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Surfeit of Suspects

(Chief Inspector Littlejohn #41)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  197 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Following a mysterious explosion, the offices of Excelsior Joinery Company are no more; the 3 directors are killed and the peace of a quiet town in Surrey lies in ruins. When the supposed cause of ignited gas leak is dismissed and the presence of dynamite revealed, Superintendent Littlejohn of Scotland Yard is summoned to the scene.

But beneath the sleepy veneer of Evingden
Paperback, British Library Crime Classics, 288 pages
Published April 10th 2019 by The British Library (first published 1964)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, crime
Big bang...

A huge explosion destroys the offices of the Excelsior Joinery Company, and kills three directors of the company who were there having a meeting at the time. When it turns out that the cause of the explosion was dynamite, the local police call in Scotland Yard to investigate. Enter Inspector Littlejohn...

It soon becomes apparent that the Excelsior was in deep financial trouble and bankruptcy was waiting impatiently in the wings. Could the crime have been an elaborate insurance job? As
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an entertaining and enjoyable read. (Almost all of Littlejohn ones are!!) I felt the story was a tad dragged when it came to banking and fraud and all. It was good to see Cromwell, who is now an Inspector, do some excellent sleuthing. The ending was slightly different from the way I expected it to be but that's okay. I recommend this book to all crime and mystery lovers, and especially to those who are Littlejohn fans!
Jan 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-classic
I loved Bellairs' writing style. It is breezy and light with lots of dry humor. His characterizations are concise and complete; I felt I knew even the most minor players. Good plot as Bellairs uses his banking background.
Janet Emson
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books, reviewed
There has been an explosion in a joinery factory and Inspector Littlejohn and his colleague Cromwell find themselves overrun with suspects.

All of the suspects are not particularly likeable and all have possible motives for blowing up the factory, and killing three people in the process. There’s the wronged husband, the pugnacious father-in-law and the disgruntled business associate. The trouble is not finding out who had a motive, but narrowing down those that did.

This was the first Inspector
Vic Lauterbach
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another carefully written police procedural that delivers the goods. In the 41st Littlejohn book, our protagonist is a now a Detective Superintendent. He remains as calm, dogged and unflappable as ever. Bellairs hadn't lost his touch after twenty plus years of writing these stories. Although the 'present day' setting is now London in 1965, the passage of time is barely perceptible compared with books #4 and #5 that I just read. A couple Teddy Boys references instead of war references are ...more
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the later Inspector Littlejohn investigations, dating from 1964.

Generally, I find these later works are not as strong as those from the '40s and '50s and this proved to be no exception. Often, too, the novels set solely in England, as this is, with no forays to France or the Isle of Man, are less interesting.

Bellairs here is in familiar territory with the plot encompassing corruption in local government, shady business practices, and a dodgy bank manager.

The book starts with a
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Too many suspects emerge when an explosion rocks a new town. Is it love, money or jealousy that gives motives to a number of people who may or may not be involved in the death of three men, all directors of the Excelsior Joinery Company. In this 1964 novel reprinted by the British Library in their Crime Classics series, George Bellairs (in real life a bank manager called Harold Blundell) brings back his detective Thomas Littlejohn. Sent from Scotland Yard with his trusty sidekick Inspector ...more
Jan 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Rating between 3 & 3.5

A new author for me despite having seen his name in articles, reviews and of course the publishing schedule for the British Library series. Possibly a bit late in the day to be starting a series at book number 41 but availability must I suppose.

This book was a very easy read, quite entertaining and well written. The author set up the plot very well I thought, and all of the characters and localities were well drawn. Despite it being set in the year of publication (1964
Linda Brue
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, owned
SURFEIT OF SUSPECTS, George Bellairs, 2019
One of the British Library of Crime Classics, this originally was published in 1964. It starts with an introduction by Martin Edwards. The story itself starts with a literal BANG! as the offices of a Joinery company are blown sky-high, killing 3 of the directors of the company in the process. The directors were having a secret meeting, and the original thought that the explosion was caused by a gas leak is quickly proved wrong when dynamite is found and
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Another gentle detective story featuring Littlejohn. Set closer to London this time, it's interesting to see the impact of a growing population on local politics and people. I didn't enjoy the backdrop or supporting characters as much in this installment, but will continue to turn to Bellairs whenever I need a break from more recent books.
Shay Lynn
Not One of My Favorite Bellairs

Not bad but with rather more details about accounting trickery than makes for a good murder mystery. Every Inspector Littlejohn story is worth reading but I found myself skimming through a lot of paragraphs. The Inspector is always at his best on the Isle of Man.
Kat Walter
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
British crime classic. Starts with a explosion...and the deeper C.I. Littlejohn investigates, he finds more suspects than he knows what to do with. Unlike the closed room mystery, the suspects here could be nearly anyone in town.
Steven Heywood
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Briskly written, with a sly underlying humour particularly in the brief pen sketches of some of the characters. The plot is almost secondary to the description of an old world fading and a brash new one taking its place.
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Definitely a Crime Classic, it was a good read with lots of twists and turns in the plot. The characters were interesting and complex enough that it kept you guessing on their motives and actual outcomes. I have put this author on my wish list and will try to find more of his books.
Mr A M Kubara
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent story teller. Real life plot

Excellent story. Littleton is a real bonus to all his stories. Plenty more to go. So better get cracking now
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: detectives
Financial fraud is dull.
Richard Brand
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice well crafted mystery with lots of different kinds of people.
Ms L S Knowling
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A well written detective story remembering what England was like in the fifties, nostalgic and interesting. I will read more of his books.
Michael Sparrow
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've read several of Bellairs' and this later (1964) whodunit is one of the best. Clever, suspenseful and to the point.
Cindy Ladensack
Enjoyable read, although a bit slow-going figuring out what all the mid century British banking and industry terms meant!
Suzie Grogan
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another charming Bellairs but not his best. There is never, really a surfeit of suspects!
Brian Williams
The violent death of three men in a factory explosion has Scotland Yard detectives Littlejohn and Cromwell investigating a multiple murder. Initial suspicion is that it was an insurance scam gone wrong but the detectives uncover a sophisticated land development fraud scheme and corrupt politicians. The storyline is on the mundane side, but the characterization is superb. In particular, Alderman Vintner, a corrupt politician, and his histrionic daughter are standouts.
It's a light read and
Shelby Scott
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Too Many Suspects

If you love British Mystery books then I think you should read this. When three men at a director's meeting are killed with dynamite and there are too many that have no reason for hurting any one it's up to Inspector Littlejohn to find the answer.
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
For my full review click on the link below:
Anne Wilmot
rated it it was amazing
Sep 01, 2019
Janet Bridgewater
rated it it was amazing
Oct 20, 2019
John Barnet
rated it did not like it
Sep 15, 2019
rated it really liked it
Jul 11, 2019
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Goodreads Librari...: combine editions 3 9 Apr 27, 2019 08:48AM  

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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.

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)
  • Death of a Busybody (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #3)
  • 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 #9)
  • The Case of the Scared Rabbits (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #10)