William F. Deeck

ALICE CAMPBELL – They Hunted a Fox. Scribner, US, hardcover, 1940. Originally published in the UK: Collins Crime Club, hc, 1940.

   Tom Boldre, owner of Chenrys, an estate in deep financial trouble, has no interest other than horses and, in season, fox hunting. On one hunt, Boldre falls from his horse and suffers a concussion. Two weeks later he falls again and breaks a thigh, which, it seems, causes a heart attack and death.

   When Boldre’s tenant who had helped him on his first fall is shot and killed shortly after Boldre dies, Scotland Yard, in the form of Inspector Headcorn, is called in. Headcorn is a dogged investigator, always seeming to be on the spot when something turns up. He discovers that Boldre died in a most unusual and unnatural way.

   Despite the attempts by all concerned to conceal evidence and mislead Headcorn, putting themselves and others in jeopardy since the murderer is, if I may put it this way, foxy, the killer is unmasked. Above average in plot and writing.

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 11, No. 4, Fall 1989.


Bibliographic Data:   Alice Campbell, 1887-1976?, was the author of 19 mystery and detective novels between 1928 and 1950. Inspector Headcorn was in five of them:

      Death Framed in Silver. Collins 1937 [Colin Ladbroke also appears]
      They Hunted a Fox. Collins 1940 [Alison Young & Colin Ladbroke also appear]
      No Murder of Mine. Collins 1941
      The Cockroach Sings. Collins 1946
      The Bloodstained Toy. Collins 1948 [Tommy Rostetter also appears]

   I can’t tell you anything more about Campbell’s other series characters. Alison Young and Colin Ladbroke appear together in one book without Headcorn, while Tommy Rostetter is also the star of three solo adventures. The twosome of Geoffrey MacAdam and Catherine West appear in two others, including No Light Came On, 1942, but neither with Headcorn.

   There is very little additional information about Alice Campbell on the Internet. There is a list of her mysteries here, and another short mention of her can be found earlier on this blog in the comments following this post.