Bleeding Hooks by Harriet Rutland (1933)

The Fisherman’s Rest hotel lies in Aberllyn, a Welsh fishing village and is filled with ardent fishermen, and fisherwomen. One such individual is the plump, wealthy and rather vulgar Mrs. Ruby Mumsby. While she goes out for the fishing every day, the popular opinion is that she is more interested in landing a new husband than adding to her tally of fish. When Mrs. Mumsby is discovered dead on the river bank, with a barbed fishing hook stuck through her hand, the assumption is that she died from a heart attack due to the shock of the injury. One of the fisherman on hand is not at all convinced. Mr Winkley accomplished fisherman spending his holiday at the Fisherman’s Rest, and Scotland Yard’s puzzle man. Winkley suspects foul play from the first and is soon joined in his investigations by Pansy Partridge and Vyvyan Gunn (know as Pansy and Piggy), two bored young people who are staying at the hotel, and have suspicions of their own. 

This is the second of only three books written by Harriet Rutland, and the second that I’ve read. The first Knock Murderer, Knock was published in 1938, and her final book Blue Murder in 1942. While Knock Murderer, Knock was very good (my review can be read here), I think that I much prefer Bleeding Hooks.

Rutland has created a clever plot filled with eccentric characters, several pretty neat twists and an ending that is something of a surprise, even for Mr. Winklely. The pacing, which I found to be an issue in Knock, Murder, Knock, is very good, and the story never stutters or bogs down. 

The characters are a diverse lot and provide a large cast of potential murderers. We have Major Jeans, a master at making fish flies, one of which could have lead to Mrs. Mumsby’s death; Sir General Courtney Haddox and his sister Ethel, who were very near the site where Mrs. Mumsby died; John Jones, Mrs. Mumsby’s ghillie who put up with a lot from her just to  keep his job; Pussy’s mother, Mrs. Partridge, who’s whereabouts at the time of death are questionable; Mr. and Mrs. Pindar, a young couple with something to hide; and Mr. Weston and his young son, Claude, who’s relationship with Mrs. Mumsby is rather odd.

Like just about everyone else I could have done without the cutesy and rather cloying nicknames of Pussy and Piggy that Rutland gave to Winkley’s partners in sleuthing. Otherwise I found this to be a book where all aspects (including the pieces of information about fly fishing) come together to create a really enjoyable mystery, and read.

My Judgment – 4/5

Previous Judgments – TomCat @ Beneath the Stains of TimeKate @ Cross Examining CrimeJohn Norris @ Pretty Sinister Books

Vintage Mystery Extravaganza – Vintage Mystery Challenge 2016: Scavenger Hunt – Fishing gear

Calendar of Crime Reading Challenge – October #3: Primary action takes place in this month

7 thoughts on “Bleeding Hooks by Harriet Rutland (1933)

    1. No problem! Your reviews are always so well done, it’s a pleasure to mention them. I’ll be reading Blue Murder. So sorry it’s the last Rutland out there!

  1. TomCat

    I just noticed your blog has been missing from my blog-roll of insightful informants. I’ll rectify that oversight and glad you liked this one. Bleeding Hooks is one of the brightest gems Dean Street has rediscovered.

    1. Thanks! I love your reviews and get many of the books I read from your recommendations. Rutland’s books are a joy to read and I wish she had written more.

  2. Christophe

    Huh. You and I have the opposite preference ordering of Bleeding Hooks vs. Knock Murderer Knock. I still have to read Blue Murder, which seems the consensus favorite.

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