Ostara Publishing Colourfon

Ostara Publishing

17 Dec 2010
Books: Crime At Dianas Pool

Martin Edwards review

Forgotten Book - The Crime at Diana's Pool

Canon Victor Alonzo Whitechurch was a founder member of the Detection Club, and a book he wrote in 1926 is my latest choice as a Forgotten Book. It is The Crime at Diana’s Pool, and is one of his six crime novels – he also wrote some good short stories with railway settings, several of which feature Thorpe Hazell, a sleuth who memorably combines vegetarianism with health faddishness and an enthusiasm for rail travel.

This is a book with a classic country house setting. A garden party ends in the murder of the host, Felix Nayland, and the obvious suspect is a mysterious chap – foreign and needless to say, bearded – who cons his way into the band that had been hired to entertain the guests. One of those guests was Harry Westerham, a likeable cleric who does some of the detective work, along with the industrious Sergeant Ringwood.

Whitechurch makes the point in a preface that he had no idea of the solution to his mystery when he wrote the first chapter. I have to say that I figured out the culprit at an early stage, but it’s a tribute to the author’s light and agreeable style that he kept me interested despite this.

My copy is, in fact, not a musty volume dug out of a second hand stall, but a brand new, nicely produced paperback published by Ostara, a Cambridge-based print-on-demand outfit who have brought back a number of obscure titles – college and clerical crime as well as some good thrillers – and have also reprinted some nice books by splendid modern authors such as Keith Miles and Kate Charles. I am a fan of Ostara, and encourage others to support their enterprise.

Martin Edwards

I am a British crime writer, and the author of two series, set in Liverpool and the Lake District. At the CWA Daggers Awards 2008, I received the award for best short story of the year for 'The Bookbinder's Apprentice'. The eighth Liverpool book, Waterloo Sunset, and The Arsenic Labyrinth,(shortlisted for Lakeland Book of the Year 2008) have both recently appeared in paperback. So has Dancing for the Hangman, a novel about Dr Crippen. The fourth Lake District Mystery, The Serpent Pool, was published in February 2010.



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