Book Review: The Cheltenham Square Murder by John Bude


The Cheltenham Square Murder by John Bude
My rating: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ(4 stars)
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

This is the first story I've read with Inspector Meredith and I'm completely out of order in his series. This is book three but I've come to it as part of The British Library Crime Classics (which I'm working my way through & recommend). It's written in such a way that reading the first two books don't seem necessary.



The insane odds of having a murder by arrow shot, in a residential square overflowing with archery enthusiasts (six in all!), was a bit much but it did play out well. Which home is facing the right way? Who was at home or out and about? What was the motive? So many suspects and red herrings and the story still kept a steady pace. It's no tense page-turner as the procedural aspect comes into play but I would say it was more than a serviceable case. The killer carries out two murders before all is said and done and it made for a bit more tension as Meredith and his accompanying officers puzzle over the whole over several weeks.

This reminded me a bit of the short story, A Bit of Wire Pulling by E.C.R. Lorac (featured in The Christmas Card Crime and Other Stories by Martin Edwards) in tone and Meredith reminded me of Inspector Lang. I don't know if there are any other Inspector Meredith books in TBLCC but I wouldn't mind coming across him again. Recommended.

Favourite quotes:

“Now then, lads, I want you to think carefully. Don’t answer unless you’re quite sure of your facts. I don’t want any second-hand rumours, see? The point is this—the police have an idea that a member of the club may have slipped off the course during a round of golf and used that as his alibi. Know what an alibi is, eh?” “O’ course,” said a lean, hatchet-faced man.
“It’s when a bloke swears ’e’s in a place when ’e isn’t.” Meredith grinned.


and


Which only goes to show,” said Long in his slow, lugubrious voice, “that things more often than not are not what they appear to be, and what they appear to be, more often than not, they’re not!”



Summary: In the seeming tranquility of Regency Square in Cheltenham live the diverse inhabitants of its ten houses. One summer's evening, the square's rivalries and allegiances are disrupted by a sudden and unusual death - an arrow to the head, shot through an open window at no. 6.
Unfortunately for the murderer, an invitation to visit had just been sent by the crime writer Aldous Barnet, staying with his sister at no. 8, to his friend Superintendent Meredith. Three days after his arrival, Meredith finds himself investigating the shocking murder two doors down. Six of the square's inhabitants are keen members of the Wellington Archery Club, but if Meredith thought that the case was going to be easy to solve, he was wrong...



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