LONG SHADOWS

JOANNA CANNAN

A book review

This is a fabulous murder mystery set in England around 1950s. The Author ( Late) Ms. Joanna Cannan (1896-1961) had written this very exciting crime thriller that got published around 1955 to be precise.


The story begins with Alexandra and her husband, Ivor Fairlie, a book publisher attending a party organized by his friend, John Selwyn, in the honor of an upcoming gorgeous author, Dawn Meadowes. Alex meets three old ladies who are reputed authors themselves. They exchange pleasantries and introduce themselves as Dora Gray, Elaine de Courcy, and Lily Carpenter, a daughter of a famous essayist, Walter Carpenter. The couple return to their residence in Bredon Crescent, London.


The next day, Alexandra aka Alex, finds the photo of her husband dancing with Dawn and is consumed by jealousy. In a fit of rage, she mutilates Dawn’s pic featured in a magazine. Meanwhile, Police Constable Hamlin stumbles upon a dead body in Seagrave street. He calls his superiors. Detective Superintendent Price and Detective Sergeant Frank Frobisher arrive at the crime scene with Doctor Glossop to examine the body. The cause of death is by stabbing. They question the neighbor, Andrew del Medico, a sculptor. Their investigations lead them to the Fairlies. Alexandra becomes their prime suspect because Detective Price finds her magazine with a mutilated photo of Dawn and her alibi is too shaky. Her household help Mrs. Binn also worked for Mr. del Medico, who is regarded as another suspect of a crime of passion. Alexandra seeks Mrs. Binn’s daughter, Rosemary’s help to enter Dawn’s apartment for searching for the clues to clear her name. Will she succeed or get caught? There is an unexpected twist in the tale with a second murder in a similar fashion, death by stabbing. Is it a work of a serial killer or is someone seeking revenge?


The enriched vocabulary and the usage of English language adds to the beauty of the story. I felt as if I was reading a book belonging to the Victorian Era in English literature. It’s super charming. Another USP of this book is the contradictory characters of Detectives Price and Frobisher. One is too rigid and uptight while the other oneΒ  is compassionate. Yet, they make an excellent team. Hats off to Ms. Joanna for her excellent work. There are twists and turns that will surprise you. I highly recommend it for reading. It deserves nothing less than a five-star.

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