?”

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At that moment the door opened and a deep, harsh, husky voice said:

“Discussing my murder, are you?”

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“There’s a spot of trouble this morning. Old gentleman found dead in his bath.”

Bobby answered: “there may be one chance in a million it’s natural death.”

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“Why should anyone want to pinch the dagger—except to do somebody in?”

No one answered this question.

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“It’s murder all right; no one could bash his own head in the way this chap’s was.”

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“The poor devil’s mouth was filled with feathers. An unconscious man with his mouth full of feathers wouldn’t have had much chance of surviving, and this one didn’t.”

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The stage was set, Bobby thought, the actors in position; but how the drama would develop, that he could not even guess.

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“You called him a ‘wrong ’un’. Why? Birds of a feather know each other? Is that the idea? Or do you really know something about him? Oh, and don’t lie.”

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Bobby studied the Rembrandt intently, with his own strange intensity of gaze that seemed as if by sheer strength of will it could force all secrets to reveal themselves.

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“You’re the murder man, aren’t you?” Mrs. James demanded.

“Well, that’s not exactly how I describe myself,” Bobby answered.

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