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Thou Shell of Death (Nigel Strangeways…
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Thou Shell of Death (Nigel Strangeways Mysteries) (original 1936; edition 2009)

by Nicholas Blake

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1156104,954 (3.83)6
Member:bohemima
Title:Thou Shell of Death (Nigel Strangeways Mysteries)
Authors:Nicholas Blake
Info:Rue Morgue Press (2009), Paperback, 191 pages
Collections:Physical Books, Owned before 2013, Permanent Collection
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Thou Shell of Death by Nicholas Blake (1936)

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Showing 5 of 5
Really a superior detective novel. A classic in form: house party, limited characters, a snowstorm, odd clues and even odder characters; this book is a delight and a huge improvement on the first in the Strangeways series.

Strangeways, (isn't that a great name?) a private detective, has been contacted by Fergus O'Brien, a famous aviator and WW I hero. He's having a Christmas holiday gathering of old friends and enemies, and feels threatened by letters he's received indicating his imminent death.

Obviously, Strangeways can't prevent O'Brien's death, which is presented in the time-honored "locked room" manner. Several possible plots are teased out, with Our Hero providing the correct solution at the very end. A minor love story doesn't hamper the book at all.

Recommended for all lovers of Golden Age mysteries. ( )
  bohemima | Jan 29, 2013 |
Fergus O'Brien a reclusive ex flying ace,receives a series of letters containing death threats. He invites Nigel Strangeways (our series detective)together with a number of others he suspects of being the sender of these letters to a Christmas party.
Despite the presents of Strangeways, O'Brien is found shot dead,in a 'locked room' type situation. The official police are quickly on the scene,but of course it is Strangeways who finally solves the case.
The twists and turns in the tale did become somewhat too obscure in the middle of the book. I did however feel that the final solution and the unmasking of the killer was extremely clever and certainly unguessed by me. ( )
  devenish | Jan 5, 2013 |
Cerebral, witty, twists and turns...whoa didn't see that one coming. Can't wait to read more Blake. ( )
  Riyale | Apr 4, 2011 |
I'm not a big fan of mysteries where the puzzle is really complex and not much else is going on. This is one of those. I found the beginning very slow, but the solution was interesting in the end. ( )
  aulsmith | Dec 19, 2010 |
My friend Nancy has been reading some Nicholas Blake and after reading her review, I decided to see what my library has of his books. I found an anthology with three books: Thou Shell of Death, The Beast Must Die, and The Corpse in the Snowman.

The first one, Thou Shell of Death, features regular Blake sleuth and private investigator Nigel Strangeways. A famous aviator has been receiving death threats and wants a detective on hand to try to catch the killer during a Christmas dinner party. But come the 26th, Nigel finds the aviator dead in a shed, with only a single set of footprints leading to the building. Suicide? Or murder?

Blake throws in plenty of clues and red herrings, giving the reader a fair chance to figure it out, but I have to admit I got it wrong until last quarter of the book, and even then, there were several twists I didn't anticipate. Overall, a very fun read that has me looking forward to other two books in this collection. ( )
  cmbohn | Jun 10, 2009 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Dedicated
to my late colleagues
with gratitude and
affection
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A winter afternoon in London.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Nigel Strangeways is sent by Scotland Yard to rural Somerset to protect the life of Britain's legendary air hero, Fergus O'Brien, who produces threatening letters, but from whom? He wants Strangeways present for the Christmas holidays when he has invited all the possible friends and suspects to come to stay, including Lucilla Thrale, O'Brien's discarded mistress, prim Edward Cavendish, Lucilla's discarded lover, Georgia Cavendish, the woman explorer he had rescued in Africa and then fallen in love with, with her brother, Edward. Nigel fails to prevent the murder, and must figure out the murderer by looking for the secret past and identity of the victim.
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Fergus O'Brien, a legendary World War One flying ace with several skeletons hidden in his closet, receives a series of mocking letters predicting that he will be murdered on Boxing Day. Undaunted, O'Brien throws a Christmas party, inviting everyone who could be suspected of making the threats, along with private detective Nigel Strangeways. But despite Nigel's presence, the former pilot is found dead, just as predicted, and Nigel is left to aid the local police in their investigation while trying to ignore his growing attraction to one of the other guests - and suspects - explorer Georgina Cavendish.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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