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The Flaxborough Crab by Colin Watson
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The Flaxborough Crab (1969)

by Colin Watson

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873138,736 (3.73)2
  1. 00
    A Load of Old Bones by Suzette A. Hill (devenish)
    devenish: If not quite as funny as 'The Flaxborough Crab',and after all what could be,this is quite a humourous crime book in it's own right.
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One of the most noticeable things about the Flaxborough books is that the author never explains things to the reader. The reader sometimes "sees" more than the detectives which can be helpful in understanding how, when and by whom the crime has been committed but any formal explanations are limited to conversations overheard between characters. Since the most senior of the police officials in (Mr. Chubb) is notably uninteresting in the sordid details of the crimes the reader is left to figure out the ins and outs of the crimes.

This is a subtile but rather enjoyable way for an author to signal his belief that his readers are intelligent and engaged ( )
  mmyoung | Apr 18, 2013 |
The village of Flaxborough appears to have a sex fiend who attempts to molest women of varying ages as they walk along the riverside or through the woods. Others have reported their underwear has gone missing from laundry lines. So far descriptions of the man vary from tall to short, thin to solid, semi-bald to a full head of hair, but what they all seem to have in common is a scrabbling crab-like gait as the offender makes his escape. As Detective Inspector Purbright of the Fen St. police station investigates an incident in which the town’s assistant librarian successfully thwarts an attacker, he uncovers other incidents thus far unreported. The action hots up when Alderman Winge is drowned on an excursion to a local reservoir with the Darby and Joan club, and the name of one of the local doctors appears to be cropping up more than it should. The Flaxborough novels are a dozen or so cosies in the Golden Age village mystery tradition. If this one is anything to go by, they are carefully crafted relatively quick reads. I suspect they are a little tongue-in-cheek, but perhaps not… ( )
  smik | Aug 27, 2007 |
It is difficult to choose which of this series of crime novels is the best and indeed funniest. However after a great deal of thought I think I would have to say 'The Flaxborough Crab'. In it Inspector Purbright,assisted by Detective Sergeant Sid Love investigate a series of attacks on women in the area.These are perpetrated by someone who escapes by running away in a curious sideways or crab-like manner.
Part of the charm of this series is Colin Watson's creation of the little market town of Flaxborough in the east of England, and the many eccentric characters that inhabit it.These include Miss Lucilla Teatime,Miss Brangwyn Butters and Harcourt Chubb,the Chief Constable.
I would urge anyone interested in crime fiction with a touch of quirky English humour to get hold of a copy of this book.(or indeed any of the series) Have a good old laugh on the way. ( )
  devenish | Aug 27, 2007 |
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Miss Brangwyn Butters,Flaxborough's Assistant Librarian,was thirty-six years old.
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The Flaxborough Crab was also published as Just What the Doctor Ordered
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"I'm a bee," said the voice in the darkness. "I want to pollinate you. I'd like to lift your petals." Mrs Pasquith was the latest victim of the Flaxborough sex-fiend, although her ordeal was vocal rather than physical. There had been three incidents, all at night and with one common factor. In each case the attacker was described as "running sideways", almost like a crab. The virtue of Flaxborough's womanhood must be protected so Inspector Purbright and Sergeant Love get to work. Soon they are surprised to find themselves dealing with a certain Miss Lucilla Teatime...… (more)

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