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La bestia debe morir by Nicholas Blake

La bestia debe morir (original 1938; edition 2004)

by Nicholas Blake

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3821453,054 (3.79)5
Frank Cairnes, a popular detective writer who now embarks on a real-life crime of his own, determined to hunt down the runaway motorist who killed his small son Martin.
Title:La bestia debe morir
Authors:Nicholas Blake
Info:Madrid El País [2004]
Collections:Your library

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The Beast Must Die by Nicholas Blake (1938)


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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Basis for the BritBox Series (2021-?)
Review of the Ipso Books paperback edition (2017) of the Collins hardcover original (1938)
For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. - Ecclesiastes 3:19 (King James Version)I saw the first 2 episodes of the new Cush Jumbo/Billy Howie/Jared Harris TV series The Beast Must Die which had the screen credit saying that it was based on a novel by Nicholas Blake, a penname of Cecil Day-Lewis (1904-1972). I saw that the book was listed on the Guardian/Observer's 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read and that Day-Lewis had based his detective Nigel Strangeways on the poet W.H. Auden (1907-1973). Day-Lewis himself was a poet and was also the father of the actor Daniel Day-Lewis. All of this background made me curious to read it.

The TV-series gender-swaps the character of Frank Cairns into the Frances Cairns role for Cush Jumbo but does start with the same vengeance premise of the book. Otherwise most of it is totally different and it is yet to be seen how many of the novel's twists are incorporated into the screen adaptation. Nigel Strangeways is a private detective in the books, but it is on the police force in the TV version. The book takes place in Gloucestershire whereas the TV series is on the Isle of Wight.

The Beast Must Die is actually the 4th in the Nigel Strangeways novels. It is probably listed in the 1,000 Novels List due to its various clever twists so there is not much one can say about it without spoilers. I enjoyed the book quite a lot and it will be interesting to follow how the screen adaptation differs from it. ( )
  alanteder | Jun 5, 2021 |
I read an out-of-print edition of this book and was amazed at how good it was. It's a genre mystery set (and written) in 1938 England. Part of the Nigel Strangeways mystery series, this was written by Cecil Day-Lewis under the pen name Nicholas Blake. Day-Lewis was a poet laureate of England and the father of Daniel Day-Lewis. The Beast Must Die (which, as a title, makes sense when you get to the end--it's from a bible passage--but otherwise makes you think the book is something else) concerns a distraught father whose young son is killed in a hit-and-run accident. The father (a writer of mysteries under a pseudonym) is obsessed with trying to discover the identity of the hit-and-run and driver and exact revenge. The first half of the book is his diary, and the second half is written in the third person and unravels the mystery of what really happened in the diary. Great book, but sadly out of print in the U.S. I'm going to look for the other Nigel Strangeways mysteries. ( )
  alexlubertozzi | May 24, 2021 |
The Beast Must Die (1938) by Nicholas Blake. This is a novel or revenge gone awry. When his young son is killed by a hit and run driver, Felix Lane knows he must avenge the boy. But no one saw the car or the driver and the police are at a loss. He sets out on his own. This businessman turned mystery writer thinks through the logic of the situation, narrowing down the suspects from all people who drive in England to a very select few.
But it is a turn of luck when splashing though one of many deep, water filled ruts which make up a great portion of the country roads that he gets his break. He follows up which leads him to the movie industry and a beautiful young woman.
Te first portion of the story is a diary written by Lane. He details the search, the clues and the thread that leads him to the driver. And it outlines the steps he took to get near the murderer. It ends at the point where he it set to destroy the monster that killed his son.
The second section is told directly by Lane as he sets about confronting the killer, only to have his plan thwarted at the last moment.
The last section introduces Nigel and Georgia Strangeways as the amateur detectives on the case. They have been called in by Lane because Inspector Blount of The Yard is looking into the case. Blount has been called in because Lane’s intended victim has been murdered only a few hours after Lane’s failed attempt. Lane looks to the official eye as the most likely suspect due to the circumstances. It is up to the Strangeways’s to untangle the problem
The Beast Must Die is the best of all the Strangeways novels, of which there are seventeen. This is a dark twisted tale of plotting and revenge, of callous actions and unintended results, and it is a jolly good read. ( )
  TomDonaghey | Apr 3, 2021 |
a mystery novelist tracks down and kills the hit and run killer of his only son
  ritaer | Jan 16, 2021 |

'The Beast Must Die' has one of the best opening paragraphs to a murder mystery that I've ever read:

'I AM GOING to kill a man. I don’t know his name, I don’t know where he lives, I have no idea what he looks like. But I am going to find him and kill him …'

It's a clever, surprising and original start to a clever, surprising and original novel.

The man writing the entry that open what is his 'murder diary' is Frank Cairnes. Frank is seeking to revenge the hit-and-run death of his young son on the man who was driving the car, the man that hit his son on a quiet road in a small village and left him to die.

Frank is a comfortably off widower, who took up writing detective stories to relieve the boredom of his early retirement, turned out to be quite good at it and now earns a living from it. Like the author of 'The Beast Must Die', our hero writes under non de plume and refuses to allow his real identity to be revealed. He determines to use his detective novel writing skills and the mask of his nom de plume to find the killer and kill him in a way that makes the death look accidental.

The first forty per cent of the book is in the form of Frank's murder diary, in which he explains how he found the driver's identity, how he got close to him and how he intends to kill him. It's cold-blooded, credibly, gripping stuff.

In the second part of the book, the perspective changes and we see Frank from a distance, attempting to carry out his plan. By this point, it's fascinating to see him as others see him. He seems suddenly smaller, more vulnerable and less threatening. Then we get the first surprise when things don't go as our hero planned. This is beautifully done and left me wondering what on earth could happen next.

I should have seen it coming of course, as this is a murder novel with Nigel Strangeways in it, but a murder happens next, one that throws the whole story on its head again.

Finally, we get to see Nigel Strangeways at work, tugging at facts and impressions, getting to know the people, theorising with his wife who he's brought along ostensibly because she's more approachable than him but I think, rather charmingly, she's really there because he wants to be at her side. The who-did-it-and-how? investigation that follows is well done, giving new perspectives on characters that we've previously only seen through Frank's eyes in his diary and providing some intriguing suspects and a web of alibis.

The ending is another surprise. One of those forehead-slapping of-course-it-is surprises that I enjoy kicking myself for not having seen.

All in all, it was a very entertaining read and a great example of a Golden Age mystery. Although this was written in 1938, it felt fresh and modern. It also works as a standalone novel.

I strongly advise avoiding the audiobook version of this novel. The narrator, Kris Dyer, who sadly is the narrator for the entire series, delivers a terrible performance. He takes muscular prose and turns it into a limp-wristed luvvy-fest filled with inappropriate pauses and stresses that ignore the texture of the text and mutilate its rhythm. I sent my audiobook back.
( )
  MikeFinnFiction | Sep 24, 2020 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nicholas Blakeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Caricchio, GiuseppinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
James, P. D.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siikarla, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilcock, Juan RodolfoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I am going to kill a man.
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Frank Cairnes, a popular detective writer who now embarks on a real-life crime of his own, determined to hunt down the runaway motorist who killed his small son Martin.

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