Author : John Bude
Title : Death Makes a Prophet
Pages : 288
Publisher : The British Library
Publication date : July 10, 2017 (first published in 1947)
‘Small hostilities were growing; vague jealousies were gaining strength; and far off, wasn’t there a nebulous hint of approaching tragedy in the air?’
Welworth Garden City in the 1940s is a forward-thinking town where free spirits find a home – vegetarians, socialists, and an array of exotic religious groups. Chief among these are the Children of Osiris, led by the eccentric High Prophet, Eustace K. Mildmann. The cult is a seething hotbed of petty resentment, jealousy and dark secrets – which eventually lead to murder.
The stage is set for one of Inspector Meredith’s most bizarre and exacting cases.
There’s no getting away from this series lately. It seems quite a lot of people are talking about it and I’m not immune to a bit of FOMO. On top of that, these covers are so pretty that they’ll look magnificent on any bookshelf so yes, the cover love won big time in this case and I bought five of these in one go. I’m not sorry. The lovely Emma at Emma’s Bookish Corner suggested I start with Death Makes a Prophet and so my journey through the British Library Crime Classics began.
Set in the town of Welworth Garden City, the shenanigans of the residents were reminiscent of an episode of Midsomer Murders, which I absolutely adore. Chief among these are the members of the Children of Osiris, a cult also known as Coo. But life in the cult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. There’s an abundance of jealousy and rivalry, secrets and people pretending to be someone they’re not. And then there’s a murder.
Considering this story was first published in 1947, it has stood the test of time remarkably well. While I was worried I might find it a tad too old-fashioned, I actually found the change of pace incredibly refreshing and the setting absolutely delightful. It took me a while to get used to the writing style but I soon found myself completely engrossed.
It takes a while for the murder to happen and for Inspector Meredith to arrive on the scene but that didn’t bother me one bit. I thoroughly enjoyed the time the author spent on getting the reader acquainted with the cast of quirky and eccentric, yet quite realistic characters. The investigation into the murder is complex and highly interesting, with some twists I didn’t see coming. Every time I thought I had the whole thing figured out, the author very deftly guided me towards a dead end and I ended up suspecting everyone.
I thoroughly enjoyed this foray into the British Crime Classics and I very much look forward to my next read in this collection.
Death Makes a Prophet was published in July.