Monday, May 21, 2012

Crime Fiction Alphabet 2012: Leter A



I just 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. We're off and running on with the letter A.

And for me...the Letter A stands for: A Sprig of Sea Lavender by J. R. L. Anderson (Click title for my review). As I mention in the review, this book has been a kind of Holy Grail book for a long time.  I don't remember when I first put it on the TBF/O (To Be Found/Owned) list--sometime in the 80s.  I found it listed in The Mystery Lover's Companion by Art Bourgeau and something about his synopsis grabbed me and held on tight:

Piet Deventer of Scotland Yard investigates the murder of a young woman found dead on a train, with a fortune in artworks in a portfolio next to her. The only clue is a sprig of sea lavender. the trail leads to the seaside in an excellent read. 
And here is the synopsis from the back of the book:
A young woman races down the platform just in time to catch her train, but too late to save her life. Before she can reach London, she's discovered dead in her seat--at her side a portfolio containing a fortune in unlisted artworks; at her feet, a sprig of sea lavender.  Piet Deventer of Scotland Yard has a passion for painting. He follows the scent to a seaside art colony where casual comaraderie creates the perfect cover for a killer and a master criminal intent on pulling off the most daring swindle of the decade.
This isn't really a book that you need to hunt high and low for (as I did), but it is a pleasant read.  A decent example of late-1970s detective fiction set in an interesting location and with plenty of action in the denouement.
 

9 comments:

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Sounds fascinating Bev - and I'm glad that I'm not the only one who was influenced by Art Bourgeau's book - I still occasionally go back to it in fact, all kinds of amazing nuggets listed in there.

Peter Reynard said...

I love mysteries that involve a field outside my expertise (like art in this case). It's an easy way to learn something while enjoying a good book. Also, seaside art colonies seem to have been a thing in England in the early 1900s. I'm sure Christie had one or two in her books.

Clarissa Draper said...

It does sound interesting and the title (clue) does sound intriguing. I'll look for it.

Anonymous said...

I used to enjoy JRL Anderson novels in yellow jacketed Gollancz hardbacks that my library had. I remember this as one of the best, but they were all good reads.

Alex in Leeds said...

I don't read many mystery books these days but 'seaside artist colony' sounds a lovely backdrop. :)

Margot Kinberg said...

Bev - What an intriguing plot! Thanks for reminding me of this one. I'd meant to read it long ago and simply didn't. I should.

Peggy Ann said...

Hi Bev! I enjoyed this review when you first posted it and put it on my wish list then. I need to find that Mystery Lovers Companion too!

Marce said...

I love your To be Found/Owned, lol. Love your humor. I chose Andrea Kane

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Bev,

Books and movies that involve things of value often get me thinking. Why would the killer leave behind things that are worth a lot of money. Good premise for a book, I think.