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The Notting Hill Mystery: A British Library Crime Classic    by Charles Warren Adams order for
Notting Hill Mystery
by Charles Warren Adams
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2015 (1865)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Poisoned Pen Press, in conjunction with British Library Crime Classics, is reprinting mysteries written during the golden age of crime writing. The Notting Hill Mystery by Charles Warren Adams is one of these gems. Published in 1865, it is considered by some to be the first ever detective novel! The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins wasn't published until 1868.

Even today, this one-hundred fifty year-old novel holds up well. A sinister man, Baron R-, is accused of murdering his wife. Insurance investigator Ralph Henderson is slowly building a case against this Baron which includes 'a kidnapping by gypsies, slow poisoners, a diabolic mesmerist, a rich uncle's will and, oh yes, three murders.'

The tale is told through 'diary entries, letters, chemical analysis reports, interviews with witnesses and a crime scene map.' These techniques did not appear in later publications until the 1920s. They worked well then and still do so today.

Included in these well-written British Library Crime Classic mysteries are depictions of England and the lovely countryside. They allow me at times to place my open book on my lap, close my eyes and lofigate (a new word coined by a friend) in memories of my trips to Great Britain. A real bonus. Look for more of these stellar publications. They's well-worth a read.

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