LEO BRUCE – Furious Old Women. Carolus Deene #7. Davies, UK, hardcover, 1960. Academy Chicago, paperback, 1st US printing, 1983.

   Carolus Deene teaches history at a boys’ public school in England. He has a private income and also enjoys solving baffling crimes. On this occasion, Deene is called into the small village of Gladhurst to discover who murdered Millicent Griggs. What Deene discovers is a village full of “angry old women,” any of whom had good reason to intensely dislike Millicent enough to murder her.

   There also prove to be several men who are likely suspects. As Deene probes, he discovers a tremendous rivalry between Millicent (Low church proponent) and Grazia Vaillant (High church promoter), with the Rector caught between both women and their money. Two more bodies will complicate Deene’s investigation, as well as the. pressure from his headmaster to take a more active role at school (which means curtailing his detective tasks).

   Clues abound, and Bruce is nothing but fair with the reader in providing all the necessary facts to solve the mystery. The solution is quite clever and carefully hidden! A delight for mystery fans with a bent for the British.

– Reprinted from The Poison Pen, Volume 6, Number 3 (Fall 1985).