Friday, July 15, 2011

They Rang Up the Police

They Rang Up the Police is the first detective novel Joanna Cannan ever wrote, but it may be the best detective novel I've read. It definitely ranks in my top ten favorites.

This mystery was published in 1939, and introduced Inspector Guy Northeast. Mrs. Cannan went on to write only one more novel with him in it before abandoning him because, according to her daughter Josephine Pullein-Thompson, he was "too nice." Inspector Northeast is a sympathetic and likeable police officer in this story - one who never is credited by his suspects or his superiors for the information he digs up, or even for solving the case. Perhaps that's what makes it such an interesting mystery.

Guy Northeast is called in, sort of as an afterthought, to find information regarding the whereabouts of a missing middle-aged spinster who lives with her two middle-aged sisters and her elderly widowed mother. At first glance the family appears quite devoted and without secrets, but of course, that is not the case.

To tell any more might risk spoiling the story. It's worth looking hard for a copy of this book, either to buy or to borrow. Then pass it on for someone else to enjoy.



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