Death Walks in Eastrepps by Francis Beeding (1931)

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Eastrepps has always been a peaceful seaside town, where the worse crime Inspector Protheroe has to deal with is a baffling case of poaching. That is, until the night Miss Mary Hewitt is violently murdered while walking home alone. Suddenly Protheroe is dealing with a case that is beyond his capabilities and Scotland Yard is called in. But before they even arrive a second murder occurs, in the exact same way as the first. Even with the arrival of Chief-Detective Inspector Wilkins, the body count rises, and the police are unable to stop the serial killer now known as the Eastrepps Evil.

I found my 1980 Dover edition several weeks ago in a second hand shop. Having never before heard of Francis Beeding (a pseudonym for a pair of writers, John Leslie Palmer and Hilary Aidan St. George Saunders) I was a little leery, but bought it anyway. I’m so glad I did. There’s so much to love about this book. The writing is strong, with a well developed plot and an atmosphere of terror that builds with each murder.

Beeding created some very interesting characters and thereby gives us a number of suspects, all of whom had opportunity. Robert Eldridge, a swindler having an illicit affair with the married Margaret Withers, who just happens to arrive in Eastrepps every time a murder has been committed. Dick Coldfoot, Margaret’s cousin, he know about the affair and is blackmailing Eldridge. Alistair Rockingham, a young man with certain compulsions. And newspaperman William Ferris, vacationing in Eastrepps, and in need of a story. All of those suspects add up to a great deal of misdirection, resulting in an unexpected twist that most readers will not see coming.

This is thoroughly enjoyable, highly readable and highly recommended read.

My Judgment – 4.25/5

Prior Rulings – Kate @ Cross Examining Crime, The Puzzle Doctor @ In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, Rich @ Past Offences, Martin @ Do You Write Under Your Own Name

Vintage Mystery Extravaganza – Vintage Mystery Challenge 2018: Just the Facts, Ma’am – Why: Author new to me

Murder Mystery Bingo Reading Challenge – Red Herrings: Barking dog, Crime Scenes: Pathway or trail in the woods, Street or sidewalk, Clues and Clichés: Item in newspaper, Footprints, Fingerprints

Calendar of Crime Reading Challenge – January #2: Author’s birth month

2 thoughts on “Death Walks in Eastrepps by Francis Beeding (1931)

    1. Thanks! It is strange how Beeding turns things around and makes Eldridge into someone you’re rooting for…when you should be hissing at him as a villain.

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