Sunday, October 28, 2012
Crime Fiction Alphabet: Letter X
I have signed up for a second year of The Alphabet in Crime Fiction, a community meme sponsored by Mysteries in Paradise. Each week she'll be expecting participants to produce a post featuring a mystery/crime novel or novelist related to that week's letter. The end is in sight--we're up to that diabolical Letter X. And X is for E. X. Ferrars.
E. X. Ferrars is the American-generated pen name for a British mystery writer born Morna Doris McTaggart in Rangoon, Burma. She is also known under her British pen name Elizabeth Ferrars. Ferrars wrote stories that best fit in the cozy genre--puzzle mysteries, solved by fairly average folks, and with story lines that don't challenge the "status quo." Most of her novels are stand-alone stories, but she did give us three series featuring recurring characters. Her first five novels feature freelance journalist Toby Dyke and his companion George. She also wrote about Virginia and Felix Freer, an estranged couple who still manage to get together often to solve crimes, and Andrew Basnett, a retired botany professor.
While I have read and enjoyed several of Ferrars's stand-alone novels and a couple of the Freer series, my favorites come form her Basnett series. Basnett is an academic (one of my mystery weaknesses). He has retired and is supposedly working on a book ('cause he has all this time do so now you know), but is continually getting side-tracked by various episodes of deviltry going on around him. Here's just one example, Something Wicked:
"When Andrew Basnett, a retired professor of botany, took his nephew's cottage in a quiet Oxfordshire village for the winter, he didn't expect to find himself living opposite a woman locally reputed to have killed her husband, even though an unbreakable alibi meant she had never been brought to trial. Nor did he expect to find himself cut off from all mains services as the result of a blizzard. And he certainly did not expect to discover in his cold, dark living-room the body of the village's second murder victim." (from Goodreads)