E. M Channon (1875-1941)
by Carol Westron
Channon had views that were unusual for that time and her class. One thing that she makes clear in this book is that if a woman allows a man to bully her, she will permit a situation that not only makes her unhappy but makes him a dissatisfied and unpleasant person as well. In The Chimney Murder it becomes clear that Mr Binns' unchallenged tantrums and grumpy attitude have soured not only his relationship with his family and neighbours but also prevented his promotion at work. Another thing Channon felt strongly was that all women should be domestically capable; and from the tone of this and other of her books, she was rather keen that men should know their way around a kitchen too. She was a good housewife. Her eldest daughter was physically disabled but she sent her three younger daughters to a Domestic Science College. The Chimney Murder is set firmly in a middle-class setting, where maintaining high standards and respectability was paramount. As a social account of the time it is fascinating, both in the attitudes and the domestic details. Nowadays one of the first places any police searchers would look for missing body parts is in dustbins set out all along the road, but in this book it takes an eager young constable, acting on his own initiative, to accompany the dustman on his rounds as he empties the little movable bins' and thus discover the unfortunate victim's head.