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Death of a Busybody
George Bellairs
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Death of a Busybody (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #3)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  353 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
Miss Tither, the village busybody, is not the best-loved resident of Hilary Magna. She has made many enemies: bombarding the villagers with religious tracts, berating drunkards, and informing the spouses of cheating partners. Her murder, however, is still a huge shock to the Reverend Ethelred Claplady and his parish. Inspector Littlejohn's understanding of country ways mak ...more
Hardcover, 214 pages
Published 1943 by Macmillan Company
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Ivonne Rovira
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cozy lovers
Recommended to Ivonne by: NetGalley
I was unfamiliar with George Bellairs, who wrote several dozen cozies over four decades featuring Scotland Yard detective Thomas Littlejohn. Poison Pen Press has reissued the third in the series, Death of a Busybody, and I hope they reissue the entire lot! George Bellairs deserves to be rescued from obscurity.

Miss Ethel Tither, the eponymous busybody, takes it upon herself to be God’s scourge on earth to ferret out moral turpitude in all of its guises. From the irreligious to lazy scalawags to t
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
When George Ballairs penned his Inspector Thomas Littlejohn stories their humor appealed to war-weary British readers in need of a little light escapism. His third novel Death of a Busybody was published in 1942.

I have long wanted to read some of Poisoned Pen Press's British Library Crime Classics. The cover art of the series is gorgeous. And I am glad I requested this little gem, as it provided a bit of fun and relief I needed in these contemporary grim times.

The Rev. Ethelred Claplady of Hilar
*I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

I really enjoyed this book. I had never heard of this author or his Inspector Littlejohn, and came across this book by chance on the NetGalley page of a publisher I had enjoyed other books from. The cover and the description promised a cozy, old-fashioned mystery, and that's exactly what I got.

Miss Tither, local busybody of a small country village, is found dead by the vicar (one Ethelred Claplady; had to mentio
Steven Heywood
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bellairs at his best: nicely-paced, with a fairly-presented mystery and some good characterisation. The whimsy of everyday life is drawn more finely than in some of his other books and is all the better for it.
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Miss Tither knows everything there is to know about the village of Hilary Magna but in this case all her knowledge proves to be dangerous when she is found dead in the Vicar's cesspool. The Reverend Ethelred Claplady is shocked but somehow not surprised. Miss Tither is noted for tracking down all the sinners in the parish and berating them in an effort to get them to change their ways. She somehow manages to ferret out everyone's secrets and does not hesitate to tell the partners of cheating spo ...more
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, mystery
"Death of a Busybody" is a mystery that was originally published in 1942 and is set in England. The characters were described with a humorous touch and village life was described in passing as the detective investigated, so the story had some interest beyond the investigation.

Inspector Littlejohn and the local constable followed up on obvious leads and questioned many people. Inspector Littlejohn slowly uncovered what happened until he was finally able to put it all together. There were clues, a
Judy Lesley
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many thanks to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for allowing me to read a digital galley of this novel.

I am so grateful to Poisoned Pen Press, the British Library Crime Classics series and Martin Edwards, editor of this novel, for bringing books such as this back into circulation so they can be enjoyed by readers who particularly enjoy the classic crime novels. This one was first released in either 1942 or 1943 (there's a little difference between the copyright date and the date Edwards states i

This book, the third in the Chief Inspector Thomas Littlejohn series was originally published in 1942 and depicts village life during the Second World War.

Bellairs mysteries during this time are light and humorous escapism for the period.

Miss Tither is a busybody who makes her way around the village of Hilary Magna sniffing out 'Sin' and handing out religious tracks. So it is no wonder that she is discovered dead in the vicars septic tank.

Littlejohn has his work cut out trying to find the 'needl
In some remote English village, an unpopular lady with a deep religious root who is known for her habits of meddling into people's private businesses and her overly zealous attempts trying to convert the villagers' "malicious" ways of living is found murdered one day. After some serious deliberation, the local law enforcers decide to employ an additional help from the Scotland Yard, Inspector Littlejohn, to speed up the investigation process. The crime is solved rather rapidly with minimum surve ...more
Caroline Bennett
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
Thoroughly enjoyed this. So glad I found this author.

(view spoiler)
Andreia Nuno
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A classic crime novel that brings back the flare of the golden age of detective literature. A quick, pleasant read.

In a small English village, Miss Ethel Tither is the most unpopular lady. Set deeply in her religious ways, she makes it her mission to know everything about everyone. However, before she can open her mouth too much, she appears murdered. When attempts in solving the case came out blank, the local police is forced to reach out to Scotland Yard that sends Inspector Littlejohn to crac
Barbara Rogers
Series: Chief Inspector Littlejohn #3
Publication Date: 9/5/17 (Re-release)

I’d actually give it 3.5 stars if I were able, the mystery is good and you aren’t sure who the villain is until almost the end of the book.

This book is the third one in a long series of books by author George Bellairs and was originally published in 1942 and the original hardcovers with dust jackets are quite collectible. The mystery is quite good, the townspeople hospitable, the police force all cooperate with each other
Tonstant Weader
Death of a Busybody was originally published in 1942, the third book George Bellairs wrote and the third to feature Inspector Littlejohn of Scotland Yard. This time, Inspector Littlejohn is called to the villages of Hilary Magna and Parva to solve the murder of the local nosy parker. Miss Tither is one of those annoying people who makes it her mission to question, snoop, and poke her nose into everyone’s business. Now, in a typical murder of a busybody, the motive would be some extortion scheme, ...more
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been in a bit of a rut with my reading, trudging through a few books that I had high hopes for but that didn't engage me. Two of the last 3 novels I started I didn't finish, and these included a Booker prizewinner and a Pulitzer prizewinner. I started to think my favourite thing to do in the world, reading, had lost its sheen. Being involved in 3 reading groups, 2 of which I run, might have played a part in making books feel like a chore rather than a pleasure.

And it's not as if Death of a
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Delightful vintage mystery selection from the long Inspector Littlejohn series. The murder of a malicious gossip in a small village turns out to be the final piece in a complex series of events. The well-drawn characters in the village and the ferreting out of what actually happened is entertaining and a wonderful diversion. Inspector Littlejohn is a great character. I particularly enjoyed the humorous tone and the audacious names of some of the characters, including Ethelred Claplady.

I am happy
3.5 stars.
Perfect germ ridden crime reading, not gory, suitably challenging without being overcomplex
Leyla Johnson
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy reading books from the era of the Golden Age, if you don't you may find this book a little slow. It isn't full of thrills and spills and bad language, but it has a good storyline, wonderful characters and a story that keeps you reading and gives a good feeling at the end. The good guys win too.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A classic British village mystery. This book although originally published in the 40's still holds up.
Interesting characters, secrets and twists and a well written whodunit.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inspector Littlejohn of Scotland Yard is called to assist DC Harriwinkle in the village of Hillary Magna when the village "busybody" Miss Tither is murdered. She displayed a "holier than thou" attitude and aimed to make people repent of their errant ways. Lots of people, as you can imagine, have motives, and a recently changed will provides an interesting twist. Suspicion even falls to the vicarage. Bellairs' carefully crafted plot will cause many to second-guess or change their minds along the ...more
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First published in 1942 , Death of a Busybody is the third in George Bellairs’ series featuring Inspector, later, Superintendent, Thomas Littlejohn. The series, published from 1941-1980, ran to over fifty books.

Bellairs, who died in 1985, has been unjustly neglected until the recent reissues. In his lifetime he was rated highly by the author and reviewer, Francis Iles (Anthony Berkley) ,who was a great spotter of crime-writing talent.

Martin Edwards opines in his useful Introduction that Bellai
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Here you have a very straight forward mystery. Start off with a grizzly crime, in a very horrid setting, find the witnesses, suspects, and motives, then start breaking alibis, and finish by ferreting out liars, and con men by the droves.
It is very character driven, and by character I mean ‘characters’. There are quite a few who could live just as easily in a comedy or a farce. Mr. Thornbush is a prime example of one trait so over emphasized that it was really quite amusing.
I would have give
Jenn Estepp
A nice little mystery. Pretty easy to suss out what's up, but nicely atmospheric and golden age cozy.
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yeap another British Library Crime Classic. I do like these. And this one is quite a goodie. Set during the war, it races along a quite a lick as cops must narrow down a very large field of possibles to get their 'man'. Lots of weird and wonderful characters and schemes muddy the waters in the pursuit of justice. But, have no fear The Man from The Yard will always get their villian. I was hooked.
Maggie Hesseling
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
This is the first novel of Bellairs that I've read, and I really enjoyed it. Not only was it funny, but the story was interesting and smartly written. There are red herrings aplenty and a twist that I didn't see coming, all adding up to a wonderfully fun read.

The humor in Death of a Busybody really is, for me, the biggest highlight. The characters in it are not only amusing, but prevent the novel from being too dry. For example, Mr. Thornbush, who keeps sprouting biblical passages that aren't n
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 and 1 / 2 stars

Inspector Littlejohn of Scotland Yard gets called in to investigate the death of Miss Tither who was hit on the head and then drowned in the vicar’s cesspit.

As he goes about interviewing various witnesses, suspects and villagers he gets the assistance of Inspector Oldfield and PC Harriwinckle. He meets interesting people, some friendly and loquacious and some secretive and short.

The murderer comes as somewhat of a surprise but the motive for the crime is not.

I love the use of
Kris Veldhuizen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Patricia O'Brien
Very much of its time but enjoyable all the same, with a likeable group of characters.

What was most interesting were the social conventions of the time- genteel ladies employing cooks etc. The vicar visiting his flock, which included a young woman further down the social scale who chatted to him at the door of her cottage, with two children holding her skirts and another at her breast.
This was without comment in the book and something that would just never happen nowadays!

I worked out the crim
P Karr
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Very light and leisurely read that gives you plenty of opportunity to work out different scenarios in your mind, consider clues and red herrings. The typical English village of mystery novels is represented by Hillary Magna/ Parva. The vicar is studious but doesn't seem too bright. The Inspector from Scotland Yard is methodical and relentless. The local bobby is trying hard for a promotion.

And of course there are some threads or connections from the past that are overlooked.

I liked reading this
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AKA Hilary Landon.
George Bellairs is the nom de plume of Harold Blundell, a crime writer and bank manager born in Heywood, near Rochdale, Lancashire, who settled in the Isle of Man on retirement. He wrote more than 50 books, most featuring the series' detective Inspector Littlejohn. He also wrote four novels under the alternative pseudonym Hilary Landon.
More about George Bellairs

Other books in the series

Chief Inspector Littlejohn (1 - 10 of 57 books)
  • Littlejohn on Leave (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #1)
  • Four Unfaithful Servants (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #2)
  • Murder Will Speak (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #4)
  • The Murder of a Quack (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #5)
  • The Case of the Seven Whistlers (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #6)
  • Calamity at Harwood (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #7)
  • Death in the Night Watches (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #8)
  • He'd Rather Be Dead (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #8)
  • The Case of the Scared Rabbits (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #10)
  • The Crime at Halfpenny Bridge (Thomas Littlejohn #9)

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