William F. Deeck

LYNTON LAMB Death of a Dissenter

LYNTON LAMB – Death of a Dissenter. Gollancz, UK, hardcover, 1969. No US edition.

   Old Silas Finch doesn’t like the church bells ringing in the English village of Fleury Feverel, or anything or anyone else for that matter. He defiles the cricket field, threatens his neighbors, lets the air out of bicycle tires, and is accused of molesting a quite molestable young woman. So it is nothing of a surprise that he ends up dead, but quite astonishing that he dies in the church ringing chamber, where someone has apparently bashed him in the head with a bench.

   As the evidence accumulates, Detective Chief Superintendent Quill and Detective Inspector Bruce are somewhat dumbfounded to find that the facts point in only one direction: toward the rector of the parish, Frank Fenwick, an inveterate truth teller who says he didn’t do it.

   Fortunately for a U.S. reader, the cricketing is brief since, at least to me, it was quite incomprehensible. Also a problem is the local dialect, which is almost as impenetrable as the cricket and there’s more of it. To make up for that there is a great deal of humor, some fine writing, a solid investigation, information on campanology, and an unusual solution, which I guess is possible. All in all, a nearly first-class first novel, particularly if you understand cricket and the local dialect.

   By the way, could there really be such a thing as a Surveyor of Ecclesiastical Dilapidations?

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 13, No. 4, Fall 1992.

         The Supt. Quill & Insp. Charles Glover series —

Death of a Dissenter. Gollancz 1969.
Worse Than Death. Gollancz 1971.
Picture Frame. Gollancz 1972.
Man in a Mist. Gollancz 1974.