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English Country House Murders: Classic Crime Fiction of Britain's Upper Crust

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  266 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Nothing could seem more civilized, more orderly and sedate than a weekend at one of Great Britain's country estates. Yet these staid, conservative houses play host to a wider variety of murders than do the mean streets of America's darkest cities.

The adventure of the Abbey Grange / Sir Arthur Conan Doyle --
A marriage tragedy / Wilkie Collins --
Lord Chizelrigg's m
Hardcover, 348 pages
Published December 1st 1988 by Mysterious Pr
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(showing 1-30)
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Nov 27, 2012 Hannah rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries, 2012-reads
An excellent compilation of 22 shorts featuring the quintessential writers of the genre. If you want a taste of what makes these authors so good at their craft, this is a nice reference book to begin with. Many of these (Ethel White, Christianna Brand and Nicholas Blake) were new to me, but after a sampling of their work, I'll be looking into longer books from them.

Personal favorites include Ethel White's The Unlocked Window (deliciously creepy), Philip MacDonald's The Wood-for-the-Trees (a gre
Kirsten *Make Margaret Atwood Fiction Again!"
A fun collection of mysteries of the English Country House variety. I knew many of the authors like Dorothy L Sayers, Ruth Rendell, PD James, etc, but many of the authors I hadn't heard of. Lots of fun.
This is a collection of some of the best classic English mystery authors (Christie, Doyle, James, Rendell, Carr, Wodehouse, Allingham) doing the typical British Country House murder settings. Very fun. Only one I didnt really enjoy - so a very satisfying collection
Nov 24, 2011 Lawrence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very broad and interesting collection of British manor house mysteries, Edited by Thomas Godfry. A must for all lovers of the genre.
Like all collections of short stories, this was uneven, but the items I liked best may be the ones you liked least. Godfrey certainly collects a number of fine mystery writers in this plump volume.
Aug 23, 2009 Libby rated it it was amazing
Do enjoy short stories and these are written by some great authors, Doyle, Christie, Sayers, Collins.
Pretty good mystery short stories with a British country estate setting. I preferred some more than others. Thought it would be a good way to read new authors in this genre.
Oct 22, 2008 TJ rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Good collection of stories. Lots of fun reading the stories, and good intro into authors you may not heard of.
Dec 25, 2009 Casey is currently reading it
So far so good. Very enjoyable collection of short stories.
Mar 25, 2011 Janette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent collection.
Nov 10, 2016 Sally rated it liked it
This is a very entertaining collection of short stories that one should dip into rather than reading straight through. There is a nice historical range from Arthur Conan Doyle and Wilkie Collins up through Ruth Rendell and P. D. James. Some are stronger than others, and the last couple, which are more contemporary, seem sadder in a way since the whole idea of the English country house has been diminished. On the whole, though, highly recommended.
Joan - xstitchfan
Dec 24, 2016 Joan - xstitchfan rated it really liked it
I'm generally not a short story lover - except for O. Henry that is! However, I chose this book of short stories because of it's amazing list of mystery writers. I wasn't disappointed at all! I enjoyed the editor's choices which varied in story construction and tone. There is nothing too gory for the squeamish reader. My most surprising discovery is that my least favorite story was by P. D. James who is usually a favorite author. I can't seem to decide on a favorite story. Two strong possible ch ...more
English Country House Murders, edited by Thomas Godfrey, is a collection of 22 short stories by celebrated mystery, crime and detective fiction authors.

The introduction explains 14 basic rules a mystery must follow to be classified as an authentic English Country House Mystery:

1. Must be written by an authentic English writer.
2. Must include a crime.
3. Multiple crimes may be included, gory or violent details may not.
4. Poison is the preferred murder method, or a blow to the head.
5. The crime m
Jan 11, 2015 Ann rated it really liked it
Another short story collection, but this one features the cream of the crop of mystery writers from the past and present: Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers, Margery Allingham, GK Chesterton, Wilkie Collins, Baroness Orczy, Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Barr, R. Austin Freedman, John Dickinson Carr, Ruth Rendell, PD James, Michael Innes, PG Wodehouse, Nicolas Blake, Christianna Brand, Philip MacDonald, Cyril Hare, Ethel Lina White, Freeman Wills Crofts and James Miles. The stories are dif ...more
Oct 06, 2016 Lesley rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, fiction

This is a wonderful anthology. In fact, I am writing this review after my second rereading. I am a fan of the older mystery writers and am using this as a way to remind myself of some authors I had frankly forgotten. So make a cup of tea, sit down by the fire and read a few stories. You'll be transported to a time when they didn't tell you in detail exactly how the corpse looked, or what happened after the romantic kiss. Not every story is perfect, but then that's the fun!
English Country House M
Linda C
Mar 11, 2014 Linda C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of 22 murder mysteries draws together one of the best collections of stories representing classic authors of this genre including Agatha Christie, Wilkie Collins, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy L. Sayers, P. G. Wodehouse, P. D. James and G. K. Chesterton. Thomas Godfrey's introduction defines the English Country House Mysteries in 14 criteria and then goes on to describe the 'rules of the house' ie the characteristics of the house, the atmosphere and the characters that give it ...more
John Carter
This collection was compiled completely under false pretenses. After defining the country house murder—“You open the cover and suddenly you are transported to a splendid baronial manor …”; “… in the library his wife, Felicity, daughter of Sir Randolph Cross (rumoured to be next in line at the Exchequer), lies dead …”; “Is there another murder in the offing?”—the editor puts in “intimate character studies” and stories with no houses at all or only four characters, two of which have (truly) never ...more
Alison C
Feb 14, 2016 Alison C rated it really liked it
"English Country House Murders: Classic Crime Fiction of Britain’s Upper Crust," edited by Thomas Godfrey, is just what the title suggests, an anthology of 22 mystery stories, all set in the country houses of the aristocracy in Britain, and all involving murder in one form or another. The nice thing about this anthology is the range of authors: we start with none other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and read chronologically up through Ruth Rendell and P.D. James, a period spanning as much as 150 ye ...more
Jun 25, 2016 Margaret rated it really liked it
An enjoyable set of 22 short stories, to a theme, threaded through by reasonably entertaining introductions and dating back to the exploits of Sherlock Holmes.
To my surprise, a short story by one of my favorite authors, Dorothy Sayers, was my least favorite in the collection. A good deal of it was testimony as to who was where at various times during a dance featuring various dances of which I recognize the name only of the Fox Trot. Boring. Though I did do some brief google research on, what we
This anthology includes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, P.D. James, and other famous English mystery writers in a series of delightful stories that take place in English country houses. I liked all of the stories in the book. I especially liked the one called "Death in the Sun" which has a corpse found nude on the roof of a villa and "The Man on the Roof" where everyone in the house and the village would benefit with the death of the Duke.
This book is to be recommended to all who
Kathy Sebesta
Jul 26, 2014 Kathy Sebesta rated it really liked it
Every English mystery writer (or writer of English mysteries) of 1989 or earlier is in this book. There are even two Sherlock Holmes stories, one the starts the book by Doyle and another that ends it by James Miles. The styles tend to be legitimately dated, but most of the stories are well constructed and worth reading. It was fun to reconnect with authors like Christie, Marsh, Allingham, etc whom I'd read thru as a kid. Don't go looking for the book, but if it falls into your hands have a good ...more
Suzanne Bordwell
A great book with short stories you can read each night before going to bed.

The Adventure of the Abbey Grange
A Marriage Tragedy
Lord Chizelrigg's Missing Fortune
The Fordwych Castle Mystery
The Blue Scarab
The Doom of the Darnaways
The Shadow on the Glass
The Queen's Square
Death on the Air
The Same to Us
The Hunt Ball
The inacutious Burglar
The Long Shot
Jeeves and the Stolen Venus
Death in the Sun
An Unloced Window
The Wood-for-the-Trees
The Man on the Roof
The Death of Amy Robsart
Fen Hall
A Very Desirable Resi
This collection of short detective stories was a mixed bag for me. Some were really good, while others were pretty dry. I did appreciate that I learned a bit more about the detective genre through the editor's notes (I had no idea Baroness Orczy of Scarlett Pimpernel fame wrote a female Sherlock-style detective named Lady Molly!).
Dec 24, 2011 Shane rated it liked it
This is a good if inconsistent collection of short stories, each presenting a murder in a Victorian/Edwardian English country house. I read it as research for a project I was working on, but I recommend the book if you are interested in such things.

The book is out of print, but widely available.
Jul 15, 2015 Luvs2read rated it it was amazing
A terrific collection of classic mysteries. I'd never read anything by Wilkie Collins, though I'd heard of the Moonstone. I found the story to be engaging, the sleuth character fun. I plan to hunt up novels by several of the authors I hadn't read before. Very good sampler of the best of the 19th and 20th centuries, showing how the country house mystery genre evolved. Recommended.
A Hallowe'en treat to myself. Picked this up because I wanted to read An Unlocked Window by Ethel Lina White, which again, was the basis of an episode of the Alfred Hitchcock Hour. What's rare is that every story in this anthology is good, and the introductions to each story by the editor Thomas Godfrey is just as interesting.
Jan 09, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it
What could be more fun than a weekend at an English country house? Well, a murder free weekend for a start. This is a collection of 22 short stories by leading English mystery writers and the list includes many of my old favorites--Agatha Christie, Wilkie Collins, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and P.D. James--and some new names whose works I look forward to reading.
Jul 13, 2011 Rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Very enjoyable set of mystery stories. I particularly recommend:
1) The Shadow on the Glass (Agatha Christie can do no wrong).
2) Death on the Air (Dame Ngaio Marsh)
3) Jeeves & the Stolen Venus (P.G. Woodhouse)
4) An Unlocked Window (Ethel Lina White) - This story was probably the fastest page turner for me, very much in the style of Wuthering Heights.
Jun 28, 2011 Trude rated it really liked it
A great selection of short stories by classic murder-mystery authors. Loved the intro to each, I just wish he'd put when each story was published! A good reminder that some classic plot lines never change.
Jo Ellen
Feb 27, 2013 Jo Ellen rated it really liked it
I am a sucker for the country houses -- with murders or without. This is a most comprehensive anthology, starting with Sherlock Holmes and ending with PD James (with a post script,a send-up of Sherlock). I liked comparing and contrasting.
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  • Carolyn G. Hart Presents Malice Domestic (Malice Domestic, #4)
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  • Capital Crimes: London Mysteries
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