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The Cornish Coast Murder (Inspector Bigswell)

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  1,525 Ratings  ·  232 Reviews
'Never, even in his most optimistic moments, had he visualised a scene of this nature —himself in one arm-chair, a police officer in another, and between them . . . a mystery.'

The Reverend Dodd, vicar of the quiet Cornish village of Boscawen, spends his evenings reading detective stories by the fireside - but heaven forbid that the shadow of any real crime should ever fal
Paperback, British Library Crime Classics, 286 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by The British Library (first published 1935)
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MrsRK Hannah, I was barely able to finish this book. It is so repetitive you can tell the story before it's written. It doesn't compare to Mrs. Christie's…moreHannah, I was barely able to finish this book. It is so repetitive you can tell the story before it's written. It doesn't compare to Mrs. Christie's wonderful books. But who knows, give it a try and let me know your thoughts. (Like you, I am a Christie fan.)(less)

Community Reviews

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Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4000-books
First published in 1935 in easier times, when solving crime was done a la Agatha Christie with suspects and clues and basically no forensics. The local police ride bicycles and most people don't have a phone at all let alone a mobile.

My attention was caught by the setting - I will read almost anything with the words Cornwall or Cornish in the title! And then there is that eye catching cover which is reminiscent of the beautiful holiday posters they used to use to advertise holidays in England. I
Nov 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a charming mystery, first published in 1935, and was the crime writing debut of Ernest Carpenter Elmore (who chose ‘John Bude’ as his pseudonym). The book begins with two friends; the Reverend Dodd, Vicar of St Michael’s-on-the-Cliff and Dr Pendrill. The two meet up weekly for dinner and to share their love of detective fiction, both enjoy attempting to solve the fictional mysteries they read. However, on a stormy night, their evening is interrupted by Ruth Tregarthan, who calls to say t ...more
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
'...the mystery of Tregarthan's death was rather like the encroaching night. Here and there little gleams of light still shone out weakly, but even as one looked at them they slowly vanished, and the obscurity thickened until the landscape was of a uniform blackness.'

3 1/2 stars for this classic English Murder Mystery that kept me guessing to the end.

Reverend Dodd—vicar of the quiet Cornish village of Boscawen is an avid reader of detective novels. Never does he expect to be involved in the actu
This mystery was, in its way, refreshing. It was written in the mid-1930s, when the accepted view was that one's guilt and conscience would make one--eventually--want to confess, shoulder responsibility for the crime, and accept the consequences. No loose ends and no moral ambiguity.

In that way, this mystery was pure escapist entertainment for me. John Bude describes the Cornish coast in such detail, I feel as though I've been there; I really enjoyed all of the descriptions of the surroundings.
Ivonne Rovira
Apr 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Golden Age cozy fans
In this Golden Age mystery, Reverend Dodd spends his evenings devouring detective novels but never imagines he’ll ever encounter a real-life crime more shocking than a penny-ante burglary in his quiet Cornish village of Boscawen. But when the village’s irascible magistrate is found shot to death, Dodd puts his mental cache of detective fiction at the disposal of Inspector Bigswell, a local plod who quickly realizes he’s out of his league with this murder. The vicar and the policeman join forces ...more
Moonlight Reader
Taking more than a few cues from Murder at the Vicarage, published in 1930, Bude's 1935 mystery is quite entertaining if a bit derivative.

I love books set on the coast of Cornwall - and this one is also set in March, so it has all of the blustery, windswept charm that we might expect. The vicar and the doctor in the village of Boscawen spend their evenings reading detective novels by the fireside. When real murder intrudes, the Vicar is delighted with the opportunity to exercise his skills in as
May 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you like traditional murder mysteries then this will be a book you will enjoy. A man is shot dead in his cliff top home and the circumstances surrounding the shooting puzzle the vicar and the local doctor as well as the police. One of the prime suspects has disappeared and another is definitely lying but may not be lying about anything to do with the murder.

Amateur and professional detectives working together and some atmospheric scenery as well as interesting characters are the main ingredie
Apr 12, 2015 rated it liked it
The Cornish Coast Murder was Bude’s first novel – and while it certainly doesn’t have the complexity and ingenuity of Christie, Marsh, Sayers et al – but there is still much to recommend it, it is an engagingly readable example of golden age crime, with a rather adorable pair of amateur detectives. This is a novel very much in the cosy tradition – it is pure escapism. Much of Bude’s focus in this novel is character and setting, there is not much in the way of investigative high jinks. In fact th ...more
Sep 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebooks
This is one of a collection of British Library Crime Classics of books that were popular in their own time and have since been forgotten. If this example is representative of the collection then it is easy to see why they are no longer read.

This novel is set in Cornwall and if you are hoping for the county to be important to the story such as by Daphne du Maurier then you'll be disappointed. The setting is the village of Boscawen, which is the surname of Cornwall's prominent aristocrats family:
Oct 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable read very much in the golden age tradition. Should appeal to Christie fans. Written in 1935 it doesn’t seem dated. I liked the interaction between the amateur sleuths and the police and the Cornish setting is a plus.
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In einem keinen Küstenort in Cornwall treffen sich in den 30ern des vorigen Jahrhunderts zwei alleinstehende mittelalte Herren, der Arzt Dr. Pendrill und der Ortspfarrer, Reverend Dodd. Die Herrschaften zelebrieren regelmäßig einen exklusiven kleinen Leseclub. Sie bestellen alle 14 Tage ein paar sorgfältig ausgewählte Krimis in der Bücherei von Greystoke, die sie gemeinsam auspacken und nacheinander lesen. Die Gemeinde kennt das Laster der Herren, das auch die Freude am Miträtseln umfasst, wer d ...more
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-england
The local vicar, Mr. Dodd, and his friend the doctor meet regularly to discuss the mystery stories they love to read. Then, in the midst of one of their evenings, the phone rings. It's the mansion across the road, calling for the doctor--the bad-tempered magistrate who lives there has been shot. As Mr. Dodd pries around the edges of the police investigation, Inspector Bigswell investigates intelligently (but not very imaginatively). In the battle between intuition and procedure, who is going to ...more
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Not very impressed with this story. The author writes very well--which was probably the reason it kept me going--but the constant retelling of the clues, suspicions and semi-conclusions drove me to skipping sometimes whole pages. From the very beginning I concluded that there was only one way someone could have committed the crime; it surprised me nobody saw it, so I thought there was another solution, since it seemed too easy to me. Nope, I was right, which was disappointing. I like books that ...more
Jul 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: july-2016, kindle
2.5 stars.

I started reading this on a flight, thinking that, if the other books in this series were anything to go by, it would be wonderfully paced, intriguing, and would keep me entertained throughout my journey. It took rather a while to go anywhere, I felt, and the writing was not as strong as I was expecting. The Cornish Coast Murder is nowhere near as gripping as I thought it would be either, and it has made me rethink reading all of the British Library Crime Classics collection; sadly, th
Carolyn Thomas
Sep 29, 2014 rated it liked it
This is the book to curl up with on a cold winter's night with rain lashing against the window panes, tucked up in front of a roaring fire with a hot cup of tea and some chocolate! Delightfully atmospheric, no sex or foul language to cringe over - just a gently moving plot unraveled by the local vicar, whose involvement with his parishioners proves invaluable in the solving of the crime.
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
With Inspector Wycliffe, the Cornish coast seems to spawn a goodly number of mysteries but John Bude was ahead of his time when he produced 'The Cornish Coast Murder' as long ago as 1935 when detective stories with a recognisable and well-evoked rural background were less common than they are today. But Bude realised that detective fans would enjoy mysteries with attractive real-life settings other than London and he sets this one on the Cornish coast, which proves central to the plot.

The three
tom bomp
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
I've read another book by this author (The Sussex Downs Murder) and found it really unimpressive so I was really surprised to find I actually liked this one quite a lot. The mystery isn't totally solvable before the end (it's solved with some stuff impossible to know, although none of it is a leap and it all fits) but there are a lot of spots you can get ahead of the main characters if you're good at this. I can't explain quite why I liked it a lot - as with the other book the characters are har ...more
Jun 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
A Cornish Coast Mystery by John Bude is a British Library Crime Classic. It is part of a series of crime novels from the British golden age of crime writing that are now being republished after almost disappearing from sight. This was an engaging read right from the first chapter. The Vicar earns not only the Inspector’s respect but the reader’s as well. His methodical approach to solving the crime and following the clues shows intelligence and insight. The interest in this book is in the detail ...more
Richard Howard
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-this-year
Reading some of these 'lost' classics of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, you realise why they were lost. It's not just the way women and the 'lower' classes are represented, which is repellent, the whole societal structure is appalling to modern sensibilities. In this tale it is implied from the start that the upper class suspects could not possibly be guilty, no matter how much evidence is stacked against them. Instead we have a ridiculously contrived solution that fingers someone the read ...more
Oct 03, 2015 rated it liked it
I've been meaning to read some of the British Library Crime Classics series. This 1930s book is the first one I've tried, and it was an enjoyable read, with an atmospheric Cornish setting. The mix of amateur and professional detectives also worked well. I didn't feel the mystery element was quite up there with the best of the genre, because the solution partly depends on information which the reader hasn't been given.

Oct 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, mystery-spy
The perfect book for a long car ride. Light, not as tightly plotted as Christie's mysteries, but still with the feel of that time. I will definitely read more of this author's work. Wish I could find it in audio form.

(Thanks again, Mumzie, for mentioning J. Bude.)
May 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This had me guessing right up till the end.
A wonderful mystery which I found hard to put down.
I loved the fact there was a Mrs Mullion, same name as the place I live.
If you like Golden age mysteries you'll love this.
Apr 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It was written in 1935 and was quite puzzling - I had no idea who the murderer was until the reveal. The murder was solved by a collaboration between the Inspector and the local Vicar who had a lot of knowledge of the people involved, so that was unusual.
Charlie Cochrane
Apr 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Good enough period mystery, quite atmospheric, with a very engaging amateur sleuth in the Reverend Dodd. ending was unsatisfactory, however, in that the reader hadn't been given enough info to solve the crime.
This was a good read. It was a book I read for a reading group which is why it isn't my normal type of book but I enjoyed the mystery and the characters very much.

There are no main characters in this book as such since there are so many characters and none that we follow really. Instead readers are following the investigation of a murder and through that the lives of suspects and the investigators who in this case is a police detective and a vicar. The characters have many truths and lies that
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I used to read large numbers of mysteries, when I reviewed them for a local rag a long time ago. Since then, I haven't been able to look at one until I picked up this lovely reprint of a classic British golden-age mystery by John Bude, who penned quite a few of them. This book has all the hilarious cliches of early UK mysteries -- the deference to the gentleman first suspected and then cleared of murder on his personal word, the instant collapse into guilt of the servant when charged with his cr ...more
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: england, mystery
This was the 1935 crime debut for John Bude. This reissue has a nice introduction about the author & the "golden age" of British crime fiction in it, which I appreciated. This is a traditional murder mystery set in a small coastal village reminiscent of the style of his peer and Queen of British crime novels, Agatha Christie. It's "detectives" are professionals and a local Vicar who relishes the chance to put his acquired acumen from his reading of crime novels to use.

The opening paragraph c
Nov 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
A pleasant diversion. Written in 1935, this was the author’s first foray into the mystery genre, one he was to inhabit for many years. Not well known today, and the book is an indicator as to why that is. There is virtually every trope of that era here, and an interesting plot, but the story is pedestrian in the telling, the characters fairly flat. Martin Edwards, in the forward, makes some comparison to Dorothy Sayers, and while the social milieu is similar, Sayers’ novels were much more sophis ...more
Apr 13, 2017 rated it liked it
An old-fashioned Agatha Christie style book, pleasant read, brought in St Ives and will always be a holiday memory book rather than an epic read!
Lil's Vintage World
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
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John Bude was a pseudonym used by Ernest Carpenter Elmore who was a British born writer.

He was born in 1901 and, as a boarder, he attended Mill Hill School, leaving in 1919 and moving on to Cheltenham where he attended a secretarial college and where he learned to type. After that he spent several years as games master at St Christopher School in Letchworth where he also led the school's dramatic
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“In my opinion,” said the Superintendent slowly, “an arm-chair review of a case is often far more profitable than any number of enquiries and cross-examinations. You get a better perspective. More wood. Fewer trees.” 2 likes
“That's just where I must part company with you, Inspector,” said the Vicar with a gentle smile. “I'm rather a voracious reader of mystery stories, and it's always struck me that the detective in fiction is inclined to underrate the value of intuition.” 0 likes
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