The Case Of The Monday Murders by Christopher Bush

Since 1918, most of the unsolved murders in the UK have been committed on a Monday. And when T P Luffman, a disreputable schoolmaster, is murdered on a Monday, a correspondence begins with the Evening Blazon. Ferdinand Pole, the leader of the Detection Club Murder League, is the creator of the theory of the Monday Murders and it seems that there is something to it. And when a second murder occurs, also on a Monday, it seems there is a serial killer at work. Especially when they start writing letters to the Blazon taking credit for the crimes.

Ludovic Travers becomes convinced that Pole is hiding something – is the man who has an answer for every question actually the murderer? Or is he hiding some other secret? Travers is convinced of his guilt, but when something turns the case upside down, he finds himself with one of the trickiest cases he has ever encountered.

This is an interesting book from Bush, recently re-released by Dean St Press, made much more interesting by Curtis Evans’ introduction drawing parallels with the Detection Club and, in particular, Anthony Berkeley. There’s quite a lot here that to me feels like it was written for his fellow crime writers. Whether it was to impress them or to annoy them is up for debate – this was released in the year before Bush joined the Detection Club – but while Bush is being clever with the real-world parallels, this isn’t his strongest piece of detection.

The plot has trouble focussing at times, with the tale having an episodic feel with each murder, and the suspects being few and far between. Bush’s attempts to misdirect the reader away from the killer didn’t work for me, but there is some interesting stuff with Travers’ decisions as the story progresses.

So, as a pure mystery novel, this isn’t the best work from Bush, but for students of crime fiction history, who ranks have certainly swelled recently thanks to Martin Edwards, there is a lot of fascinating stuff going on here. Well Worth A Look.

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7 comments

  1. Reader consensus seems to be focusing on The Green Felt Hat, The Missing Minutes and The Chinese Gong in this second batch. Perhaps The Bonfire Body too. Monday Murders definitely feels like The Meta Murders!

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  2. I think probably Green Felt Hat, but Leaning Man should be read before it preferably. Besides the above titles I also especially liked the school mystery Good Shepherd, but it’s rather a sour book. More an exercise in glum realism, but some clever bits I thought. Bonfire Body is very complex!

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  3. I just purchased 100% alibis and Missing minutes by this Author. Looking forward to read them.

    On a random note, have you heard that the third new Poirot novel, Mystery of three quarters, is going to be released by Sophie Hannah this August? I read the first two and was not satisfied with either. The monogram murders was a disaster, and whereas Closed casket showed significant improvement, it still was overwritten and suffered from a convoluted plot.

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  4. I did enjoy reading it upon your recommendation, but did find the murderer regretfully easy to spot. I am enjoying the Henry Gamadge series right now. Love the writing style and the humanity of the sleuth.

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