They Rang Up The Police – Joanna Cannan (1939)

I can’t quite recall why I bought this book.  I want to say that I saw it on some list of worthy Golden Age mysteries, but by the time my copy arrived in the post, I couldn’t remember what had spurred the purchase.  While I was at it, I had apparently snagged another Joanna Cannan novel (The Taste of Murder) on account of it being a cheap Dell map back edition.  So here I was, with two Joanna Cannan books and no real idea of who she was or what I was in for.

Thankfully I was in the mood for a decidedly British mystery, and They Rang Up the Police offers a nice cottage-laced version of that.  An elderly mother and her three spinster daughters form an unusually close-knit family in small town England.  They simply do everything together, and so when the eldest daughter disappears after a night spent sleeping outside, the others are thrown into a panic.  The thought of someone leaving the house in the morning without announcing their departure is simply unfathomable.  Eventually, “they rang up the police”, and after much badgering, the mother pulls enough strings to get a detective sent down from Scotland Yard.

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