Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy L. Sayers, Patricia Wentworth

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“It’s terrible. It’s a body . . . the head cut off . . . and the hands.”

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Description

“It’s terrible. It’s a body . . . the head cut off . . . and the hands.”

Who is—or was—the headless, handless corpse, found discarded on a bonfire? This baffling case of identity leads to a dead doctor who, according to information received, committed murder himself and was in turn murdered by his victim. A contradiction in terms—or is it? The solution to this mystery involves a taciturn match-seller, unbreakable alibis and several double identities on the part of both the murderer and the victim. The case is dazzling in its ingenuity, as well as being one of the more chilling cases in Ludovic Travers’s colourful investigative career. This is a story containing surprises which will satisfy all fans of golden age detective fiction.

The Case of the Bonfire Body was originally published in 1936. This new edition features an introduction by crime fiction historian Curtis Evans.

Praise

Bibliographic Data

Category: Crime Fiction
Publication Date: February 2018
Territories: World English
ISBN: 978 1 911579 95 3 (paperback)/978 1 911579 96 0 (ebook)

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“Have you heard the news, sir?” the waiter said.

“I’m afraid I haven’t. What is it?”

“Plumley’s dead, sir. Henry Plumley. We just got the news over the ’phone. Suicide they say it was. Anything else you want, sir?”

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I am going to commit a murder. I offer no apology for the curtness of the statement.

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“And that’s not all. Somers is dead too … He poisoned himself … in the lounge!”

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Somebody at that very moment might be watching from behind the hedge! Melodramatic perhaps—but the fact remained that one murder had been committed and a second seemed more than likely.

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However thorough your search was, I’m convinced the murderer, or the burglar—call him what you will—is still in the house.

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“If you don’t think I’m taking a liberty in saying so, my opinion is that he was knocked down first and hanged after!”

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Travers looked down at the face. On the collar was a red patch and a long streak. Across the throat was a gash.

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“It was some sort of sudden death?”

Travers made a face. “It certainly was sudden. I’ll say it’s ten to one it was murder.”

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“Let us know when you’re dead!”

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Old Hunt slithered in the most amazing way and then fell to the floor. He lay between the seats, face upwards.

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“Send someone here quick. There’s been a murder!”

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Travers turned to Wharton. “I ask you, George, as a man of the world—do schoolmasters and mistresses have souls full of glamour and passion and intrigue? Are they torn by the same emotions that rend people like us?”

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“Murder is easy. It’s child’s play to commit murder and get away with it.”

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Murder on Mondays! Greatest prophecy of the century! T.P. Luffham was murdered!

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Travers looked down at the thing that sprawled. The head gave a last movement, and there was a faint sound like a tired moan. The time was eight minutes to eight.

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“You needn’t look impatient, sir. He’ll be finished with you long before dinner.ˮ

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‘I judge him to have been dead just about twenty-four hours. Suicide, almost certainly.’

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Palmer saw him out, and gave that little deprecatory cough.

“If you’ll pardon me, sir, is it another murder?”

“Looks like it,” Travers told him from the door.

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“George Wharton said he hoped I’d have a nice murder for you.”

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