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Death in White Pyjamas: & Death Knows No Calendar (British Library Crime Classics Book 76)

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Two of John Bude’s finest Golden Age mysteries return to the limelight. Death in White Pyjamas: A theatre-owner, a 'slightly sinister' producer, a burgeoning playwright and a cast of ego-driven actors have gathered at a country home to read through the promising script for Pigs in Porcelain. Before the production ever reaches the stage, one of their number is found murdere Two of John Bude’s finest Golden Age mysteries return to the limelight. Death in White Pyjamas: A theatre-owner, a 'slightly sinister' producer, a burgeoning playwright and a cast of ego-driven actors have gathered at a country home to read through the promising script for Pigs in Porcelain. Before the production ever reaches the stage, one of their number is found murdered in the grounds wearing what mysteriously seems to be somebody else's white pyjamas. Enter Inspector Harting and Sergeant Dane to unravel this curious plot. Death Knows No Calendar: Investigating a deadly shooting with no shooter in a locked artist’s studio, detective fiction enthusiast Major Tom Boddy has a long day ahead of him. With four colourful suspects to scrutinise, and not one but two 'impossible' elements of the crime to solve, this extremely rare and thoroughly entertaining mystery is long overdue its return to print.


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Two of John Bude’s finest Golden Age mysteries return to the limelight. Death in White Pyjamas: A theatre-owner, a 'slightly sinister' producer, a burgeoning playwright and a cast of ego-driven actors have gathered at a country home to read through the promising script for Pigs in Porcelain. Before the production ever reaches the stage, one of their number is found murdere Two of John Bude’s finest Golden Age mysteries return to the limelight. Death in White Pyjamas: A theatre-owner, a 'slightly sinister' producer, a burgeoning playwright and a cast of ego-driven actors have gathered at a country home to read through the promising script for Pigs in Porcelain. Before the production ever reaches the stage, one of their number is found murdered in the grounds wearing what mysteriously seems to be somebody else's white pyjamas. Enter Inspector Harting and Sergeant Dane to unravel this curious plot. Death Knows No Calendar: Investigating a deadly shooting with no shooter in a locked artist’s studio, detective fiction enthusiast Major Tom Boddy has a long day ahead of him. With four colourful suspects to scrutinise, and not one but two 'impossible' elements of the crime to solve, this extremely rare and thoroughly entertaining mystery is long overdue its return to print.

30 review for Death in White Pyjamas: & Death Knows No Calendar (British Library Crime Classics Book 76)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anissa

    It's another offering from the British Library Crime Classics reissues and there are two novellas in this volume. I have read others by John Bude and this has not supplanted Death on the Riviera or Death Makes a Prophet as my favourites of his. Death In White Pyjamas in which a woman is found dead in a lake wearing white pyjamas at a country house hosting an acting troupe for which she was the set director, had a quite promising beginning. I did figure out who would be the killer before i It's another offering from the British Library Crime Classics reissues and there are two novellas in this volume. I have read others by John Bude and this has not supplanted Death on the Riviera or Death Makes a Prophet as my favourites of his. Death In White Pyjamas in which a woman is found dead in a lake wearing white pyjamas at a country house hosting an acting troupe for which she was the set director, had a quite promising beginning. I did figure out who would be the killer before it happened and the story working out that puzzle after it happened was a bit overlong. I liked the characterizations and that the writing skewered them, helped when they were insufferable. There were also some witty lines here and I even laughed out loud. I think this may be the better of the two stories. Favourite quotes: The most important thing to know about this story: Old Knolle was slowly being transformed from a holiday camp into a home for nervous wrecks. What made me laugh: Angela was too good-natured to believe that anybody could hate her, and Deirdre was too clever to let her realize that she was wrong. He had never felt so masterful, so generous and protective as he took Angela in his arms. For once he was not showing somebody else how to kiss with conviction. He was performing simply and solely for an audience of one… himself! Oh, and Angela, of course. He was forgetting her! Never had he felt so fleet of foot, so light in the head, such a complete and utter ass. If, in her private life, she had no scruples whatsoever, in her work she was highly conscientious. Unfortunately, that young woman appears to have collected enemies with as much energy as less perverted people collect postage stamps!” _________________ Death Knows no Calendar was fairly obvious with regard to who killed a woman found shot in her locked art studio and it meandered longer than I thought necessary to get to the point. It did have a pretty exciting back half as the investigators and the killer leave the original story location I thought the characterizations were well done in that everyone was memorable but it too much relied on exaggerated traits. One woman is said to resemble a horse and to drive it home, the verb used to describe her actions or utterances are related in equine terms. Her niece has a pronounced lisp so of course, most of her sentences are full of words with "s" (she primarily speaks to and of her Aunt Sarah and paramour Stanley). It wore very quickly. These, I think were mostly played for laughs but were lost on me. Others were somewhat similarly plagued. In both stories, Bude does what I suppose must be a bit of a hallmark of his, he does not take the story to the point where the murderer is confronted and captured. I find that while I can really enjoy everything else in the lead-up, I am disappointed in the end. I like to know that the killer who thinks they were clear, is confronted with being caught. At least in these stories, there aren't any inexplicably dropped threads (as happens in my two favourites by Bude). Here, Death in White Pyjamas gives two marriage announcements and for the life of me I couldn't figure out why for one of them. Death Knows No Calendar ends with nuptials as well and worked better as a device. On the whole, I'm glad I read this. I can't say I loved it while I was reading but every time I had to put it down, I thought about it, so that gets points from me. I can add one more to my pile of read books in the BLCC reissue series and I will of course continue on. If you are so determined to read them all or you're a Bude fan, then do read this. It's not his best but it's also not a bad book to grab during the week.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Avid Series Reader

    Death in White Pyjamas by John Bude is a Golden Age of Murder historical mystery set at an English country estate. Originally published in 1944, now part of Poisoned Press British Library Crime Classics https://poisonedpenpress.com/series/b.... Sam Richardson made a fortune as a biscuit manufacturer, then decided to promote live theatre as affordable education: "It is of course a notorious fact that intelligent theatre-goers have no money and moneyed theatre-goers have no intelligence." Sam purch Death in White Pyjamas by John Bude is a Golden Age of Murder historical mystery set at an English country estate. Originally published in 1944, now part of Poisoned Press British Library Crime Classics https://poisonedpenpress.com/series/b.... Sam Richardson made a fortune as a biscuit manufacturer, then decided to promote live theatre as affordable education: "It is of course a notorious fact that intelligent theatre-goers have no money and moneyed theatre-goers have no intelligence." Sam purchased the historic Beaumont Theatre, renovated it...to a point. He left the exterior and seating as-is: "A psychological aspect to consider, intelligent theatre is always associated with dilapidation and discomfort. Hard seats: alert minds, luxury: lethargy." Theatre producer Basil Barnes loves luxury: good food, good wine, faultless service. Never able to afford it, he sponges off Sam constantly. Basil purchases Fallow Cottage in Lambdon near Sam's Old Knolle country estate. He cleans up lawn and garden, adds bits and pieces of furniture, but laments "I can't get the place to look as if it has been lived in for three hundred years". Old Knolle is a grand castle built of Kentish ragstone, influenced by Balmoral. The original architect fancied a moat, but the water was used to create a lake instead (Sam keeps it stocked with trout). The estate is open to the company actors as a summer retreat. Stage designer Deirdre Lehaye is tall, dark, icy, intimidatingly confident. First time they met, "her slanting green eyes, Gioconda smile, faultless diction" commanded Basil's attention across the room : "no sooner had their glances crossed, like two alender rapiers, above the heads of the other guests". Willy Farnham is a grand old character actor whose behavior can rapidly change from mild-mannered gentleman to a bratty child throwing a tantrum. Willy loves to gamble...on anything. Actress Angela Walsh is young, naive, naturally beautiful and graceful. She's thrilled to be in the company, mentored by the older actresses, well-liked by all but Deirdre. Deirdre hates Angela because her beauty and talent come naturally. Deirdre has Angela fooled into thinking they're friends. Basil sees the malice. Rudolph Millar is actress Clara Maddison's nephew. As "Rudie" reads his newest play at Old Knolle, Basil notes Angela's rapt focus on Rudie, and determines not to produce the play. All love it, except jealous Basil. "Pigs in Porcelain reeked of success, one of those morbid pathological little pleasantries which sent audiences home thanking God they managed to preserve their own health and sanity". Angela doesn't understand Basil's reaction to the play. Basil goes into a major tirade, then poses theatrically and asks "May I kiss you?". Angela marvels "that a god from should step down from Olympus and plead with her for a kiss". Basil disregards her timid protest. "He had never felt so masterful, so generous and protective as he took Angela in his arms. For once he was not showing somebody else how to kiss with conviction. He was performing simply and solely for an audience of one...himself! Oh, and Angela , of course. He was forgetting her!" The star of the tale is Inspector Harting, called upon to investigate a murder at Old Knolle. At first he's just as bamboozled as the rest by clever staging of the crime. But he and Sergeant Dane demonstrate excellent detection skills. They brainstorm possible culprits and scenarios, track down evidence, rule out a theory but continue to brainstorm. Harting's sense of a tiny detail amiss niggles away at him...and proves to be the key.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Judy Lesley

    Neither of these stories was an unqualified success for me; in fact I didn't like the first one at all. Death in White Pajamas was much too light hearted for me. Like reading a P. G. Wodehouse classic with dead bodies; pretty much unsatisfactory because Bude didn't seem to be taking the story seriously. Death Knows No Calendar just droned on and on and on with a locked room mystery which was rendered completely unsolvable by the reader (me) because all the information wasn't given to me. I have Neither of these stories was an unqualified success for me; in fact I didn't like the first one at all. Death in White Pajamas was much too light hearted for me. Like reading a P. G. Wodehouse classic with dead bodies; pretty much unsatisfactory because Bude didn't seem to be taking the story seriously. Death Knows No Calendar just droned on and on and on with a locked room mystery which was rendered completely unsolvable by the reader (me) because all the information wasn't given to me. I have to admit to being surprised by both these stories and my reaction to them. John Bude has recently become an author I automatically read because I've had such good experiences with his works. Well, I'll be a whole lot more selective next time and that's a shame. I would prefer to rate this book as 2.5 but I rounded up to 3 stars after a lot of going back and forth. I have enjoyed stories by this author so much that I'm hoping this will be just a blip on the radar. Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for an e-galley of these two short stories.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    Double the pleasure... Every now and then the British Library produces a twofer in their Crime Classics series – two full-length novels by the same author in one volume – and these always feel like an extra special treat, especially when the author is one of the ones who has become a readers’ favourite, as John Bude apparently has. I must admit, although I’ve enjoyed the previous Bude novels I’ve read, he hadn’t become one of my personal stars, but I hoped maybe these two would raise him up to th Double the pleasure... Every now and then the British Library produces a twofer in their Crime Classics series – two full-length novels by the same author in one volume – and these always feel like an extra special treat, especially when the author is one of the ones who has become a readers’ favourite, as John Bude apparently has. I must admit, although I’ve enjoyed the previous Bude novels I’ve read, he hadn’t become one of my personal stars, but I hoped maybe these two would raise him up to that status. And they did! I loved both of these very different novels... Death in White Pyjamas 5 stars Having made his fortune in business, Sam Richardson is now enjoying his middle years by using his wealth to support a small theatre company, led by director Basil Barnes. Barnes’ artistic drive and Richardson’s knowledge of the type of thing he himself likes to see performed on stage make for a winning combination, and Richardson’s wealth allows Basil to hire a core group of established actors and actresses along with a few promising newcomers. In the winter months they perform in the London theatre Richardson has bought, and during the summer closed-season he throws open his country home to any of the regulars who need a little break or for the group to gather for early rehearsals of the next season’s plays. This summer most of the company are staying at Richardson’s house, while Basil has bought a little cottage close by and is in the process of fitting it out to his own taste. However, as in any group, there are tensions and jealousies under the surface, and murder is waiting in the wings... This is one of these mysteries where we slowly get to know all the characters and possible motives before the crime is committed, so my advice is – don’t read the blurb on the back or the introduction until after you’ve read the book! Half the fun is seeing all the convoluted threads that seem to give each of the characters reasons to want rid of one or more of the other ones, and the identity of the eventual victim is not at all clear until the murder actually happens. It almost gives two mysteries – the first, who will be killed, revealed around halfway through, and then the second, who is the killer? The characterisation is great. There are all the theatrical stereotypes – the old character actor, the beautiful young ingénue, the aspiring playwright, the predatory director, the money-minded producer – but they’re all brought beautifully to life with a lot of warmth and humour, so that they don’t feel at all stale. Once the victim is known, the whodunit is reasonably easy to guess, but the howdunit aspect is great fun, and as with the best vintage crime there are happy endings for those who deserve them and justice for those who don’t. Excellent! Death Knows No Calendar 5 stars When his old friend Lydia Arundel is found dead in her locked artist’s studio with a gun close at hand, Major Tom Boddy finds he can’t believe that she was the type of woman to ever contemplate suicide. So he sets out to investigate, armed only with his extensive knowledge of detective fiction and ably assisted by his batman, Syd Gammon. Although he has his suspicions from an early stage, he soon realises there are several people with the motive to do away with Lydia, a woman whom men fell in love with too easily, and who enjoyed her power over them too much. But even if he works out whodunit, he knows he’ll never be able to persuade the police that she was murdered unless he can solve the mystery of how the crime was done... There’s more than one “impossible” scenario hidden in this gem of a book, which will please fans of the locked room style of mystery. But for me the greatest joy is in Major Boddy’s character – he’s one of these traditional old colonials who is scared of nothing and assumes nothing is beyond him. When he sets his mind to a task, he sees it through. But he’s also kind-hearted and, typical of the fictional type, gives the impression of being rather baffled by human behaviour, especially of the female variety. There’s so much humour in this book – I smiled and chuckled my way through it. As well as the locked room aspect, the setting is another much-loved vintage crime staple – the small village, where everyone knows everyone else’s secrets, or think they do at least. As in Death in White Pyjamas, the identity of the killer is easier to work out than the method of the crime, and in this one the amateur detection efforts of the Major and Syd are hugely entertaining. I think I enjoyed it even more than Death in White Pyjamas. So two great books in one volume – I hereby officially declare myself a John Bude fan and now can’t wait to read more of his stuff. Doubly recommended! NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, the British Library. www.fictionfanblog.wordpress.com

  5. 5 out of 5

    Karina

    In the first story a set designer is found dead near a lake dressed in white pyjamas and of course almost everybody has a sound reason to hate her. And " everybody " means a troupe of actors,a director and a wealthy supporter. The setting,a country house,and the colourful characters are part of the charm. However when it comes to suspense it did not quite deliver the goods. It was really not difficult to guess who the culprit was. As for the second story,it was basically a locked room mystery. A In the first story a set designer is found dead near a lake dressed in white pyjamas and of course almost everybody has a sound reason to hate her. And " everybody " means a troupe of actors,a director and a wealthy supporter. The setting,a country house,and the colourful characters are part of the charm. However when it comes to suspense it did not quite deliver the goods. It was really not difficult to guess who the culprit was. As for the second story,it was basically a locked room mystery. A rather fearsome woman ,who had more than her share of enemies,is found murdered in her locked studio in the garden. Here again it was not really difficult to find the murderer. But once it was established who the miscreant was the amateur sleuth, in this case a Major Boddy,needs to find proof and this drags on and on...The solution to the murder or more precisely the "how" is impossible to guess as the reader does not get any clues. All in all,two charming stories (country house, quirky characters, English summer garden...) but not quite successful ones when it comes to mystery and suspense. John Bude has better stories to tell...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Farah Mendlesohn

    Great fun. Most notably, Bude seems remarkably free of the snobbery of most of his contemporaries.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Puzzle Doctor

    Full review of Death In White Pyjamas at classicmystery.blog

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karina

    In the first story a set designer is found dead near a lake dressed in white pyjamas and of course almost everybody has a sound reason to hate her. And " everybody " means a troupe of actors,a director and a wealthy supporter. The setting,a country house,and the colourful characters are part of the charm. However when it comes to suspense it did not quite deliver the goods. It was really not difficult to guess who the culprit was. As for the second story,it was basically a locked room mystery. A In the first story a set designer is found dead near a lake dressed in white pyjamas and of course almost everybody has a sound reason to hate her. And " everybody " means a troupe of actors,a director and a wealthy supporter. The setting,a country house,and the colourful characters are part of the charm. However when it comes to suspense it did not quite deliver the goods. It was really not difficult to guess who the culprit was. As for the second story,it was basically a locked room mystery. A rather fearsome woman ,who had more than her share of enemies,is found murdered in her locked studio in the garden. Here again it was not really difficult to find the murderer. But once it was established who the miscreant was the amateur sleuth, in this case a Major Boddy,needs to find proof and this drags on and on...The solution to the murder or more precisely the "how" is impossible to guess as the reader does not get any clues. All in all,two charming stories (country house, quirky characters, English summer garden...) but not quite successful ones when it comes to mystery and suspense. John Bude has better stories to tell...

  9. 5 out of 5

    JacquiWine

    Two highly entertaining Golden Age mysteries for the price of one here, lovingly reissued the British Library in one combined volume as part of their Crime Classics series. (My thanks to the publishers for kindly providing a review copy.) Death in White Pyjamas (1944) is one of those lovely country house mysteries where everyone is a potential suspect, and the crime itself involves several unexpected twists. There is a wonderful theatrical quality to the narrative, partly because all the leading Two highly entertaining Golden Age mysteries for the price of one here, lovingly reissued the British Library in one combined volume as part of their Crime Classics series. (My thanks to the publishers for kindly providing a review copy.) Death in White Pyjamas (1944) is one of those lovely country house mysteries where everyone is a potential suspect, and the crime itself involves several unexpected twists. There is a wonderful theatrical quality to the narrative, partly because all the leading players are connected to the Beaumont, a modest repertory theatre off London’s West End. The theatre is largely financed by Sam Richardson, a generous, amiable businessman with an interest in the cultural arts. Having made his fortune in biscuits, Sam is using his money to prop up the Beaumont, endeavouring to broaden the audience and strengthen its reputation. Leading the creative side of the venture is theatrical director, Basil Barnes, a somewhat slippery character at heart. Nevertheless, despite his rather superior manner, Basil is very good at his job, frequently coaxing excellent performances from his diverse and temperamental cast. Sam was pleasant to everybody. Basil was condescending. He always looked on actors and actresses, as he had explained to Mr. Richardson, as so much raw material, only some of it was rawer than the rest. (p. 19) The action takes place in the summer as the members of the company gather together for initial rehearsals at Old Knolle, Sam’s country retreat. Rather conveniently, Basil has just purchased a cottage nearby, which he is in the process of refurbishing with the help of Deidre Lehaye, the talented stage designer who also works at the Beaumont. Deirdre too is quite the character. Cynical, provocative and barbed, she likes nothing more than to make mischief for other people, finding and exploiting their weaknesses for her own personal gain. To read the rest of my review, please visit: https://jacquiwine.wordpress.com/2020...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Theunis Snyman

    The author has a nice way with words and it is a joy to read the book. He does not have, however, the misdirection and clueing of other detective authors. The detectives find the essential piece of evidence purely by chance and not through detection. And from the outset I knew who the murderer was. There was no other alternative. Nevertheless, an enjoyable book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    mrskelley

    Death in White Pyjamas I was so taken by this book. It may well be the most entertaining of Bude’s novels that I’ve read so far. While the murder doesn’t take place until well into the story, he keeps the reader’s attention from the outset by creating a unique group of characters, then over time, putting them in situations the set one against the other. Bude’s love of the theatre and amateur dramatics reflected in his strong characterizations and sharp choreography of scenes. Bude’s descriptions o Death in White Pyjamas I was so taken by this book. It may well be the most entertaining of Bude’s novels that I’ve read so far. While the murder doesn’t take place until well into the story, he keeps the reader’s attention from the outset by creating a unique group of characters, then over time, putting them in situations the set one against the other. Bude’s love of the theatre and amateur dramatics reflected in his strong characterizations and sharp choreography of scenes. Bude’s descriptions of the characters just are marvelous. We have a credulous biscuit millionaire and theatrical promoter, who “Like so many promoters of theatrical entertainment, knew absolutely nothing about the theatre." A producer who is a “congenital philanderer”, and who it he “put his hand in his pocket you expected him to produce a revolver. Actually he produced plays.” The old character actor who “aped a kind of Louis Quinze daintiness, which deceived people into believing him a nice mild-mannered old gentleman.” And the set designer, a woman with a “Gioconda smile”, who “as one woman was dedicated to bridge and another to squash or the singing of madrigals, intrigue was her hobby.” And you can always count on Bude to inject lots of humor into his stories, and he certainly succeeded here. Whether it’s taking mild jabs at the theater world—“It is, of course, a notorious fact that intelligent theatre-goers have no money and moneyed theatre-goers have no intelligence.” Or in his characterization of the local police Sergeant—“The sergeant never walked anywhere. He waddled. He was the Falstaffian type of Englishman, popular to a degree, who wheezes and chuckles and roars his way through life, as amiable and deceptive as a hippo.” As alluded to earlier, it's quite two-thirds into the story before the murder takes place. But Bude uses that time to good effect, building stories and tension so that when Inspector Harting and Sergeant Dane arrive on the scene there is a tangle of relationships to unpick, motives to uncover, and multiple red herrings to see through. For the habitual reader of crime fiction, it won’t really be that hard to pick out the murderer. But, do not let that deter you because the method of murder is ingenious, so figuring out the how is a totally different story. An overall enjoyable read, and one that I very much recommend. Now it’s on to part two— Death Knows No Calendar After artist Lydia Arundel is found dead in her locked studio, with a gun close at hand, an inquest brings in a determination of suicide. But Major Tom Boddy, who knew Lydia well, finds it hard to believe that a woman so vibrant would ever contemplate suicide. Plus, there were so many with a motive for killing her. The Rev. Peter Swale-Reid, who racked with the guilt over a shameful episode he had with Lydia some years before. Local farmer Stanley Hawking, whose ten-year one-sided infatuation with Lydia nearly ruined him. Until he met Honororia Preece, with whom he had blissful relationship, until Honororia saw he and Lydia together in her studio. Major Boddy knows that even if he uncovers the murderer, he’ll have a hard time persuading the police that she was murdered—unless he can solve the mystery of how someone managed to shoot Lydia from outside the studio and have the gun found near her body. Undeterred, the Major, with his vast knowledge of detective fiction and his batman Syd Gammon as his Watson, sets out on his investigation. The characters are quirky, but the comedy derived from several of them—the guilt ridden vicar, the hulking farmer, and the lisping young girl— is more of the sad clown variety. The exceptions are Major Boddy and Syd, who together make an intelligent team of amateur sleuths. They with their long history and military bearing, make a very entertaining duo. The mystery of whodunit is fairly easy to figure out, while the "locked room" solution is much more complex, with a murder method that is highly ingenious. And, as always with Bude, it is all laced with not a little comedy.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Darius Ostrowski

    A two-for-one British Library Classic Mystery reissue: “Death in White Pyjamas” and “Death Knows No Calendar”, both by John Bude, a frequent author in this series. Both of these are specific slices of mid-twentieth century English countryside life, focusing on the artists of that time period, both also featured women who seem to almost go out of their way to upset enough people that they are bound to get murdered. “Death in White Pyjamas” focuses on the theater, all of the main characters are inv A two-for-one British Library Classic Mystery reissue: “Death in White Pyjamas” and “Death Knows No Calendar”, both by John Bude, a frequent author in this series. Both of these are specific slices of mid-twentieth century English countryside life, focusing on the artists of that time period, both also featured women who seem to almost go out of their way to upset enough people that they are bound to get murdered. “Death in White Pyjamas” focuses on the theater, all of the main characters are involved with a small theater company owned by a millionaire who made his fortune in biscuits. We have the usual cast of characters – an old actor who has a secret problem, a young beautiful actress on her way up, an older actress and her playwright nephew, the cold-hearted producer who only cares about money, the set designer with secrets of her own, the servant who rules the house with an iron fist, and the generous millionaire himself. The murder takes place quite late in the story, with plenty of set-up and description of all of the characters. By the time the victim is murdered, she has managed to set just about everyone against her, and she actually revels in the misery she causes. A great (if maybe too long) set-up to a satisfying conclusion. “Death Knows No Calendar” also features a woman who plays with other people’s affections and emotions until once again the reader isn’t surprised that someone decides to end her life. This is somewhat complicated by the classic locked-room scenario – she is found dead in her painter’s studio with the gun next to her and all of the windows and doors locked from the inside. The verdict is suicide, but her good friend and neighbor Major Boddy doesn’t believe it. And he has a wide assortment of suspects: the vicar who once gave in to temptation with the victim, the simple farmer who has carried a torch for her for many years, the young fiancée of the simple farmer who sees the victim as her competition, the servant with his own secrets, the failed actor husband whom no one respects. Assisted by his batsman from the army Syd Gammon and his extensive knowledge of detective fiction, Major Boddy takes it on himself to solve the murder, and also figure out how the killer managed to get in the locked room. The ending was a bit of a stretch with a couple of surprises, but fun nevertheless. Both of these are interesting examples of the late golden age of British mysteries, with great characters and strong emphasis on story. I requested and received a free advanced electronic copy from Poisoned Pen Press via NetGalley. Thank you!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Mclaren

    Who would think that a murder mystery would be light-hearted or fun? Well, I did after reading these two classic tales that continue to entertain well into their eighth decades from John Bude. Death in White Pyjamas, written in 1944, involves a company of actors staying at the country home of Sam Richardson, a wealthy man who made his wealth in biscuits and now is working to help the theatre and its company broaden audience base and reputation. Everything seems light and gay but there is tension Who would think that a murder mystery would be light-hearted or fun? Well, I did after reading these two classic tales that continue to entertain well into their eighth decades from John Bude. Death in White Pyjamas, written in 1944, involves a company of actors staying at the country home of Sam Richardson, a wealthy man who made his wealth in biscuits and now is working to help the theatre and its company broaden audience base and reputation. Everything seems light and gay but there is tension in the air. Producer Basil has jumped into home ownership by purchasing a cottage near Richardson's estate of Old Knolle and trying to do up the place on his own. He eventually brings in stage designer Deidre Lehaye, a cynical woman who enjoys discovering others foibles, to furnish the place. Then there is the young ingenue Angela, the established actress Clara, seasoned actor Willy who has gambling issues, and finally, Rudolph, an aspiring playwright and nephew of Clara. He is attracted to Angela, who is attracted to him as well as Basil, who is jealous of Rudolph ... It's a right stew of personalities that holds together until blackmail and murder appear. Everyone is suspected — just about anyone would be a good choice — but it's how it happens where the magic and fun are truly at the forefront. The same can be said In Death Knows No Calendar, which occurs in the village of Beckwood. John and Lydia Arundel are two artistes — she is the money maker and he is the holder on. Here too, everything appears to be light and gay but there are undercurrents as well. Petty slights, jealousies and a death that definitely feels like suicide unless you are more cynical. Who would have struck down the victim? Just about everyone. The investigation into the death comes down to Major Boddy, an older gent with a rabid enthusiasm for crime fiction (no wonder I like him!) who along with his former batman, Syd, is quite adept in digging out the clues and the goods. Wonderful writing, clever settings and dialogue, and the real winner in both cases is the "how-done-it." This book is grandly entertaining, a delight from the first to the last pages.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Death in White Pyjamas / Death Knows No Calendar is a double title which includes 2 mysteries by John Bude. Originally released in 1944/1942 respectively this reformat and re-release, out 7th June 2020 is part of the British Library Crime Classics series by Poisoned Pen Press. This edition is 488 pages (for the ebook version) and available in paperback and ebook formats. (Other editions available in other formats). It's worth noting that the eb Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Death in White Pyjamas / Death Knows No Calendar is a double title which includes 2 mysteries by John Bude. Originally released in 1944/1942 respectively this reformat and re-release, out 7th June 2020 is part of the British Library Crime Classics series by Poisoned Pen Press. This edition is 488 pages (for the ebook version) and available in paperback and ebook formats. (Other editions available in other formats). It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. These are both well written golden age British country house murder mysteries. Bude's style is lighthearted, sometimes bordering on wryly sarcastic (he gleefully describes one character's romantic exploits as "priapic"). It reminded me somewhat of Edmund Crispin's slightly campy overtone on several occasions. Nevertheless, both books were enjoyable reads, well plotted and very (very) British. For me, one of the draws of the books in the crime classics series are the erudite and always interesting introductions by editor Martin Edwards. Mr. Edwards has a prodigious knowledge of the genre and writes engagingly and well. Well written, this double entry and the series as a whole are well worth seeking out. This would make a superlative selection for readers of the genre as well as an introduction to classic crime fiction from the golden age by a lesser known author from the period. It's so nice to see these being released for a new generation of fans. Four stars. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    "Death in White Pyjamas" is a mystery that was originally published in 1944 and is set in England. This mystery took up the first half of this book. The murder didn't occur until later in the book, so the reader got to see everything leading up to the murder. This included strong clues about whodunit. For the reader, it was more about working out how the murder was done. The detective didn't initially have these clues, so he asked questions, checked alibis, and looked for clues, but he and his s "Death in White Pyjamas" is a mystery that was originally published in 1944 and is set in England. This mystery took up the first half of this book. The murder didn't occur until later in the book, so the reader got to see everything leading up to the murder. This included strong clues about whodunit. For the reader, it was more about working out how the murder was done. The detective didn't initially have these clues, so he asked questions, checked alibis, and looked for clues, but he and his sidekick mainly speculated about who might have done the murder and how. They talked out several possible scenarios, and it took a while to unravel the truth because they weren't especially smart. However, it was an interesting mystery with entertaining characters. There was no sex. There was a fair amount of bad language. "Death Knows No Calendar" is a mystery that was originally published in 1942 and is set in England. The murder was made to look like a suicide, so it was an amateur sleuth who decided to look into how the murderer could have been committed and who had motive. Again, whodunit seemed pretty obvious to me. The sleuth worked through the motives and alibis fairly quickly to come to the same conclusion. Then it was simply tracking down enough clues to convince the police and figuring out how the clever, locked room murder was done. Unless you happen to have lived at that time, you're unlikely to figure out the answer of how it was done. The sleuth kept that information to himself to reveal at the end. The characters were interesting and entertaining. There was no sex. There was a fair amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this book (both stories) to fans of historical mysteries from this time period. I received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    I enjoyed. I enjoy John Bude’s prose, his classical old fashioned way of writing, and his descriptions of things. He has a good portraiture of characters in his stories and the stories themselves are interesting. He doesn’t generally have the suspense of Christie, but the yarns are pleasing and keep you reading. The murders are almost incidental sometimes. This book had two stories, Death in White Pyjamas and also Death Knows No Calendar. Whilst the first’s characters were more modern and the st I enjoyed. I enjoy John Bude’s prose, his classical old fashioned way of writing, and his descriptions of things. He has a good portraiture of characters in his stories and the stories themselves are interesting. He doesn’t generally have the suspense of Christie, but the yarns are pleasing and keep you reading. The murders are almost incidental sometimes. This book had two stories, Death in White Pyjamas and also Death Knows No Calendar. Whilst the first’s characters were more modern and the story had more air of impropriety amongst the actors of a small theatre in London conspired to idyllic village life in the second. Pyjamas was interesting for the peek behind the acting curtain, but the denouement was disappointing as it hung on a clue/finding that the reader had no way of foreseeing or guessing and it seemed a little blunt. Calendar was a more simple who funnier procedural with Major Boddy and hit Bat-man Gammon solving the riddle and finding the person responsible, and how it was done. It was quite clever and a devious plot. I like Bude’s use of accents and voices in his books, the cockney accent in the second book is so funny and well written, as well as the local servant voices; housemaid and such. Nothing to shock or offend in these books, nothing controversial and good rainy day reads. I’ve read a few of Bude’s in the Crime Classics Series and whilst they’re still not Agatha ... they’re good.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Two mysteries from the Classic Era of crime writing. Death in White Pyjamas was an interesting tale of a group of actors at a country home and their jealousies and competitions. Sam RIchardson has gathered the group of actors at his home to prepare for their coming season. A new writer's play is read and almost everyone is eager to produce it except Basil Barnes, the producer. Eventually Basill convinces everyone not to produce the new play, There is increased tension among the three female lead Two mysteries from the Classic Era of crime writing. Death in White Pyjamas was an interesting tale of a group of actors at a country home and their jealousies and competitions. Sam RIchardson has gathered the group of actors at his home to prepare for their coming season. A new writer's play is read and almost everyone is eager to produce it except Basil Barnes, the producer. Eventually Basill convinces everyone not to produce the new play, There is increased tension among the three female leads as well. When someone is found dead, the first suspect, of course, is the disgruntled, rejected playwright. But the victim had more enemies than just the playwright. An excellent mystery. The second book in this compilation is Death Knows No Calendar. This was a classic locked room mystery - was it murder or suicide? After the inquest finds that flamboyant artist Lydia Arundel committed suicide, Major Boddy doesn't believe it. He has known Lydia for a long time and cannot believe someone so vibrant would take her own life. He embarks on a solution to the locked room mystery.. My only complaint with Death Knows No Calendar was the multiple dialect dialogue in the book. I was tearing my hair out trying to decipher various accents: the cocky London, speech impaired, country and Scottish. Not necessary and very distracting.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    1 - Death in White Pyjamas A Country House Mystery originally published in 1942 Old Knolle house in Sussex, is the home of Sam Richardson, a wealthy theatre promoter and owner of the Beaumont Theatre. Theatre producer Basil Barnes, lives nearby in Fallow Cottage, on the outskirts of the Lambdon village. Over time the actors stay at Old Knolle house to rehearse the latest play that they will perform. The story shows the various interactions between the characters, and relating the various motives, 1 - Death in White Pyjamas A Country House Mystery originally published in 1942 Old Knolle house in Sussex, is the home of Sam Richardson, a wealthy theatre promoter and owner of the Beaumont Theatre. Theatre producer Basil Barnes, lives nearby in Fallow Cottage, on the outskirts of the Lambdon village. Over time the actors stay at Old Knolle house to rehearse the latest play that they will perform. The story shows the various interactions between the characters, and relating the various motives, which in its slow build up, will climax in a death. Inspector Harting investigates. An entertaining and well-written mystery. 2 - Death Knows No Calendar A Locked Room Scenario. John and Lydia Arundel have organised a party to their official opening of their licensed premises, The Little Bottel, in Beckwood. One of the invited is Major Tom Boddy an amateur sleuth. Later Lydia is found dead and the police believe it to be a suicide. Boddy with his sidekick Syd Gannon investigate. Over time they eliminate their suspects, determine who the guilty party is, and discover the clues that show motive and method. A enjoyed this interesting story, but what I didn't care for was for me the overuse of the vernacular, and the lisp speech. A NetGalley Book

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brian Williams

    There're two complete traditional British detective stories in the book. The first one, Death in White Pyjamas, is a puzzle mystery set in the English countryside, that combines a "whodunit" with a "howdunit". It starts slowly with the murder not happening until well into the story. However, readers ought not to be surprised by the identity of the victim. The action picks up with the discovery of the body and the arrival of the police in the person of Police Inspector Harting. The Inspector and There're two complete traditional British detective stories in the book. The first one, Death in White Pyjamas, is a puzzle mystery set in the English countryside, that combines a "whodunit" with a "howdunit". It starts slowly with the murder not happening until well into the story. However, readers ought not to be surprised by the identity of the victim. The action picks up with the discovery of the body and the arrival of the police in the person of Police Inspector Harting. The Inspector and his Sergeant Dane are well suited to solving the mystery through sheer hard work. The killer has concocted a clever cover story and an ingenious mechanical device with which to carry out the plot. It's all far-fetched but makes for a good mystery read. The members of the suspect pool are from the theater world. Each of them is quirky or annoying in their own way, making for interesting background to the mystery story. It takes some effort to adapt to the verbose dialogue which seems common to these traditional mystery stories. In the second story, "Death Knows No Calendar", amateur detective Major Tom Boddy, takes on the investigation of a "sealed box" suspicious death at an English country home. With the help of his manservant, Syd Gammon, he figures out how a female artist woman was shot in her locked studio. It's the more interesting of the two stories, with two puzzles included for the amateur sleuths to solve. The major and his sidekick are standout characters worth a special mention. The helpful introduction by Martin Edwards merits a read. Recommended. Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press for providing me with a complementary advance reading copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for a fair review. The comments about it are my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Diane Hernandez

    Both Death in White Pyjamas & Death Knows No Calendar were disappointments to me. I expect more from John Bude than an incredibly long setup and a disappointing conclusion. Both tales have a vicious female provocateur that is murdered late in the story. Deidre in Pyjamas was literally hated by everyone within range of her voice. Lydia in Calendar was just as evil. However, the solution of both tales was impossible for the reader to discover. Key clues were withheld to a minute before the detective Both Death in White Pyjamas & Death Knows No Calendar were disappointments to me. I expect more from John Bude than an incredibly long setup and a disappointing conclusion. Both tales have a vicious female provocateur that is murdered late in the story. Deidre in Pyjamas was literally hated by everyone within range of her voice. Lydia in Calendar was just as evil. However, the solution of both tales was impossible for the reader to discover. Key clues were withheld to a minute before the detective revealed whodunit. Pyjamas had so many abrupt twists of who was lying at the end that I soon stopped even trying to solve the mystery myself. Calendar was a locked room mystery with an answer only known to rural British villagers at the time. Therefore, I would only recommend Death in White Pyjamas & Death Knows No Calendar to readers who do not want to try to solve the mysteries themselves. 3 stars. Armchair detectives should read any other book by this usually good author rather than this book. Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Lewis

    A collection two of John Bude books "Death in White Pyjamas" and "Death Knows No Calendar" brought by British Library Classics makes me wonder whether that all of his better mysteries have now been released. "Death in White Pyjamas" saw me rolling my eyes as once again a Golden Age crime writer sets his crime in the setting of theatre and "actors". Nearly half the book is wasted with the social nuances and back stage relationships before the murder of stage designer Deirdre Lehaye who had been s A collection two of John Bude books "Death in White Pyjamas" and "Death Knows No Calendar" brought by British Library Classics makes me wonder whether that all of his better mysteries have now been released. "Death in White Pyjamas" saw me rolling my eyes as once again a Golden Age crime writer sets his crime in the setting of theatre and "actors". Nearly half the book is wasted with the social nuances and back stage relationships before the murder of stage designer Deirdre Lehaye who had been spreading poison over stolen money from producer Basil Barnes. It's not until Inspector Meredith gets involved does the book pick up the pace. "Death Knows No Calendar" involves the believed suicide of painter and local celebrity Lydia Arundel. Major Tom Boddy believes it to be murder and he and Sgt Tubby begin a over long, in my opinion, chase to the catch. Both these book are setting during the Second World War but bizarrely it's never used to enhance the plot.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Lee

    It is hard for me to dislike any of the British Library Crime Classics. They are fun books even when they are not amazingly complex mysteries. Death in White Pyjamas contains a group of actors and actresses, a country house, a playwright, and, of course, a murder. The scene was set but somehow it never quite pulled me in. Enjoyable, but not one I will return to. Death Knows No Calendar involves a shooting in a locked artist's studio. I knew who had done the crime very early on. I think most read It is hard for me to dislike any of the British Library Crime Classics. They are fun books even when they are not amazingly complex mysteries. Death in White Pyjamas contains a group of actors and actresses, a country house, a playwright, and, of course, a murder. The scene was set but somehow it never quite pulled me in. Enjoyable, but not one I will return to. Death Knows No Calendar involves a shooting in a locked artist's studio. I knew who had done the crime very early on. I think most readers would find it obvious. However, I did enjoy watching the Major figure it out. That being said, no reader could have figured out the way the crime was committed and I do prefer mysteries where the reader has a fighting chance of beating the investigator to the solution.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    I have to admit, I only read the first book in the volume, Death in White Pyjamas. I cannot even imagine attempting for the second one. I had such high hopes - I first saw the book in a London bookstore on my trip last February and it looked so nice - like the detective book you read all wrapped up in a blanket with hot cocoa while outside is snowing. But the story is so dull and predictable. Did I mention that the murder only happens at around the 80% mark of the 1st book (or at about 40% of th I have to admit, I only read the first book in the volume, Death in White Pyjamas. I cannot even imagine attempting for the second one. I had such high hopes - I first saw the book in a London bookstore on my trip last February and it looked so nice - like the detective book you read all wrapped up in a blanket with hot cocoa while outside is snowing. But the story is so dull and predictable. Did I mention that the murder only happens at around the 80% mark of the 1st book (or at about 40% of the whole volume)? The main love interest is so bland but hey she's so pretty and innocent, you can pretty much guess the murderer if you are not a novice at these kind of books and the rest of the characters are just fillers.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Martina

    I have not previously read any of John Bude's mystery novels though I have read a good bit about the author in discussions about Golden Age or early mystery novels. I happened on this book which had two of his 'locked room' mysteries from the British Library Crime Classics series with an introduction by Martin Edwards. Both novels included ingenious means of causing a death or near death which appears to be suicide or accidental death, but in each case was actually murder. The unraveling of thes I have not previously read any of John Bude's mystery novels though I have read a good bit about the author in discussions about Golden Age or early mystery novels. I happened on this book which had two of his 'locked room' mysteries from the British Library Crime Classics series with an introduction by Martin Edwards. Both novels included ingenious means of causing a death or near death which appears to be suicide or accidental death, but in each case was actually murder. The unraveling of these cases is intricate, perhaps overly complex. Suffice to say there are multiple layers to each of these crime investigations, at times way too many multiple layers. Perhaps I have been suffering from our heat wave too much, but not sure..... It's a barely 4 star book for me now.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Annarella

    I love John Bude's mysteries and I loved those in this book. Both are highly entertaining and gripping, a mix of comedy of manners and Golden Age mystery. The characters are well developed, quirky and likeable, the setting is vivid and lovely. The mystery are complex, full of twists and turns, and the second one was a great "locked room" mystery with a surprising end. I got the culprit of the first one but I appreciated the complex solution. I can't wait to read other stories by this great author. A I love John Bude's mysteries and I loved those in this book. Both are highly entertaining and gripping, a mix of comedy of manners and Golden Age mystery. The characters are well developed, quirky and likeable, the setting is vivid and lovely. The mystery are complex, full of twists and turns, and the second one was a great "locked room" mystery with a surprising end. I got the culprit of the first one but I appreciated the complex solution. I can't wait to read other stories by this great author. A must read for whodunnit lovers, highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.

  26. 5 out of 5

    KayKay

    Two stories in one book bundle. If readers enjoy reading John Bude would not find this bundle disappointing. "Death in White Pyjamas/Death Knows no Calendar" was my first John Bude experience. Unfortunately, not a pleasant one. John Bude went at length to build the stories with drama which I first enjoyed initially, in fact for both stories. The solving the crime process, however, were too slow and not entertaining at all. I lost interests following the sleuths poking around for clues. But the wr Two stories in one book bundle. If readers enjoy reading John Bude would not find this bundle disappointing. "Death in White Pyjamas/Death Knows no Calendar" was my first John Bude experience. Unfortunately, not a pleasant one. John Bude went at length to build the stories with drama which I first enjoyed initially, in fact for both stories. The solving the crime process, however, were too slow and not entertaining at all. I lost interests following the sleuths poking around for clues. But the writing was beautiful. John Bude was excellent with words and description which was a pleasant surprise. The two stories did not captivate me enough; just an average read to me. 3 stars

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stasia

    I'm slowly working my way through classics of British crime!! I would've have gotten through this much faster if life hadn't been so busy. The first book 'Death in White Pyjamas', took me a few chapters to settle into the pacing of the story. Once I settled in, I enjoyed the story, and while the murder victim totally threw me off guard, I did figure out the motive and the murderer. That's ok! The second novel, 'Death Knows No Calendar', felt slightly more paced like a Christie to me, so I blaste I'm slowly working my way through classics of British crime!! I would've have gotten through this much faster if life hadn't been so busy. The first book 'Death in White Pyjamas', took me a few chapters to settle into the pacing of the story. Once I settled in, I enjoyed the story, and while the murder victim totally threw me off guard, I did figure out the motive and the murderer. That's ok! The second novel, 'Death Knows No Calendar', felt slightly more paced like a Christie to me, so I blasted through it much quicker!!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Leyla Johnson

    Two books in one fro fabulous author from the golden Age, John Bude. I really love these mysteries, they are hard to get hold of, and it is great that they are being reissued. If you like books that have a interwoven mystery, with lots of quirky twists, full of characters of their time. A mystery that maybe you can solve before the book ends, then this book is for you. I got the first story but was surprised by the second. More please.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    This is a nice set of stories. I suspect this book and others by this author will not have broad appeal, since they are likely written in Britain in the 50s, and have a particular feel/tone that works with a relatively small set of readers. But these two stories are fun (if a bit contrived). If you like classic Brit mysteries, this is probably a safe bet. Thank you very much for the review copy!!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Karin Carlson

    I really loved both these stories. I am a fan of this author and most if not all Golden Age mystery stories. These stories may not appeal to everyone.....not all readers enjoy stories about England in the 50’s. Both stories were fun, had well developed characters and kept me interested all the way through. Thank you NetGalley for the advanced readers copy for review.

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