The Lake District Murder opens with the discovery of a faceless body in an isolated garage, then follows Inspector Meredith through a complex investigation where every clue seems to lead only to another puzzle. Was this a bizarre suicide, or something more sinister? Why was the dead man apparently making plans to flee the country? And what does all this have to do with the newly discovered shady business dealings of the garage? All becomes clear in time, but not before John Bude has led readers through a rousing investigation, full of unexpected twists and turns, set against the stunning backdrop of the Lake District.
Paper edition picked up from my bookgroup. This is the third British Library Crime Classic book I’ve read, and the second from John Bude (I’ve previously reviewed The Cornish Coast Murder). Set in the remote parts of the Lake District, this starts with the discovery of a dead body in a garage, and subsequent investigations into the death. It soon becomes clear that the death is related to a much wider case of fraud and it’s up to Meredith and his team to investigate and prove what is going on and who is involved.
To be honest, I got bored reading the middle section of this book. It is a heavy and slow police procedural, and it was evident (to me at least) fairly early on that the investigation is taking the wrong route, but that line of investigation continues for most of the story. There’s lots of hanging around watching petrol garages, and there is a slight novelty in that Meredith as an Inspector doesn’t have a dedicated driver or car, and spends much of his time out walking or using the pool motorbike. Once the change in tack is finally agreed, then the pace certainly picks up, with a fairly shocking ending to the investigations. The fraud in itself is well set up and wide reaching, and one that could still be performed today, with very little change.
Overall I was a little disappointed in this book in that I didn’t enjoy it as much as the previous books from this author/publisher, but it is still good to have had read a new line in Golden Age crime novels.