August 18th, 2015

Teddy: Tatty (Pillow)

A recommendation

Okay, I rarely do this because we all have different tastes when it comes to books and even though I have good friends with whom I share the liking of quite a few books, we also differ quite considerably on other books. Also, I hate the idea of being 'responsible' for someone wasting their money buying something I recommend if they don't like it - which I know is illogical, it's not as if I'm forcing them to buy the book. However, that's me *wry grin*

However, I (well J & I) have recently come across a 'new' series that I rate so highly I am going to recommend it as I can think of a couple of people at least on my flist who should enjoy the series as I know they like Golden Age mysteries, and this is what this series is.

It's the Bobby Owen Mysteries by E.R. Punshon.

I had never come across this series or indeed this author and given my love of Golden Age mysteries I was jolly surprised until I learnt that for some reason, despite the books and the writing being praised highly by Dorothy L. Sayers, the series wasn't republished as other Golden Age ones were - until now.

I came across this purely by chance. I had just bought a book and the 'other people who have bought this book also bought xxxx' 'page' on Amazon. Now to be honest I rarely look at this because as I say above we all have different tastes. However, one book caught my eye: Crossword Mystery. So I had a look at it only to discover it was the third book in the series; well you can't start with the third book, can you? I certainly can't. Thus, given the first book was only £1.00 on Kindle I downloaded it for J and me to read and we both thoroughly enjoyed it.

Bobby begins life as a police constable on the beat with the Met where the most exciting thing he has done in three years has been helping old ladies across the road and fulfilling the constant demands of kiddies to be told the time. However, he comes under the spotlight, during a murder investigation, of a superintendent who takes a liking to Bobby and sees his potential and in effect takes him under his wing. By book two, Bobby is a detective constable, and by the end of the series he is a commander of Scotland Yard.

Bobby is an interesting character and we learn more about him as the series progresses (I'm currently on book five). He clearly comes from a background whereby there was some money as he went to public school and then to Oxford. However, he only achieved a pass degree at Oxford which meant he couldn't get a decent job in the City, thus he decided to become a policeman. However, despite there being money for his education, clearly he does need to work. His background means he can go to country houses as a 'guest' and know how to behave, how to talk to people, what fork and knife to use, etc. etc. However, he is just at home talking to people from all other walks of life - not just those of his own class.

One really interesting thing and a thing that makes Bobby more 'real' is that Punshon indeed does call him Bobby and not Owen, which was simply not how things were done in those days. He isn't addressed as Bobby, his colleagues of course call him Owen. But whenever he is referred to it is as Bobby.

There are thirty-five books in the series and so far on Kindle (they are available as paperbacks too but seem, to my mind, fairly expensive) ten have been published beginning in June this year.

I confess the second book of the series is slightly 'odd', it's not quite your 'standard' detective story, as is mentioned in the introduction and whilst it started and ended really well there was a short part in the middle(ish) in which I really got bogged down and was bored with. However that was a one-off (thankfully) had it not been I wouldn't be recommending the series. In fact that book was never (according to the introduction) published in the US.

Both J and I are really enjoying the series.