Murder in the bud - Phyllis Bottome

When Hilda Fenchurch heard the familiar jarring whiz of the electric bell, she lifted her heavy-lidded eyes sullenly from her typewriter, and stared fiercely at the glass partition between her and the outer doorway, saying to herself, “If this is another of them, I’ll go mad!”

Ah, you may think this is just another 1930s murder mystery that I have picked up…and you may be half right about that.

The thing is, I have no idea if this is a murder mystery as such. The title might hint at this, but I really don’t know. In fact, I know very little about this book – and judging by the first chapter it might actually be more of a romance (tho with some liberal social criticism thrown in – yes, I already like her style) than a story of suspense and murder.

What I do know, however, is what makes me excited to have started this book tonight: Murder in the Bud was written by the writer who allegedly taught Ian Fleming to write.

Yes, we can argue whether she should be credited with or even applauded for that, but she is the author of a book called The Life Line which is alleged to be the template for Fleming’s Bond novels.

Obviously, this book I have just started is not The Life Line. There is a very good reason for that – all of Bottome’s books are out of print and I am not spending hundreds of £ on one of the few copies that are still available. It would be interesting to read, for sure, but all I want to know at this point is what her writing style was like. (And then maybe look into how one could view a copy at a library…).

So here we have it. I’m excited.


Original post: