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Tuesday 21 November 2023

‘Curiosity Killed the Cat’ by Joan Cockin

Published by Galileo Publishers, 2023.
ISBN: 978-1-915530-14-1 (PB)

This is a detective story first published during the Golden Age of detective fiction in 1949. 

The setting for the novel is a village in the Cotswolds that has been taken over by the Ministry of Scientific Research during the Second World War.  The village is called Little Biggling and has a passing resemblance to St. Mary Mead!  The principle detective in the story is Inspector Cam an affable and effective detective who is torn between loyalty to the villagers in his community and the Director General of the Ministry of Scientific Research and his team of scientists who continue to inhabit the village well after the end of the War. 

The main protagonists in the story are three scientists working in the laboratories housed in the Manor House and various support staff.  There are issues of potential spying, treachery and blackmail and the catalyst for the action is the murder of one of the messengers working in the Ministry building. 

The local residents are somewhat inconvenienced by the billeting of members of the research team in their homes and the householders are an integral part of the solving of the murder which Cam is determined to solve. 

This is a classic murder mystery - well written and carefully contrived to entertain and intrigue the reader.  I look forward to reading the further two novels written by Joan Cockin which I understand also involve Inspector Cam.  A good read!
Reviewer: Toni Russell

Joan Cockin is a pseudonym used by Edith Joan Burbridge, who was born in Gloucester in 1919. She was an author and diplomat. In World War II she did propaganda work in Washington for the British government. She is the creator of 'Inspector Cam'. She wrote three books. Curiosity Killed the Cat, Villainy at Vespers and Deadly Ernest.

Toni Russell is a retired teacher who has lived in London all her life and loves the city.  She says, ‘I enjoy museums, galleries and the theatre but probably my favourite pastime is reading.  I found myself reading detective fiction almost for the first time during lockdown and have particularly enjoyed old fashioned detective fiction rather than the nordic noir variety.  I am a member of a book club at the local library and have previously attended literature classes at our local Adult Education Centre.  She is married with three children and five grandchildren.

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