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The Cornish Coast Murder (Inspector Bigswell)
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Book Club Selection > Spolier Discussion (August 2014) - The Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude

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message 1: by David (last edited Jul 31, 2014 12:25PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

David Gooch | 3992 comments Mod
******* THIS THREAD MAY GIVE INFORMATION AWAY IF YOU HAVEN'T READ OR FINISHED THE BOOK ******

This is a spoiler thread for the August Value Book Group Read
The Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude

Post in here if you wish to comment on the book and discuss details that may spoil or give away important or pertinent details for those who haven't read or finished the book yet.


David Gooch | 3992 comments Mod
Wasn't sure this was a spoiler but thought best put in here.

I'm a third through and so far it's a nice easy pace and it has been set up nicely to look as though the niece's boyfriend Hardy has done the deed as he has a revolver and argued with the deceased not long before he was shot. It has left it open to be the niece as an option as well but is it all that easy?


AngryGreyCat (angrygreycatreads) | 556 comments I am finished and I really enjoyed this. I loved the development of the character of the vicar and his thought process in trying to solve the crime. I liked the build up of the relationship between him and the inspector. I spent time in Cornwall as a child and I loved the setting and felt that it was well done. The red herring implicating Hardy and/or Ruth was convincing, even though as reader we knew it was too easy, the author still took the time to lay out the evidence against them.
Once the vicar worked out that the shot was from sea I was convinced of the villain simply because we had not met the other fisherman, but then I thought that since it was a small village in Cornwall probably just about anyone could handle a boat.
It was very interesting to read a period book actually written in that period instead of a modern author looking back to write a historical mystery.
Hardy's story line of leaving and not being aware he was "wanted" I have seen in other more modern books and films and it makes me wonder if he was the originator of that idea...much like Christie and the isolated country house setting.
Anyway I will definitely keep my eye out for more of these classics. They make a nice change of pace to reading thrillers. Incidentally, although this was not a "thriller" it was a page turner for me, I was thoroughly engrossed in the story.


message 4: by Bill (last edited Aug 10, 2014 01:58PM) (new)

Bill Kupersmith | 564 comments Mod
On finding the vicar (BTW “the Reverend Dodd” is not quite the proper way to refer to a CofE clergyman) was a mystery story buff, my appetite was whetted & I was hoping to see him discover that he was now a character in a mystery story himself, what’s called ‘reflexivity’ by lit-crit types. But I should have expected Bude to offer nothing of the sort - not because authors then then didn’t know how to write sophisticated fiction (this is the era of Woolf & Joyce!) but because such refinements were believed wasted on mystery-story readers, who were thought to be looking only for something quick to while away their time on the train. (Ah, the affinity of railway station bookstalls & those old green & white Penguins!) All the vicar gets out of his chance to be a story-book detective is a decision to read no more mystery stories, tho’ I wasn’t sure why. Maybe he’ll take up writing poetry, like R. S. Thomas.

Being used to contemporary mystery stories in which we have the illusion of real people with real relationships, I kept wondering whether the vicar was high or low church, whether his unmarried status betokened an attraction (one hopes chaste) towards his choir boys, how John & Mary’s marriage will work out, & whether the unfortunate villain the vicar unmasks will hang. (In 1935 yes indeed tho’ for sympathetic murderers authors would endow them with a ‘bad ticker’ so they could succumb to a heart attack before encountering Mr. Pierrepoint.) One might compare Ruth’s account of John’s - rather mild - case of ‘shell shock’ with Charles Todd’s Rutledge, tho’ truth to tell I found Hamish such a total bore I skipped rereading Test of Wills. In short we expect characters so ‘flat’ (in E. M. Forster’s terms) they’re scarcely 1 mm thick, & that's what we get here.

We had the question whether these old detective stories ought to be in print now. With e-books, there is no reason every book still extant cannot be ‘e-published’ & available. Are they still worth reading? That’s rather like asking if I’d enjoy driving an Austin 7. If you mean for a couple of hours in summertime on a country road, sure. If you mean on the motorway in the fast lane in every sort of weather, Hello, no tx. These days I need 4X4, ABS, airbags, & the whole 9 yds! As one hits my age, life does indeed speed by in the fast lane & I try to read for more spiritual value because I may be running out of road fast.


message 5: by David (last edited Aug 11, 2014 12:14PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

David Gooch | 3992 comments Mod
Bill said "We had the question whether these old detective stories ought to be in print now. With e-books, there is no reason every book still extant cannot be ‘e-published’ & available. Are they still worth reading? That’s rather like asking if I’d enjoy driving an Austin 7. If you mean for a couple of hours in summertime on a country road, sure. If you mean on the motorway in the fast lane in every sort of weather, Hello, no tx. These days I need 4X4, ABS, airbags, & the whole 9 yds! As one hits my age, life does indeed speed by in the fast lane & I try to read for more spiritual value because I may be running out of road fast."

Well put Bill.

Ultimately these old books have their moment to while away a few spare hours if you perhaps have nothing else better to read but would they really be first choice now?
I must admit if this wasn't a group read I may well have bypassed this and it never seen the light of day in my book list. That perhaps would have been a shame as while it does have it's limits you have to put it into the time it was written. If you allow for that then it is a pleasant enough read and not the most taxing to work out.


message 6: by Judith (new)

Judith | 560 comments I haven't read the book yet, but I am a devotee of vintage murder mysteries, I have a collection of them, very musty to be sure but I do read them now and then. I do feel they have a place in any mystery readers life, a kind of antidote to the more lurid books we get and also enjoy.


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