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The Middle Temple Murder

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  281 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
All this led up to the appearance of Mr. Aylmore, M.P., in the witness-box. And Spargo knew and felt that it was that appearance for which the crowded court was waiting. Thanks to his own vivid and realistic specials in the Watchman, everybody there had already become well and thoroughly acquainted with the mass of evidence represented by the nine witnesses who had been in ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 28th 1980 by Dover Publications (first published 1919)
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Frank Spargo is a young journalist who has just finished his shift as dawn breaks across London and plans to make his way home for breakfast and a good, long sleep. As he passes Middle Temple Lane, home to various barristers and the like, he notices Driscoll, a policeman of his acquaintance, looking about him and signalling to another policeman nearby. Sensing a possible story he approaches Driscoll to find out what's up.

A porter has found the body of an elderly man on the steps leading to one o
Marts  (Thinker)
Feb 17, 2013 Marts (Thinker) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime, 2013-reads
A dead man is found on Middle Temple Lane and the one clue, a piece of paper with the address of a young lawyer on it, seems to have no connection to the death whatsoever...
This young lawyer however, and Spargo a journalist longing for a big story and an adventure, decide to solve the mystery...
Jul 08, 2016 Julia rated it really liked it
Another intriguing murder mystery by J. S. Fletcher. Nice variety of characters, none of whom was overtly portrayed as a bad guy until late in the story. This time the police department worked hand in hand with a bright young journalist who was investigating the mystery for his newspaper.

First published in 1920, it's fun to see how different the detective work would have been done before computers and cell phones.

I listened to this novel as a free audio download from Some of the L
Mar 15, 2013 Ape rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england, crime
I think in some respects you've got to take this for what it is; because by today's standards this murder mystery is very tame and twee. But it was written in 1919 or so - it's kicking on 100 years - and there is something rather warm and comforting about it, like coming home. It's a wonderful melodrama style mystery, with lots of twists, sudden discoveries and good eggs and bad sorts.

It's the second of Fletcher's books I've read. Honestly I prefered the other, Scarhaven Keep, to this. Sometimes
Jun 26, 2015 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
from my Amazon review: What a great find here on Amazon. I only found it as a recommendation due to my taste profile, and the likelihood of ever seeing it at the library would be nil to none. Published 1919. No computerized data banks with information for detectives so all hands on deck to solve the mystery in this book. There were so many humorous accounts and descriptions in this book causing many interruptions of laughter on my part. The newsman takes train trip from London out to a very ...more
Aug 01, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: great-mysteries
What a great little classic audio read I found on books should be free web site. For those that enjoy a cozy mystery with as little romance as possible, this was excellent in that slot. NONE!!! Pure mystery, Pure cozy. This book proves you do not need sex, immature cussing, and characters acting foolish to make a good read. Oh my , I just recalled there was a drop of attraction between the protagonist and one of the two minor lead characters in the book and the book ended with them together, but ...more
Sep 06, 2012 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audiobook version of this at work. It was a really great story, full of twists and turns that I honestly didn't expect. It wasn't the usual murder mystery. It might not have been good enough to keep my attention if I had just been reading it, but as an audiobook to keep me entertained while working, it was a great find.
Joan Thompson
Mar 24, 2011 Joan Thompson rated it really liked it
I think this is the best so fat that I have read of JS Fletchers mysteries. The usual formula from the Golden Age of Mystery books has been used to great effect with the reader kept on tenderhooks until the last few pages.
Jul 30, 2012 Brendan rated it liked it
When Spargo, the reporter for the Watchman, happens upon a man who has just found a dead body, he stumbles into a shocking story of murder and intrigue in the heart of the wealthy (and presumed safe) Middle Temple neighborhood. A few thoughts:

- Unlike a lot of mysteries from this era, the inspector at New Scotland Yard (Rathburn) is neither excessively antagonistic toward the reporter/detective nor is he excessively incompetent. Instead, he and Spargo work the case in tandem, sharing vital clue
Olga Wojtas
Sep 02, 2016 Olga Wojtas rated it liked it
I've been swithering about how many stars to give this, and eventually decided on three because while I largely enjoyed it, I thought the ending was dreadful. The murderer is unveiled with no explanation, and we never actually find out what happened to them - instead, the narrative changes bizarrely from crime novel to chick lit. J S Fletcher was a 19th century journalist and a very popular crime writer. For a 21st century journalist, it's fascinating - the hero, Frank Spargo, is a sub-editor ...more
Feb 13, 2012 Ailish rated it really liked it
The body of a prosperous, elderly stranger is found in Middle Temple Lane. Spargo, a young journalist, smells a mystery and sets out to discover the name of the victim, the reason for his presence in the Temple district at midnight, and the motive and identity of the murderer. The only clues are a newly-purchased cloth cap, and a scrap of paper from the dead man's pocket bearing the scribbled name and address of a young barrister, Spargo's friend, Ronald Breton. This is a gripping read, ...more
Aug 28, 2011 Frank rated it it was amazing
I found this story to be extremely interesting and I confess that I couldn't put it down until I finished it. Consider this story was written in 1918 and the detective/mystery genre was still in its infancy. It had good character development, twists and turns that kept your mystery solving abilities off balance. I gave this story a full 5 star rating in that it was well deserved. Remember when this book was written and take it from there. I was very forunate to obtain a bunch of Dover mysteries ...more
Oct 06, 2011 Sprout rated it liked it
I'd never heard of J. S. Fletcher before, which seems odd considering Agatha Christie is so famous and Fletcher was a similarly prolific mystery writer. The difference, based on this story at least, would appear to be that Fletcher's mystery takes place in London rather than Christie's small villages.

This story relies a little too much on coincidences, but it still reads as an entertaining who dunnit. A man is found murdered in a doorway late at night. A newspaper man takes it upon himself to di
Lisa Kucharski
Feb 15, 2014 Lisa Kucharski rated it really liked it
Having read read other mysteries by this author I would say this one has a very steady progression of following the lead investigator Spargo a reporter. A man is found dead with nothing on him to identify him except a name and address of a young barrister and Spargo is one of the first to see the corpse after the murder. He takes it in hand to find the murderer and does a good job of it too.

The story quickly follows one lead after the other until past crimes and real names are finally revealed.
Māra Laizāne
Jul 04, 2013 Māra Laizāne rated it really liked it
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Mar 12, 2013 John rated it really liked it
Not a great classic but a pretty good story and I found it very enjoyable. He keeps the story going right up the rather abrupt ending. This is another that is quite difficult to review without giving the game away. The hero is a newspaper reporter rather than a police detective and he diligently follows up every lead. The usual wealthy tycoon type with an unknown past and beautiful daughters, much beloved by the impoverished heroes, scenario. I really liked the inquest scenes. Recommended to ...more
Apr 05, 2016 Barbara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-mystery
I enjoyed this mystery. Thought it was well written and it certainly held my interest. The story was very like the Paradise Murder that I read a few days ago--an embezzlement, a ward with a mysterious guardian, a link to Australia, name changes and long-ago mysteries. JS Fletcher wasn't the most inventive plot creator! Yet, he wrote well and kept the story moving along. I might read more by him--if only to see if he recycles the story yet again!
John Haake
Apr 13, 2016 John Haake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While being Woodrow Wilson's favorite book, I was a bit disappointed by the first few chapters -- just a bit too much "just so" and unlikely coincidences. Once I got a bit farther into the book I decided there was some very fine writing in there -- the "just so" type of twists in the plot were still quite evident throughout the story, but the good writing kept me and my wife reading this book together to the very end.
Seth Lynch
Feb 28, 2012 Seth Lynch rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime
Another Audio book . This one was a free download from Libravox via Guttenberg.

It was OK. The reading got a bit bad towards the end. Some of the readers stumbled over entire paragraphs without stopping the tape and starting again. The odd word is ok but not a paragraph. This was matched by the bad writing – the plot was all right but the repitition tedious. ‘He opened the door, he went through the door he had opened.’ Did he really – and exactly how wide did he open the door, pray tell?
Aug 02, 2016 Sherry rated it really liked it
I really liked the simplicity of this book, without trying to be shocking or over the top as modern crime stories are often wont to be, it delivers a great story. Written almost 100 years ago, it has definitely stood the test of time.
Jan 25, 2015 Aditi marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed reading it because I love old-school detective fiction novels. Author tends to go on for a bit, but I skipped all those parts. Solution can be guessed at before the end, but you want to read on anyway.
A. C.
Aug 23, 2015 A. C. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Good story with a poor conclusion

This rather typical turn of the century mystery held my attention for three quarters of the book before it collapsed summarily and ended with wholly inadequate explanation.
Dec 01, 2015 Rick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Compelling page turner

This is my second JS Fletcher novel and I have thoroughly enjoyed both of them. His mysteries are both complicated enough to keep me interested, but straight forward enough for me to follow.
Oct 18, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was well-written with twists and turns and secret pasts that all become revealed as one murder is investigated. It is also easy to read even though it is set in early 1900s. This and many classics are available for free on Kindle or other e-book formats.
Mar 06, 2016 C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Period piece

This is a great picture of England in the previous century. The characters are likeable or villainous. The plot is rather standard.
Jenn Estepp
Solid, if not particularly remarkable, old school mystery; bears some similarities to the other Fletcher novel I've read (and liked a little better) but still very dependable and enjoyable.
Sharon Zink
Feb 18, 2016 Sharon Zink rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
A pretty good Victorian detective novel stretching from Australia to England. A journalist works along with a detective to find out who killed an unidentified man. There is a surprise ending.
Aug 20, 2016 Betty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
J.S. Fletcher is one of those writers from the Golden Age of Mysteries in the first half of the 20th century. I enjoyed his style very much and the ending was quite a surprise.
Joe Arieno
Feb 07, 2016 Joe Arieno rated it it was amazing
Because of being written almost 100 years ago, this story was a simple, non-technical whodoneit that I enjoyed. I'm looking forward to seeking out more of the same.
Mathangi Sri
Mar 03, 2016 Mathangi Sri rated it really liked it
Another murder mystery set in London.not that awesomic mystery but it does surprise you in few places..given its a classic, I always recommend it
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Reader's Sex 1 5 Aug 29, 2011 01:53PM  
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Joseph Smith Fletcher was a British journalist, writer, and fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He studied law before turning to journalism.

His literary career spanned approximately 200 books on a wide variety of subjects including fiction, non-fiction, histories, historical fiction, and mysteries. He was known as one of the leading writers of detective fiction in the Golden Age .
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