John Rowland's 1950 novel Calamity in Kent is an interesting entry in the British Library Crime Classics. With many of the books in this series, following the investigation with a main character brings the reader in as a sideline detective....In Calamity in Kent, the emphasis is on the murder victim's business dealings in Broadgate, and while the number of murder suspects are limited, these aspects, along with the fact that the body is found inside a locked lift, are both subsumed and sidelined by the victim's possible black market connections. So the emphasis is not so much who-dunnit as why, with Inspector Shelley obviously rationalising that if he can solve the puzzle of the victim's criminal life, all other parts of the puzzle will fall into place. If you are the sort of reader who wants to solve the puzzle-in this case, how was the victim inside a locked cliff lift, then you may feel a little disappointed that you can't run with this aspect of the tale. If, however, you are content to be inside Jimmy's head, then you will sit back, relax and enjoy his story.--NetGalley
From the Back Cover:
I like the insight into a journalist's life, even if one had to suspend disbelief as to the extent to which he was allowed to be involved in the case. Some nice detail in the Kent seaside setting as well.--GoodReads
It was a good story, and Jimmy was a charming and engaging narrator. I enjoyed the period setting, the seaside location, and some very interesting characters that Jimmy met in the course of his investigations.--NetGalley
Entertaining mystery set in the seaside, vacation town of Broadgate with an amateur newspaper-man/investigator who, while not completely believable, gets the job done. Burdened with the ever-present and insipid couple that always wiggles their way into an otherwise perfectly good British mystery of a certain vintage; here, at least, the lady in love is a smart woman who gets her due in the narrative. Will definitely continue with the Inspector Shelley series if they run along these same lines.--NetGalley
There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this book to those who enjoy "just along for the ride" mysteries.--GenreReviews
First published in 1950, this reissue of a detective story set in a British seaside resort is an exhilarating example of the "impossible crime," or locked-room, mystery. Rowland shows how a journalist might see what a cop doesn't see, and vice versa, in intriguing ways, as the murder spans out into a black-market petrol conspiracy worthy of Foyle's War. This riveting reissue is part of the British Library Crime Classics series. (Starred review)--Booklist
In the peaceful seaside town of Broadgate, an impossible crime occurs. The operator of the cliff railway locks the empty carriage one evening; when he returns to work next morning, a dead body is locked inside a man who has been stabbed in the back. Jimmy London, a newspaper reporter, is first on the scene. He is quick on the trail for clues and agrees to pool his knowledge with Inspector Shelley of Scotland Yard, who is holidaying in the area. Mistrustful of the plodding local policeman, Inspector Beech, the two men launch their own investigation into the most baffling locked-room mystery a case that could reignite Jimmy s flagging career, but one that exposes him to great danger. JOHN ROWLAND (1907 1984) was a publisher, journalist, civil servant and Unitarian minister whose detective novels have long been neglected. This is the first republication of Calamity in Kent since its original appearance in 1950."
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