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The Sussex Downs Murder: A British Library Crime Classic    by John Bude Amazon.com order for
Sussex Downs Murder
by John Bude
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Brothers John and William Rother live together and manage Chalklands Farm on Sussex Downs, England. But what had seemed to be a peaceful and serene life running the farm with the help of William's wife Janet, soon turns topsy-turvy.

John leaves for a routine weekend, looking forward to a break from farm work. And is not seen again! His car, however, is found abandoned. Rumors have spread around the peaceful Sussex Downs that John seemed to have an eye for Janet, his own brother's wife. The rumors elaborate that Janet is equally smitten with John!

In the 1930s, lime was produced by burning the local soil in a lime pit. It was then delivered in bags to those who had need of it builders and gardeners. The pit is owned by the brothers and is a steady source of income. One day, human bones are found in a lime delivery. John's? A human skeleton is soon formed with the bones retrieved from the pit. Or, I should say, most of a skeleton. A few bones are missing along with the skull. Without modern DNA technology, the police are unable to identify who had been found in the lime pit.

Janet had been noticed in some clandestine activity and rumors abound. Superintendent Meredith of the local police arrives on the scene to conduct an investigation. Clues send him to the many small villages surrounding Chalklands Farm. As a result, we ride along with the Superintendent to visit these villages and get a good feel for the English countryside, as well as the inhabitants of this beautiful part of the country. Of course, the mystery of the disappearance is solved. Pretty much in the way I assumed. Nevertheless, it was a delightful read.

The Sussex Downs Murder was written by John Bude in the 1930s at a time that was called the Golden Age of Crime Writing. Poisoned Penn Press are now reissuing books by these Golden Age writers. If you enjoy The Sussex Downs Murder, I'm sure you will appreciate those that will follow.

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