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Never Pick up Hitch-hikers!

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  200 ratings  ·  23 reviews
When Alf Jarrett spots the hitch-hiker waiting on the motorway slip-road, he thinks his prayers have been answered. William Banks is a personable young man of twenty, just leaving home for the first time—perfect for what Alf has in mind.
And when William is offered a free night’s lodging and the chance to repay Alf for the lift, he accepts eagerly. After all, it sounds sim
Mass Market Paperback, 248 pages
Published 1992 by Headline (first published 1976)
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May 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is not one of Ellis Peters' George Felse or Brother Cadfael mysteries, but I really enjoyed it. Young Willie Banks is hitch-hiking to the town of Braybourne when he is picked up by a man who gives him a package to deliver and a key to a residence in that town. Willie delivers the package but does not stay, which turns out to be a good thing, as it contained a fire bomb. Thus is Willie thrown into the middle of an attempt to retrieve a quarter of a million pounds stolen from a Braybourne ban ...more
Lois Bujold
Sep 20, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in early Peters and/or British cozies.
Recommended to Lois by: internet mention

I ordered this from the library due to an internet review that mentioned it as funny. When it arrived, I was rather put off by the blurb on the cover that described it (inaccurately, happily) as "a chilling novel of suspense". It proved to be more nearly a cozy thriller, if that's not a contradiction in terms.

I was familiar with Peters from some of her later, more popular Brother Cadfael historical mysteries. This was an earlier then-contemporary -- mid-70s -- set in a provincial British market
Charles  van Buren
Mar 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Not one of her best

By Charles van Buren on March 30, 2018

Format: Kindle Edition

I am an Ellis Peters fan but this novel is just not up to her usual standard. There are overblown and excessive descriptions of just about every location and character in the book. Without the excesses in the descriptions, the book would, at best, be a novella. At one point, two characters, Stan and Beattie, begin walking towards an address. About seven pages of the approximately fifteen recounting the walk, describe
Susan K.
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I consider this as one of her best books. Engaging plot complete with a myriad of interesting characters and fun to read.
Sep 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Superb. Most young sleuth pairs are more twee than I really care for, but these two protagonists (as it were) are sensible and sweet enough to fall for each other in a natural manner... all the while staying one step ahead of at least two crime gangs and the police (whom they involve just as a matter of course, but keeping their hands in). Very fun read.
Chrisanne Gniechwitz
One of her best. Peters is best known, I think, for her Cadfael series. This book is of a different breed.

Mysteries, but I have always favored her other books. This is one is very fine. The Characters are well revealed and of course there is that wonderful story. Peters writes with humor and leaves the reader with a sense of ease. If you like characters and a good tale which never needs gratuitous sex and violence.....this is a great example of good English story-,telling.

Jane Irish Nelson
I have read this several times and never get tired of it, despite knowing almost exactly what is going to happen. What I think I like best is the subtle humor that underlies the story, almost as if the author had her tongue firmly in her cheek throughout. this very quick-paced romp is hard to put down, and full of memorable characters. Highly recommended.
Reynolds Darke
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it
A good book from 1976 about a bank heist, stashed loot and two innocents in the way of the recovery of the loot three years later. It has a light touch, a little romance and very little suspense - its just not that kind of story.
Srikanth Sreedharan
Oct 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ellis Peters spins a great yarn. I look forward to meeting willie Banks and Calliope Francis again!
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
3,5 honestly, 4 for fun chaos crimi & pleasent end
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Highly amusing and fun little mystery/thriller in the classic style.

Alas that Ellis Peters will not be able to write more mysteries with William Banks as the main character!
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this again to counteract the rather disappointing The Giver Quartet, since Never Pick up Hitch-hikers! is one of my favourite novels, and realised I never wrote a review about it.

Never Pick up Hitch-hikers! is a "classic whodunnit", like the cover says. It follows 20-year old Willie Banks, who is trying to move out from under the protective wings of his mother - and accidentally ends up in the middle of a plot to fake a bank robber's death and recover the loot. Worst of all, it's Willie w
Aug 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
This is the 4th Ellis Peter’s novel I have read (or attempted). The first was a Cadfael novel, “Monks Hood” which I really enjoyed. So I picked up three crime novels by the same author expecting to like those too. But I was wrong.
I didn’t get past the first few pages of “Fallen into the Pit” before I was bored with it. Then I attempted “Holiday with Violence”, managing two or three chapters before I became so frustrated with the characters I didn’t want to read further. This book, “Never Pick Up
Mar 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book appears in Ninety Classics of Crime Fiction 1900-1975, ed. Jacques Barzun and Wendell Hertig Taylor. It is the first book I've read by Ellis Peters (Edith Mary Pargeter) and I gather from other reviewers that it is atypical of her work. It is somewhat difficult to characterize, being partially cozy, comic, mystery, crime, or thriller novel. An innocent hitch-hiker, off to a 1970s British market town to make his way in the world, is innocently involved in an arson where he is meant to b ...more
Chris Fitzgerald
Nov 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-crime
This was on a list of "50 great mysteries", but as one who reads Peters' books for the character interaction and insight into their motivations, I found this one to be uncharacteristically built on plot and action alone. Still a decent bedtime book, but probably my least favorite book by Peters so far. ...more
Kate North
Jul 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Haven't read this in ages; it was one of the ones I was sending to the charity shop, so I thought I'd quickly read it again - she does write well; I always enjoy them. I was going to say "even though they seem a little old-fashioned" but on second thought perhaps that's why I enjoy them!
Jul 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A fast moving British mystery featuring a newly met young couple who become involved with the police and rival groups trying to recover the stashed money from a major bank robbery three years earlier. The newly met young couple make this a delightful read. Quite a cast of characters.
Nov 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. Youth and innocence triumph over the bad guys; who can resist that?
Matthew Mitchell
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A delightful romp in Ellis Peter's inimitable style. More of an adventure than a whodunnit. No redemptive purpose, just plain fun. ...more
Oct 13, 2015 rated it liked it
a classic mystery - quick read
Jul 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with good taste
Shelves: crime-fiction
Superbly crafted story. Can't count the number of times I've read this. ...more
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Ursula Kücher-Hogg
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Eric Schonblom
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Mar 31, 2018
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A pseudonym used by Edith Pargeter.

Edith Mary Pargeter, OBE, BEM was a prolific author of works in many categories, especially history and historical fiction, and was also honoured for her translations of Czech classics; she is probably best known for her murder mysteries, both historical and modern. Born in the village of Horsehay (Shropshire, England), she had Welsh ancestry, and many of her sho

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