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Bump in the Night (A Flaxborough Mystery) by…

Bump in the Night (A Flaxborough Mystery) (original 1960; edition 2018)

by Colin Watson (Author)

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Title:Bump in the Night (A Flaxborough Mystery)
Authors:Colin Watson (Author)
Info:Farrago (2018), Edition: Main, 190 pages
Collections:Your library

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Bump in the Night by Colin Watson (1960)



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The town of Chalmsbury experiences a series of explosions that blow up monuments and landmarks, and the small town's police force is making no progress. Flaxborough loans DI Purbright to conduct an investigation--one perhaps less hampered by being personally connected, for good or ill, to every possible suspect.

Police chief Hector Larch is married to Hilda, daughter of Councilman Pointer. Local haulage magnate Stan Biggadyke is having an affair with Hilda, and last year, had a car accident that killed a young woman. Biggadyke's long history of malicious pranks includes having tormented Barrington Hoole, local optometrist, since their school days.

And Larch, sadly, thinks aggressive bullying is the way to question suspects and make them spill what they know.

What most of the town doesn't know is that Larch attends weekly civil defense training in Flaxborough, where he teaches explosives handling. A supply of explosives has gone missing, more than enough to account for the explosions so far.

Purbright takes lodging in Chalmsbury, and sets about piecing his way through gossip, innuendo, colorful local stories, adultery, and hidden secrets, to find the culprit.

This is a police procedural series from the late 1950s and early 1960s. It has a slower, gentler pace, with an arch sense of humor lurking in the corners. (What my Mom called a British sense of humor. What my Dad, and I, and the Irish/French side of the family called, "how we make jokes and cope with stress.) It's enjoyable, pleasant reading, when you want to engage your mind rather than looking for a more emotional read.


I received a free electronic galley from the publisher via NetGalley. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley.

This is the second of the Flaxborough series and I found it far less enjoyable than the fourth (Lonelyheart 4122) - I am reading them out of order. Here a series of explosions demolishes a statue, a fountain and an optician's sign. The initial investigation is carried out by an Inspector Larch. It was hard to warm to Larch and Inspector Purbright, whom I know from the fourth instalment and who is much more relatable, did not appear until the half-way mark.

There were touches of humour, but mainly a series of indistinguishable middle-aged men making "witty" and/or dull conversation with each other. Even the conclusion was dragged out and the murderer turned out to be the person I had suspected by reason of his having no discernible reason for otherwise being in the narrative. Hopefully the third in this series will mark a return to form. ( )
  pgchuis | Mar 13, 2018 |
I received a free e-copy of this book and have chosen to write an honest and unbiased review. I have no personal affiliation with the author. This is the second Colin Watson British murder mystery that I’ve read. I love his quirky and eccentric characters with their wry British humor and slang. Full of twists and turns, secrets, and red herrings. I’m so happy these republished mysteries were brought to my attention. This is a great series, well written with quirky characters and unique plots. Colin Watson is a great storyteller. These are well worth the read and I look forward to reading more British mysteries by Colin Watson in the future. ( )
  iadam | Mar 11, 2018 |
It may be that I am easily amused by absurd domestic drama. I remember as a kid howling over Thurber's "The Night the Bed Fell" and just now, as I prepared to write this review I laughed at it all over again on the New Yorker website.

"Bump in the Night" had me laughing out loud over and over. I am sure I shall never forget a man who walks the streets on full moon nights to avoid his "tidally amorous" housekeeper. Or the man whose neck is like pink luncheon meat squeezed out of a can. This isn't modern humor and it is hilarious.

There is a mystery too, the question of who blew up the philandering Mr. Biggadyke (silly surnames abound in this series), it might have been suicide, though. It's up to Detective Inspector Purbright to sort it all out and it's a lot of fun to watch him do it.

I received a review copy of "Bump in the Night: Flaxborough Mystery Book 2" by Colin Watson (Farrago) through NetGalley.com. It was first published in 1960 in the UK and USA and has been reissued several times. ( )
  Dokfintong | Mar 10, 2018 |
What a marvelous idea it was to re-release this series. Those of us who did not read it the first time around can now experience the joy of visiting Flaxborough, and I'm ready to visit for a long time.

Bump in the Night is the second in the Flaxborough Mystery series by Colin Watson. The time is around 1957 or 1958. The place is the English village of Flaxborough and the surrounding countryside. We are back with Inpector Purbright, who cleared up that brothel and butchery business last year, but first we have to spend some time in the nearby town of Chalmsbury with the very unpleasant Chief Inspector Hector Larch and a cast of very quirky characters. A lot of quirky characters. Most of whom are not very likeable. For example, one prominent fellow is described as the kind of guy who would "Give her a nice smile, and then slowly pull her head off like a prawn's, and wouldn't fall out with you until he's got a grave dug ready." Hmmm.

We start right off with Councilor Oswald Pointer, Chalmsbury wholesale wine merchant, calling the police, with more than a little attitude, to report the loud noise he's just heard. Desk Sergeant Worple retaliates by being as unhelpful as he can be - you can just hear it in your head - you've either been there or done that. And Pointer, being the (un)likeable chap that he is, gets his petty little revenge after hanging up on the police by slamming his wife's bedroom door to scare her, and then pretending to be asleep when she comes to tell him she heard something.

Things are blowing-up in Chalmsbury on Tuesday evenings - a drinking fountain, a sculpture, an optician's hanging eye, and a bloody head blown off. And there is a real mystery here, not just a bunch of goofy people blowing up silly objects. Things get serious and sinister and dangerous and Inspector Larch isn't having much luck solving the mystery. So Inspector Purbright from Flaxborough is brought in to figure out who in Chalmsbury is a murderer.

But solid as the plot is and as engaging the mystery, it's the words, the words, the words that hook you and keep you hooked. Colin Watson seemed to be a firm believer in why use just one word when several will do. The way he wrote, there is no such thing as too many words. The town is populated with run-of-the-mill characters - wine merchant, haulage broker, optician, jeweler, theatre manager, newpaper editor and reporter, park keeper, as well as some not so run-of the mill: the rhymer, the chronic confessor, the genially promiscuous woman, the fit thrower, and the kleptomaniacal housekeeper. The vivid descriptions of their quirks and slightly mad, slightly dangerous interactions and practical jokes produced images that made me smile and chuckle and laugh out loud.

Just picture this: "Dignitaries: One end's so like t'other it's a wonder that when they take their hats off they're not run in for indecent exposure." "His hands clasped behind him looked like a pair of courting Flamborough crabs." "Alderman Arnold Berry was no longer regarding the wide world with that straining-at-stool expression that denotes, in the convention of public sculpture, a man of high but unpopular principles." "His reasoning was conditioned by regular absorption of the Daily Sun." "Marriage with the light on, he decided, would be rather awful." I could go on and on, but you want to read these books for yourself and enjoy these deft turns of phrase for yourself.

Bump in the Night was even more satisfying, if possible, than Coffin Scarcely Used, the first book in the series, because this time I had learned the drill: look for clues, pay close attention to the people, and even closer attention to the words.

I received a copy of Bump in the Night from NetGally and Farrago Books. I loved it, highly recommend it, and am starting Hopjoy was Here as soon as I submit this review. ( )
  GrandmaCootie | Mar 8, 2018 |
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THE FIRST OF THE CHALMSBURY BLOWINGS-UP TOOK place one warm, still night in early summer.
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