A 1001 MIDNIGHTS Review
by Marcia Muller:


CHRISTIANNA BRAND – Green for Danger. Dodd, Mead, hardcover, 1944. UK edition: John Lane/The Bodley Head, hc, 1945. Reprinted many times in both hardcover and paperback. Film: Individual Pictures, UK, 1946, with Alastair Sim as Inspector Cockrill.

   Christianna Brand has written mainstream novels, short stories, and juveniles, but she is best known for her detective novels featuring Inspector Cockrill of the Kent, England, County Police.

   Cockrill (known affectionately as Cockie) is a somewhat eccentric, curmudgeonly fellow — less a character than a catalyst in the cases he solves. He delights in setting up situations that force the murderer’s hand, and the murderer’s identity usually seems quite obvious to the reader, until Brand introduces a twist designed to delight.


   At the beginning of Green for Danger, an unlikely group of characters assemble at a military hospital during the blitz of World War II. Each has his reasons for escaping his previous environment; each has expectations of what this assignment will bring.

   What none of them suspects is that a patient — the postman who, incidentally, delivered their letters saying they were coming to Heron’s Park Hospital — will die mysteriously on the operating table, and that all of them will come under Inspector Cockrill’s scrutinizing eye as murder suspects.

   The characters are numerous, but Brand nonetheless manages to instill unique qualities that enlist the reader’s sympathy and create dismay at the revelation of the murderer.


   The solution is plausible, the motivation well foreshadowed, and the evocation of both the terror and fortitude of those who endured the German bombing is very real indeed.

   Inspector Cockrill has also solved such cases as Heads You Lose (1941), Death of Jezebel (1948), London Particular (1952), and The Three-Cornered Halo (1957).

   Reprinted with permission from 1001 Midnights, edited by Bill Pronzini & Marcia Muller and published by The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, 2007.   Copyright 1986, 2007 by the Pronzini-Muller Family Trust.

Previously reviewed on this blog:

     Fog of Doubt (London Particular), by Steve Lewis
     The Spotted Cat and Other Mysteries, by Mike Tooney
     Heads You Lose, by Mike Tooney
     Fog of Doubt (London Particular), by Kevin Killian