by William R. Loeser

EDWARD GRIERSON A Crime of One's Own

EDWARD GRIERSON – A Crime of One’s Own. Chatto & Windus, UK, hardcover, 1967 (shown). G. P. Putnam’s Sons, US, hc, 1967. US paperback reprint: Berkley Berkley X1681, 1969.

   The setting for Edward Grierson’s A Crime of One’s Own is a busy, comfortable English provincial book shop. The owner, Donald Maitland, lets his imagination and curiosity get the best of him by coming to the conclusion that spies are responsible for the defacement of books and other strange happenings in his lending library.

   His early bumbling attempts to investigate and gradually decreasing remissions of sanity are humorous, but, midway in the book, he illegally enters the apartment of a girl he suspects of being a courier, is almost discovered, and is promptly arrested for her murder, which occurs later that night, by stabbing with his letter opener.

   Now Grierson has really gotten his hero and himself in the soup, and a series of delicate courtroom scenes of Donald’s trial, done in the manner of Henry Cecil, only delay the time when the unconvincing real spies have to be dragged out in order to get author and hero off the hook.

   The book shop, its employees and customers are well done.

– From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 3, No. 4, July-Aug 1979       (very slightly revised).

      Bibliographic data:

   Says Wikipedia of the author:  “Edward Grierson (9 March, 1914 – 1975) was a Northumberland barrister and a writer of crime novels. His debut crime novel is the outstanding Reputation for a Song, a classic Inverted detective story.”

   Also the author of several works of historical fiction and non-fiction, Grierson wrote only four mystery novels. From the Revised Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin, here’s a complete list:

      Reputation for a Song. Chatto, UK, 1952. Knopf, US, 1953. Film: MGM, 1970, as My Lover, My Son (scw: William Marchant, Jenni Hall, Brian Degas, Tudor Gates; dir: John Newland).


      The Second Man. Chatto, UK, 1956. Knopf, US, 1956.
      The Massingham Affair. Chatto, UK, 1962. Doubleday, US, 1963.
      A Crime of One’s Own, Chatto, 1967. Putnam, US, 1967.