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The Sussex Downs Murder

(Superintendent William Meredith #2)

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3.63  ·  Rating details ·  725 ratings  ·  122 reviews
'Already it looked as if the police were up against a carefully planned and cleverly executed murder, and, what was more, a murder without a corpse!'

Two brothers, John and William Rother, live together at Chalklands Farm in the beautiful Sussex Downs. Their peaceful rural life is shattered when John Rother disappears and his abandoned car is found. Has he been kidnapped?
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Paperback, British Crime Classics, 242 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by Poison Pen Press (first published 1936)
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3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  725 ratings  ·  122 reviews


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Ivonne Rovira
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Golden Age cozy lovers
Recommended to Ivonne by: NetGalley
John Bude’s William Meredith returns in The Sussex Downs Murders. Having been promoted to superintendent on the final page of the debut novel, The Lake District Murder, Meredith tackles a tougher murder than the last.

Brothers John and William Rother mark the third generation at the Sussex farm known as the Chalklands. John Rother, the elder and more grating of the pair, heads off for a short vacation, leaving his younger brother William and William’s young bride behind; less than 16 hours later
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Diane
Feb 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
John Rother, his younger brother William, and William's wife Janet live at Chalklands, a farm house on the Sussex Downs. The family's fortunes have waned over the years. Originally, the Rothers owned Dyke House and were buried in a vault at Washington Church. However, now they live at Chalklands and are interred in the churchyard like everyone else. They make their living farming and producing lime in the three lime kilns behind the farm house.

Relations between the two brothers are not always h
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Judy Lesley
This novel was one of those relaxing reading experiences which I most often get when I can pick up one of the books I refer to as a classic. The landscape around the Sussex village of Washington becomes an integrated part of the entire story, not just a place where a body was found. John Bude created the character of Superintendent Meredith to be a man who was so entirely human and normal that readers can relate to him immediately. The people of the village of Washington and other small villages ...more
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This is a classic English detective story (first published in 1930) which will appeal to those who enjoy methodically spotting and solving clues, whilst avoiding red herrings. It’s also a book to be enjoyed for its setting in the Sussex Downs of Southern England; where the action takes place roughly between Amberley, Steyning, Storrington, Shoreham, Angmering and Littlehampton. The description of place, vitally important to true countrymen is handled confidently and convincingly.

Not all changes
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Andréa
I enjoyed this classic British mystery, even though I had an inkling of the crime's solution for most of the book. There were some interesting twists and turns, and I appreciated the thorough exploration of every line of inquiry. I was a bit disappointed with the treatment of female characters, though I imagine much of that can be chalked up to the time period in which it was written. Still, it's surprising for a main character's spouse to go unnamed for the duration of a novel, especially when ...more
Francis
Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it
A fairly typical classical British mystery novel meaning the characters are a bit stereotypical, the dialogue a bit Pollyannish and there will be a puzzle and that puzzle will be complex. But, it's a good puzzle and a fast and enjoyable read. So, find yourself a comfortable chair and relax and let yourself drift back to a simpler time and hopefully you will be able to enjoy the couple of hours you get to spend there.
Gerry
Jun 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Superintendent Meredith investigates a mysterious affair set in Sussex in which two brothers get involved in intrigue that ends with death on the Sussex Downs.

John and William Rother live together at Chalkdown Farm along with William's wife Janet. Their peaceful life is shattered when John disappears and his car is discovered abandoned on the Downs with blood on the seats and also on his nearby thrown-aside flat cap. Superintendent Meredith, who had, shortly before the disappearance, been transf
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Tracey
Apr 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Although the story does dance around on one spot this seems justifiable in the way the crimes (and clues) unfold. This is probably a better image of real police investigation that a linear plot.

The stereotyping of one character (sign of the times?) became rather irritating, the son is utterly unbelievable, and don't let's mention the local accents...! These things really spoilt this book for me. And I'm not a fan of the detailed explanation at the end of detective stories, I always feel they mak
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Betty
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books
Set in Sussex Downs in the 1930 and being released as a Classic British mystery. Fragments of human bones begain appearing in lime deposits. As the police investigates the story keeps changing holding the reader's attention. I found it hard to put down even though I was sure I knew the answer.
Disclosure: I received a free copy from Poisoned Pen Press through Netgalley for an honest review. I would to thank them for the opportunity to read and review this book. The opinions are my own.
Nira Ramachandran
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The best yet of the Inspector Meredith mysteries, though I have to confess that this is only the third one for me. A complex puzzle, which starts as a simple case of a missing man, turns into suspected murder, and grows more and more convoluted with every page. John Rother and his brother William are the joint owners of Chalkland’s Farm and flourishing lime industry. Distinct both in looks and nature, the brothers are always at loggerheads, the latest bone of contention being William’s pretty yo ...more
Mike Sumner
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A real delight from the golden age of crime fiction. First published in 1936 and republished in 2014 as a British Library Crime Classic. John Bude was the pseudonym of Ernest Gilmore (1901-1957) who was a co-founder of the Crime Writers' Association. The wonderful art deco cover was enough to make me pick the book up in Waterstones.

The setting is pretty much my own locale - the Sussex Downs, featuring Bramber, Steyning, Washington, Findon, Cissbury Ring, Chanctonbury Ring and the police headquar
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Toast
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
My old stooping ground so I had to love it and I did. I do love these British Library Crime Classics too like tea and crumpets with hot melting butter - yummy. They make you use the old grey matter which I do so rarely and this tale had me beat. And, I love the way it could never have been the lady's fault and she got way scott free. Those olden days - don't you just love 'em.
Toast
Katrina
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another good read from British Library Crime Classics

https://piningforthewest.co.uk/2017/1...
Chris
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The British Library Crime Classics have been a growing force in bringing back Golden Age mysteries, with their release of Mystery in White rocketing up the sales charts and becoming a runaway Christmas hit. The British Library volumes—now published by Poisoned Pen Press in the US—come with beautiful retro cover art, feature introductions by Martin Edwards, and bring historical mysteries and underrated authors from the 1930s back into print. Ernest Elmore was one such author, who penned thirty my ...more
Ruth
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime-historical
c1936: FWFTB: disappears, farmland, lime, kiln, brothers. Seeing as this is set in my local area, it was a dead cert that I was going to find this an interesting book and it was wonderful to read about the small villages before the build up of homes and major roads. Of course, the plot can't be considered as particularly original but Mr Bude certainly managed to imbue the novel with a really good sense of place. I may have nicked that particular phrase from the foward written by Martin Edwards. ...more
Andrew
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: liking a crime thriller with a sense of georaphical location
This is a re-launch of a book originally published in the 1930s. Right from the introduction I was drawn into this book. It is a real whodunnit, set within a very real geographical setting. I like the fact that there is a map to help put the places into context.

The questions come thick and fast. Why has John Rother disappeared? Why has his car used so much petrol? How did the bones get in to the lime bags? Very soon Inspector Meredith seems to think that William Rother may be involved. Certainl
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Damaskcat
Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very well plotted and well written murder mystery from the nineteen thirties. It features Superintendent Meredith who was also in The Lake District Murder. John Rother - a farmer and manufacturer/processor of lime for building, disappears when he is supposedly on his way for a holiday in Harlech.

A few days later his car is found abandoned and blood stained on the Downs but where is the body? Naturally his nearest and dearest come under suspicion especially as the village in which they
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Tweedledum
A pleasure to read from sort to finish full of local detail some of which is long gone such as the slow local accents and the way of life. A page turner of a story, which, although as a frequent reader of crime fiction I was able to guess the explanation ahead of Meredith, was very cleverly plotted and written. So much incidental detail of things which may have been commonplace when the book was written now only add to the historical interest of the story. Great cameos of some incidental charact ...more
Susan
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-england
The two Rother brothers live at their family farm, along with the younger brother's wife Janet. There are rumors that she and her brother-in-law John are a bit too friendly, so when John's car is found, an obvious crime scene, William becomes the main suspect even before remnants of bone are found, burned in the family lime kilns. Then a mysterious stranger is seen in the area, sending police on a long, fruitless chase. Too much information now would constitute a spoiler. I'm sure the original r ...more
James Ware
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another great yarn from the British Library Crime Classics. Theses books take the reader back to when crime was not sexed-up and over-the-top shocking. The whole demeanor of the story, be it the setting, characters and way of life makes for an enjoyable read and you can really get a good rapport with our sleuth. Highly recommend this for someone who wants a gentle who dun-nit.
John
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really, really enjoyed this book. A police procedural par excellence. Very much in the Freeman Wills Crofts style of the tenacious detective plugging away at the case. Well reviewed here by others.

Well done The British Library for resurrecting John Bude and others in this series. Hopefully they will publish some more of Bude's quite prolific output.

Brilliant stuff! Highly recommended.
Louise Culmer
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
A moderately entertaining detective story. the detective, superintendant meredith, is qutie a pleasant character, but the mystery is rather easy to figure out, it is obvious well before the end what has happened. And the characters of the suspects are not very well done, you don't really get to know them very well.
Clare Holman-Hobbs
Unfortunately very dated and I guessed the ending. I only bought it because it's set near where I live but for me this wasn't enough to carry the story.
Mike
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: wont-read-again
A line, written, I think, in total innocence and for no other reason than to set the scene, 'Clark was standing by the petrol pumps, having a smoke, when the police car drew up.' (P170). Oh to have been alive in the 1930s, you have to laugh. That aside I found this hard work and from half way started skipping pages just to find out who done it. Fortunately I then discovered that the last chapter is where the Inspector explains the whole thing from start to end (to a crime writer) so by skipping ...more
Jeff Lewis
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Superintendant Meredith returns for a second outing transfering the action from the Lake District to Worthing. Like his first book Bude offers a straight-forward crime investigation by police rather than many of his contemparies who plum for the amateur. It's quite possible that move saw Bude disappear in to obscurity only to be found by a new audience thanks to British Library Mystery Classics. In the case Meredith finds a blood stained car but no body. Over a number of months he leads the read ...more
Jay Maxfield
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classic-crime
Very enjoyable classical crime that will be pleasurable reading for most cosy crime readers. Lots of twists and turns, some humour and written in a style that is easy to read. Both this novel and The Cornish Coast Murder are my favourite Bude books that have been reproduced by the British Library Crime Classics series (5 in total). I only hope that Bude wrote other interesting books and if so that this series gets a move on in reissuing them along with more Miles Burton titles. Keep up the good ...more
Martina
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
The second book in John Bude's Superintendent Meredith series. Murders, lime kilns, disappearing characters, and much more.
This was a wonderful read! You know you know what the truth is, and then you know you don't, and then you know you do, and then.... the end was still a surprise! It was Golden Age or classic British mysteries that won me over in my early 20s and it's such a pleasure to find these 'not available to me back then' mysteries decades later. I think it's the true puzzle aspect of
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Ben Hutchins
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Inspector Meredith triumphs again - but only after battling through a case that sees not one, but two bodies. Brilliantly written, relocating Meredith to the Sussex Downs of the title, I thoroughly enjoyed the developments within this book. Bude's customary dialogue is there - accents for some of the inhabitants really help to anchor the narrative in "the chalk".

If you enjoy the British Crime classics, then I heartily recommend this one to you.
Gina
Sep 19, 2017 rated it liked it
A possible love triangle between two brothers is the base for this classic murder mystery. It is set in the beautiful rural setting of Sussex, England. Superintendent Meredith is assigned to investigate and he is baffled by the disappearance and possible murder of one of the brothers. He must discover if and how the murder was accomplished and who was the culprit. The author was a prolific writer of mysteries during the golden age of British mysteries.
Mary
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
3.5 stars. I enjoyed the mystery and that the plot revolves around finding actual evidence. So many mysteries hinge on conjecture. I figured out what was happening long before the detective and thought his continuing obtuseness was a bit contrived toward the end. And the wrap up was rather rushed compared to the pacing of the rest of the book. But I was ready for it to wrap up too at that point so it’s just as well. Overall I enjoyed reading the book!
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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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Other books in the series

Superintendent William Meredith (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Lake District Murder (Superintendent Meredith, #1)
  • The Cheltenham Square Murder
  • Death on the Riviera (Superintendent Meredith, #16)
  • Death in Ambush
  • Trouble A-Brewing
  • Dangerous Sunlight
  • Death Steals the Show
  • When the Case Was Opened
  • Death Makes a Prophet (Superintendent William Meredith #11)
  • Twice Dead
“The parish clock chimed the quarter past six, and Pyke-Jones, the eminent Worthing entomologist, threw himself with a sigh of content into an arm-chair at the vegetarian guest-house known as the Lilac Rabbit. Pyke-Jones” 0 likes
“She was a solemn child and had high hopes of carrying off the first prize in the “Wild Nosegay” section at the annual flower show” 0 likes
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