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The Cornish Coast Murder

(Inspector Bigswell)

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  2,490 ratings  ·  365 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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Hannah This is my first foray into Bude, and I am enjoying this particular book very much. It's definitely a classic golden age British mystery. That being s…moreThis is my first foray into Bude, and I am enjoying this particular book very much. It's definitely a classic golden age British mystery. That being said, I wouldn't class Bude with Christie, so if you go into it with lower expectations, you might enjoy this book.(less)

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Average rating 3.52  · 
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Amalia Gkavea
‘’It was raining fitfully and gusts of wind from off the Atlantic rattles the window-frames and sought dismally among the sprinkling of gaunt pipers which surrounded the Vicarage. It was a threatening night. No moon. But a lowering bank of cloud rested far away on the horizon of the sea, dark against the departing daylight.’’

The Reverend Dodd, the vicar of Boscawen, a lovely village in Cornwall, is a marvellous oddball. A fervent lover of detective stories, he finds himself actively involved

So I have to say I love the dated feel to the covers of these British Library Classics, they are just so evocative of anything between the 20s to the 50s, and being a fifties lad (by 3 months only I admit) I have a soft spot for it.

That said, did the book live up to the cover, well almost. I took a long time to read this book, almost 3 weeks, and went from 3 ahead in my challenge to 1 behind. Now I cannot blame it on the book really, a number of other factors which are of no interest really to r
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
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
Christine PNW
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 a
Oct 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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, especially the ending, but I still enjoyed it - editing in 2021 to say I've just reread this, and really like Bude's writing style. ...more
Wash your hands.
Aug 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
I’m a huge murder mystery fan, especially the golden age and this book is pure unadulterated horseshit. In this instance there is a reason it was out of print for so long. It’s dull.

It’s a 50 page short story dragged out to 286 pages, there is no subtlety of plot and no beauty in the language to redeem it. Miss Silver is “charming” this is as painful as that American show “seconds from disaster” where they assume their viewers are stupid and repeat everything that has come before after each adv
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:
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the sort of book that is considered a nice, comfortable mystery to read on a rainy day. Life got really busy so there were gaps between the days I was able to read, so this book took a little longer to finish and I'm afraid I may have forgotten key events or characters. It also may be that they were a little hard to keep track of, but I think it's my fault, not the author's.

A vicar and a doctor meet Monday nights for dinner and sharing stories. Together they pay for a monthly package of
Pam Baddeley
This cozy crime novel from the 1930s looked promising at the start, with a scene of a vicar, who lives near the rocky Cornish coast, getting together for a regular meeting with the local doctor. They take delivery of their latest books from a lending library and share them out - both are keen readers of crime fiction. And soon they are involved in the aftermath of a real life local murder, though peripherally in the case of the doctor, and only to a limited extent on the part of the vicar.

I thou
Richard Howard
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2017
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
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
Jul 12, 2021 rated it liked it
Enjoyable, basic mystery that wasn't as good as other mysteries but perfectly British and a good distracting read. ...more
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
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of Golden Age British Crime
John Bude along with John Creasey founded the Crime Writers Association in 1953 which is still going strong with ‘over six hundred members’ worldwide, and ‘its Dagger Awards are renown’. It is thanks to the these two men and their realization that an ‘organization’ such as CWA would provide long range goals for writers of this genre. Being intrigued by this ‘Golden Age’ of British Crime writers, I decided to read John Bude’s The Cornish Coast Murder which I thoroughly enjoyed even though I along ...more
This is about as close to a "Christie Cozy" I've read that wasn't authored by Dame Agatha.
CAST= 3 stars: The opening has Vicar Dodd and his old and dear friend Dr. Pendrill sitting by the fireside, a nearby murder disrupting their cozy evening. I enjoyed the Vicar mentioning his favorite crime authors: "...Edgar Wallace...J.S. Fletcher...Farjean...Dorothy L. Sayers...Freeman Wills Crofts. And my old friend, my very dear old friend, Mrs. Agatha Christie." The you
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
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
Abigail Bok
Mar 03, 2021 rated it liked it
This was John Bude’s first mystery but the second one I have read (the two had no characters in common). So far in my exploration of this author, I can see some characteristic strengths and weaknesses.

First the strengths: Bude is good at evoking specific places, and all his books I am aware of have different settings. He also tends to have interesting characters who feel like real people—at least the male characters; women in his stories seem a bit more like types. In the case of this book, the
May 13, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this murder mystery from another age and appreciated the featured characters of the vicar and the doctor who regularly met to discuss crime books testing their abilities of detection. Sure enough one of those evening chats results in being called to the scene of a murder and there will be extensive interviews conducted to discover the truth as the police allow the two men to participate in their investigation.
My first exposure to John Bude (Ernest Carpenter Elmore) and I may try anothe
Cathy Ryan
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reverend Dodd, vicar of St Michael’s-on-the-Cliff, enjoys his Monday evening dinner engagements with Doctor Pendrill. Boscawen is a small isolated fishing village on the Cornish coast and both the vicar and the doctor look forward to their weekly meetings. Over an after dinner coffee they open the crate of library books each takes a turn in choosing, most commonly crime stories which they’re both addicted to, and are discussed in detail. Reverend Dodds has become quite good at solving mysteries ...more
Jul 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I really loved the opening of this story. A dark and stormy night, in a village on the Cornish coast, the Vicar and the Dr discuss Murder Mystery books (their shared guilty pleasure). The phone rings, and low and behold, their own murder mystery to solve.
Sadly the book doesn't quite live up to the opening, but it is entertaining.
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. ...more
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2015
Slow and pedestrian, and commits the cardinal whodunnit sin of introducing a character almost from scratch in the last couple of chapters as the culprit
Glenda Powell
May 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Very, very slow pace. Lost complete interest in the characters.
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
Susan in NC
3.5 stars - my second Bude golden age murder mystery in as many months, read with the Reading the Detectives group, and I enjoyed them both. He builds challenging, knotty puzzles, populates them with relatable characters, and evokes his chosen setting well.

Here, a young lady returns to her Cornish coastal home after a walk on a stormy evening and finds her uncle shot dead. Bullet holes in the windows indicate there were three shots, and the curtains were open, which allowed the killer to see the
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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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When author TJ Klune was growing up, he never saw queer characters in books in a way that felt true to his experience.  “They were the...
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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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