The Two Hundred Ghost

A Sally and Johnny Heldar Mystery

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Pub Date 26 Nov 2020 | Archive Date 6 Jan 2021

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Description

The antiquarian bookshop at 200 Charing Cross Road is rumoured to have a ghost. Despite the scares and supposed sightings, Sally Merton is happy to go about her job as normal.

Rather than ghosts, her real concern is the ghoulish Mr Butcher. Rude and rough, Butcher has made more enemies than friends while working at the Heldar family’s shop.

But one evening, things become a little too suspicious for Sally’s liking. With no one else in the upstairs rooms, a spectre is spotted — the next morning, Butcher is found dead at his desk.

While Scotland Yard is called in to handle the case, Sally undertakes her own investigation with the help of Johnny Heldar.

Can the pair solve the mystery? Or will the supernatural overcome their sleuthing?


The Two Hundred Ghost was first published in 1956 and is part of Agora Books’ Uncrowned Queens of Crime series. This special edition includes 'The Mystery of Underrated Crime Writers', a foreword by Sophie Hannah.

The antiquarian bookshop at 200 Charing Cross Road is rumoured to have a ghost. Despite the scares and supposed sightings, Sally Merton is happy to go about her job as normal.

Rather than ghosts, her...


A Note From the Publisher

If you enjoyed reading The Two Hundred Ghost, we'd really appreciate seeing your honest review on Amazon. Thank you and happy reading, Agora Books.

If you enjoyed reading The Two Hundred Ghost, we'd really appreciate seeing your honest review on Amazon. Thank you and happy reading, Agora Books.


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ISBN 9781913099572
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Featured Reviews

This fun and light mystery was originally published in 1956, one of my favourite eras to read. I'm so happy there seems to be a resurgence in reviving and republishing such books! Whilst this book isn't full of tension and suspense, it is well written and well worth reading. There's just something so refreshing about it. Such an easy read, too. No plodding along. I read it in one sitting. A ghost is spotted by a few employees in an antique book shop in London, not exactly a usual occurrence. When a murder occurs, there are many questions...is there a link? What is the point, if any? How and when was the weapon taken? The list of suspects grows and the workplace becomes strained and we find appearances can be deceiving. Information is withheld from the police while Sally and Johnny, who both work at the shop, do investigating of their own which takes them on some twisty turns. One discovery was especially intriguing for me! Descriptions of old atmospheric buildings and old books grab my attention immediately so this is a great fit. The subplot is interesting as well, an ideal read on a very snowy cold November day. Those who enjoy cozy mysteries, especially those in this era, will enjoy this book. After reading it, I researched the author, Henrietta Hamilton, and happily discovered this book is part of a series! My sincere thank you to Agora Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of an ARC of this charming read in exchange for an honest review. Much appreciated.

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I hadn’t heard of The Two Hundred Ghost by Henrietta Hamilton before Agora offered me a free copy to review. Hamilton only wrote four novels, all between 1956 and 1959; and all featuring Johnny and Sally Heldar. Agora published Answer in the Negative earlier in 2020, as part of their Uncrowned Queens of Crime series; and have now issued The Two Hundred Ghost, the first in the series. Johnny Heldar is an ex-commando whose family own an antiquarian bookshop at 200, Charing Cross Road, an early eighteenth-century building. An old tale of a ghost has been revived and some of the women working there are on edge. Sally Merton, who works in the shop, is pestered by Victor Butcher, a deeply unpleasant and disliked colleague. The cleaning lady finds Butcher the next morning, dead with a knife in his back. The pacing is very good with the action taking place over ten days – time enough for the plot to develop and for us to register how various characters live by themselves, giving a sense of loneliness that so many people had post-war. It invokes the atmosphere of 1950s London very well. A thread involving valuable books that have gone missing from other booksellers is incorporated. There is a side-helping of romance as Johnny and Sally realise they love each other. It’s low-key, though – there isn’t even a kiss until, presumably, just after the last page. Henrietta Hamilton was a pseudonym used by Hester Denne Shepherd (1920-1995). After serving in the Wrens during the war, she worked in a London bookshop, selling antiquarian books. That insider knowledge does make the novel realistic. I think it’s great that Agora and other publishers are reissuing these books for a new audience and I really enjoyed The Two Hundred Ghost. It’s a gentle read and I finished it in a few hours. I thoroughly recommend it and I do hope Agora release the remaining two Hamilton books soon. #TheTwoHundredGhost #NetGalley

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Originally published in 1956, this was the first of four detective novels which Hester Denne Shepherd wrote as Henrietta Hamilton. As with "Answer in the Negative" which Agora Books recently put out in their Uncrowned Queens of Crime series, it features Sally (Merton) and Johnny Heldar. The murder here takes place in the premises of the Heldar family's antiquarian book business, and the background has the authenticity provided by an author who had personal experience of that trade. The story is relatively short and does not have a great deal of sleuthing, The professional police probe some of the animosities felt towards the murdered man and make an arrest. The amateurs look beyond that, and, partly by exploring the tale of a ghost in the building, stumble upon the solution. The writing shows a deft and light touch, making for very easy reading. There is a little romance and some good dialogue. The characterisation is vivid. Very recommendable to readers who enjoy well-written traditional detective novels. Thank you to NetGalley and Agora Books for the digital review copy.

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The ghost known to inhabit the Heldar’s antiquarian bookshop hasn’t been seen for many years. But oddly, it’s recently been sighted by several of the staff. One of the clerks, Sally Merton isn’t so bothered by these supposed manifestations as she is by the unwelcome advances of her unpleasant colleague, Victor Butcher. But Sally isn’t the only one to have an unpleasant confrontation, so when he is found dead, stabbed in the back at his desk, many at Heldar’s fall under suspicion. Sally’s situation gives her a prime view of the investigation, and in a position to help Johnny Heldar in finding the murderer. Originally printed in 1956, The Two Hundred Ghost is the first of four books written by Henrietta Hamilton, all featuring Johnny and Sally Heldar, and the second reprinted by Agora as part of their “Uncrowned Queens of Crime” series. Set in the world of 1950s London antiquarian booksellers, Hamilton introduces us to her crime-solving duo of Johnny Heldar, and Sally Melton. While we learn quite a bit about Johnny (partner in the family antiquarian bookselling business, served as a Commando experience in WWII) Sally’s history is never given, and she remains something of an enigma. Hopefully this will be fleshed out in the remaining two books. But, this does not mean that she is in any way subservient to Johnny in the investigation. With her valuable observations and insights, she takes a very active role in solving of the case, which is something of a rarity for the time. The police are convinced that someone in the shop is involved—and there are several viable suspects to consider. Because Butcher was universally unpleasant but had his pet targets in a shell-shocked book packer and a young, mentally limited messenger. But there is also the typist, who vehemently states her joy at his death, and the youngest Heldar, who’s knife is the murder weapon. Knowing the occupants as well as they do, as well as the routine in 200 Charing Cross Road, gives Sally and Johnny a leg up on the police in the investigation. And the recent theft of antiquarian books from other shops adds to the mystery. Was Butcher involved, and if so, did it lead to his murder? Hamilton provides the reader with all the facts in the form of motives, opportunity, and alibis. Although I will admit that in some instances there was a bit of repetition regarding information, it was never to the point that I needed, or wanted to skip over any of it. Much appreciation though for the tidbits regarding antiquarian books and their trade that Hamilton scattered throughout the story. The information provided an insight into that little seen trade, and taught me at least one word I’d never heard before…incunabula. I’ve been in something of a reading funk lately, and The Two Hundred Ghost finally got me out of it. Most well-read mystery readers won’t have any trouble working out the solution. But Hamilton still manages to provide an interesting surprise or two along the way. While this is by no means in the top tier of mysteries, it is quite well done, and a very entertaining read. Source - Review Copy (Agora Books via Netgalley)

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Ghostly Rumours And Murder.... 200 Charing Cross Road, an antiquarian bookshop and a ghost. Despite the ghostly rumours a real person is the brut of concern for Sally Merton. Namely one Mr Butcher. When said Mr Butcher is found dead suspects are numerous, Scotland Yard is called and Sally conducts her own investigation with the help of Johnny Heldar. The sometime amateur sleuths, Sally and Johnny Heldar, are both likeable and amenable and make an enjoyable duo and this is their first outing. Hugely enjoyable classic crime, fully entertaining with well drawn characters and an engaging plot. A very worthy reissue from Agora Books (and part of their ‘Uncrowned Queens of Crime’ series). Highly recommended.

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The Two Hundred Ghost is the first book in a short series by Henrietta Hamilton, featuring amateur sleuths Sally and Johnny. I was keen to read this 1950s murder mystery, having read and enjoyed another Sally and Johnny book, Answer in the Negative, when it was released by Agora Books earlier this year. This book is set in the world of antiquarian books and features a deliciously nasty victim and a properly twisty plot with an old labyrinthine shop and some ghost sightings. Quirky characters and sinister motives abound. A cracking little book which I thoroughly enjoyed. Five stars. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a review copy in exchange for honest feedback.

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A murder-mystery set in an antique bookshop featuring apparent ghost sightings and a developing background romance? What's not to love! As someone who adores Agatha Christie's mystery novels I went into The Two Hundred Ghost with quite high expectations and it truly delivered! Though originally published in 1956 ovetime Henrietta Hamilton's 'Johnny and Sally Heldar' series has been forgotten, which is honestly such a shame as this story was as good as any by the timeless Agatha Christie. I am very grateful to Netgalley and Agora Books for allowing me to read this gem of a sadly forgotten crime novel. One thing to be weary of when reading this story is the identity of the perpetrator. Though the reveal came as a complete surprise I can understand why a modern reader may find fault with Hamilton's murderer and the suggested reasons for why they committed their crime. However, this in no way impacted my enjoyment of the story and I overall found it to be a solid read. 4.5 stars

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A big thank you to Agora Books for bringing the fans of classic crime so many delights in the form of the excellent recent publications. Some of the authors, like Henrietta Hamilton, might not be household names like Christie and Sayers, but discovering them is indeed a bonus. This particular story is very clever and the reader is not treated as stupid. The plot moves along swiftly and the characters fit the time and setting. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to more being republished.

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This my second Johnny and Sally Heldar mystery, and they are great reads. The fact that it is set in an antiquarian bookshop in the 1950s, with lots of fascinating detail about how the shop is run, just adds to the enjoyment of the story. The characterisation is excellent and the story is excellent escapism into another time. I really hope the rest of the series is re-published.

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This is the second book I read in this delightful series and I loved it. It's a gripping and highly entertaining story, full of twists and turns that kept me hooked. John and Sally are a great couple and I loved how they put together the pieces and solved the mystery. I learned something new about ancient books and I loved the descriptions of the setting and the cast of characters. I can't wait to read the next installment as I want to read more by this author. Strongly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for my copy in exchange for my honest opinion. Loved the book, devoured it in one sitting, will most definitely read other books by this author. The writing is smooth and uncomplicated, read it one sitting. The story was entertaining, and it took me back to that era. Will continue to read the other books in this series.

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I enjoy vintage mysteries. This one was a pleasurable read, well plotted, with interesting characters, tight writing, and a few surprises. The setting is London, after the wars. Sally Merton works for an antiquarian bookseller housed in a very old building in London. The family owned business has several generations of the Heldar family running it, and a closely knit group of employees. There is one unpleasant man, who bullies the less assertive employees and is vaguely inappropriate with the female staff. When he is found stabbed to death, everyone is shocked but nobody pretends that he will be missed. But who killed him? It has to be someone familiar with the business which leaves the other employees nervous. And to add to the general unease, there are rumors of a ghost haunting the building. And more than one person has actually seen a ghostly figure. Is that connected with the murder? Sally and the owner's grandson Johnny want to clear their co-workers from suspicion so they begin their own investigation. The slightly devious plot and understated writing made this an enjoyable read. Thanks to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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A ghost story, a murder mystery, and a bit of old school romance? Yes, please. When a murder happens at the antiquarian bookshop where young Sally works, she and her charming boss Johnny must use their sleuthing skills to clear the names of their friends and discover the identity of the real murderer. A fun little romp of a story, very much a product of its time (the 1950s), this whodunit reads a bit like Nancy Drew for grownups. There's nothing especially deep here, and certainly nothing frightening, but this story is a nice bit of light crime solving that can be read in a day or two. This book is apparently the first in a series of four about the adventures of Sally and Johnny, though it seems that currently only the first and fourth books are widely available. The Two Hundred Ghost was first published in 1956 and the recent reprint is part of Agora Books’ Uncrowned Queens of Crime series. I hope they print all the books in the series.

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This is the first book of Henrietta Hamilton's 1950s British crime series where Sally and Johnny become interested in each other. It's an excellent story with suspense and excitement. Sally Merton works at Heldar's Antiquarian Books in London at 200 Charing Cross Road. There is an old rumor that there is a ghost in the building. Butcher, one of the men working in the company is not very well liked by the female employees. One afternoon he came into the store to hit on Sally and got a little closer than she liked. Fred, who works packing in the basement told Butcher to get his hands off her. Butcher was very angry with Fred for interupting. Later, one of the typists, Little Liza, gives a scream when seeing the ghost. The next morning shortly after Sally came into work, she heard another scream. Mrs. Brand had discovered Butcher dead in his office with a knife in his back. The knife belonged to Tim, the son of one of the Heldars, who was home from the university. The knife had gone missing the previous evening. It also comes out that someone else discovered the murder the previous evening, and the ghost showed again. The police arrive and begin questioning everyone. That afternoon, Sally goes to make tea, smells gas, and finds Fred with his head in the oven. It appears he thinks the police think he had something to do with the murder since he had had an altercation with the murdered man. Johnny Heldar takes care to see that Sally gets home okay and has someone watching over her. Then, he begins asking her to lunch and to dinner. Sally and Johnny Heldar begin investigating on their own, especially when Scotland Yard names Tim as the prime suspect. When Tim is arrested, Sally and Johnny really have to find the real culprit to get Tim out of jail. First they find a very valuable book has been stolen from a competitor, and then they realize that some of their books have gone missing, and somehow Butcher could be responsible. They wonder if the missing books are related to the murder? Can the solve the whole mystery before Tim goes to trial? I thank Crime Classics, Agora Books, and Netgalley for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Henrietta Hamilton's endearing debut novel introduces us to the bookshop at Two Hundred Charing Cross Road which specializes in antiquarian books and incunabula. For generations the shop has been owned by the Heldar family. One of the strengths of the novel is the poignant way in which the management and staff of the shop interact. It is the mid '50s and a way of life now extinct to us is beautifully drawn. Johnny Heldar and Sally return in further mysteries and I can't wait to read them. Agora books have once again found an almost forgotten classic and I can't recommend reading it highly enough.

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I have read and reviewed another book by this author, but when I sat down with this one, I realised I had not done any research. I was a little perplexed with the narrator being Sally Merton. I thought she was undercover since the previous book had her happily married, and here she was single. It took me almost till the end of the first chapter to figure that this preceded the other that I read! Now, I rated them both the same on Goodreads, but I think this is better than the other. Sally is a diligent employee of an antique book dealership. She works late and is fending off the advances of a boorish higher-up when others come to her rescue. During the initial narrative, we are smoothly provided all the required details of everyone who make up the ‘world’ of the book. Once the death occurs, Sally is thrown right in because she holds some salient facts to herself before the Police come by it on their own accord. As one after another people she likes and trusts are accused, she strives to find the solution. She is not alone in this, Jhonny, one of the bosses, helps her. Their romance is so sweet that I almost switched my focus on to them from the mystery. There is so little time spent in building up and describing their budding relationship, despite which it came to the forefront pretty strongly. I know they are married by the next book, but even if I did not have that info, I would have ‘shipped’ them. The mystery itself was straightforward, and I did not guess the culprit this time around. I followed the thought process of our lead pair and arrived at a conclusion at the same time as them. Truthfully speaking, they did not completely solve the mystery since the villain reveals themself. Sally and Johnny were pretty close, and they worked intelligently on the case, and I have to give them (and the author) the credit for it. I enjoyed the read, it was short and interesting throughout. My mind did not drift, and I read it in almost one stretch. I hope there are more releases from this series in the future. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Rating: 4 out of 5. I received an ARC of the reprint thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

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This is the first in the series of books by Henrietta Hamilton, her characters are mainly set around Johnny Heldar and Sally Merton before she became Johnny’s wife. The mystery is set in the bookshop where they are both working, Sally is front of shop and Johnny is one of the family who own the bookshop, There is one member of staff that nobody likes, Mr Butcher, he is rude, a bully and touches the female staff inappropriately, one evening he touches Sally and says something inappropriate and one of the other staff members hears it and tells Butcher to keep his hands and his opinions to himself, the next day Butcher is found stabbed to death in his office. Scotland Yard are called to investigate and all the staff are under suspicion, can Sally and Johnny get to the bottom of the mystery before the police charge the wrong person.

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This is the first book in the series and the second one I have read. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I love that Sally has just as much to add to the solving of the mystery as Johnny, sometimes even more. Considering when this was written, that is noteworthy. I can always count on my female golden age mystery writers to include, strong, intelligent females characters that don’t sacrifice their femininity in the process. I also enjoyed the other members of the Heldar family and staff. The family unity and quiet wisdom of the older members was so refreshing. Now onto the mystery itself. As is very common in this genre, the victim was so incredibly unlikeable that suspects abounded. I like how they just followed the evidence, without the benefit of modern technology. The ending did have a little bit of a pat “just in the nick of time” aspect to it, but it’s to be forgiven. The ending was so satisfying that it didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of it. Thank you to NetGalley and Agora Books for providing a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.

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The Two Hundred Ghost was first published in 1956 and is the first book in Henrietta Hamilton’s Johnny and Sally Heldar mystery series. The unusual title refers to 200 Charing Cross Road, the address of the antiquarian bookshop in London which is owned by Johnny Heldar’s family and said to be haunted by a ghost. Sally Merton is one of the booksellers in the shop; she is not yet married to Johnny when we first meet her and has been attracting some unwelcome attention from one of the male employees, Victor Butcher. Mr Butcher is an unpleasant bully, disliked by everybody who knows him, so when he is found dead in his office with a knife in his back, there are plenty of suspects…including the ghost, which is sighted in the building shortly before the murder takes place! This is a very short novel and the plot moves along at a steady pace, making it a quick and easy read; although, as with the other Hamilton novel I read (Answer in the Negative), I felt that there was a bit of repetition surrounding discussions of alibis, timing of events and layouts of rooms, this one has a better balance between these technical aspects of mystery-solving and the more ‘human’ aspects, such as motives and personalities. I didn’t guess who the murderer was, but I don’t think the author was unfairly holding back information from the reader and it may have been possible to solve the mystery if you were paying more attention than I was and didn’t miss any clues! Henrietta Hamilton (a pseudonym of Hester Denne Shepherd) worked in a London bookshop in the years following World War II and had personal experience of selling antiquarian books, which gives the novel a feeling of authenticity. Bookselling is not just a background to the novel, but an important part of the plot, and the author’s knowledge and interest in ‘incunabula’ (early printed books) comes through very strongly. I was pleased to find that Sally plays a bigger part in the investigations in this book than she did in Answer in the Negative and makes some important discoveries which prove to be turning points in the mystery – although, remembering that it was written in the 1950s, there’s always a sense that Johnny feels the need to protect her because she’s a woman. Still, both Johnny and Sally are characters who are easy to like and to care about; it was nice to get to know them before they were married and to see their relationship develop (although it does so quite subtly and their romance is only one small part of the story). Having enjoyed this book, I would like to meet the Heldars again – luckily, there are another two books in the series and I’m hoping they will be reissued soon too!

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This was like an early Christmas present. Set in the world of an established and traditional Antiquarian Book Shop, it will be a delightful read for anyone who loves books. The location reminded me of the many antiquated bookshops in buildings across several floors and properties, where I have spent many hours and I searched the many selves. I bring to mind shops,like a treasured one in Carnforth. Well the publishers have done the work for us in republishing forgotten authors and titles from the previous century. Thank you! Also no little praise should be offered to Sophie Hannah a knowledgable writer with a passion for such books. Her introduction makes one want to read on and discover a “new” author. Originally published in 1956 the decade I was born into, this is the first of a series of mysteries in and around the world of books by Henrietta Hamilton. The author’s real name is Hester Denne Shepherd but that was no greater help as I had never come across either name throughout my whole life of loving crime fiction. It seems a shame having cut my teeth on Agatha Christie’s mysteries as a teenager, other worthwhile books went unknown for lack of publication. At a time when books were books and no-one dreamed you could read one on a phone! This classic 50’s period murder mystery is a wonderful throwback to a less complicated time, when a physical copy of a book was almost priceless but as one character finds out for themselves, perhaps not worth dying for. At a time when you may think plot and dialogue were more predictable, I found to the contrary as this is both an engaging and complex thriller. The dutiful police have a number of suspects, but an arrest appears almost a crime solved, a guilty verdict at trial and a future appointment with the hangman. Strange times but a fascinating and quite engrossing read I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. The book throws up an unlikely sleuthing duo. An anxious but thoughtful sales assistant Sally, and one of her bosses Johnny Heldar. They make an interesting pairing who talk and plan actions to resolve the case. I loved the atmosphere; an old book perhaps but original in a number of ways. Misdirection, Withholding evidence, Lying to the Police and an official enquiry that reader’s have no insight into. I also liked the layered plot of stolen books; poor alibis and loose motives among several players. Having a victim who no-one likes is an author’s delight I feel. An old book is found in the shop telling of the haunted premises where the ghost may have reappeared and perhaps is involved in the new case. This is a clever subplot and is also cleverly constructed bringing uncertainty and a possible link to the present crime. I think reading should be about balance and learning from the past can help us all appreciate better what we have now and perhaps treasure books even more. See what you think!

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First published in 1956, The Two Hundred Ghost is an excellent example of the Golden Age of detective fiction. Written by Henrietta Hamilton who wrote four books in her Sally and Johnny Heldar series, of which this is the first. The title relates to the address of the antiquarian bookshop where the action takes place. It is a beautiful example of the genre, well written and with a manageable cast of characters which enable the murderer to remain well hidden, whilst the reader dashes around following red herrings all over the place. To my chagrin I had deep suspicions of a perfectly innocent man until the very end! The plot revolves around stolen books and the murder of an exceptionally unpleasant individual, who, quite frankly deserved everything that happened to him. Really addictive entertainment, I am delighted to say that Agora have reissued three of the four book series, all of which I have purchased. However the missing volume is book two and (as they include the first chapter at the end of this book), I am very hopeful that Death at One Blow will be reissued soon. Highly recommended.

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Thanks to Agora Book for a review copy. The Two Hundred Ghost is the first of four books in the Johnny and Sally Heldar series. (Agora Books published book four in the series earlier in the year as part of their ‘Uncrowned Queens of Crime’ season.) This novel is more of an introduction to the characters of Johnny and Sally than a fully fledged mystery but it is none the worse for that. The author breaks a number of Ronald Knox’s Ten Commandments for Detective Fiction and this could certainly not be considered a ‘fair play’ story but it is a delightful tale of mayhem and murder and a burgeoning romance in an upmarket antiquarian book store in London, owned by the Heldar family. The shop is alleged to be haunted by a ghost dating from the days when a pub occupied the site. Several members of staff claim to have seen the spirit and then one of their number is brutally murdered. Although the police undertake a thorough and competent investigation Johnny and Sally do some sleuthing of their own, getting to know each other better on the way. It is always nice to see the police portrayed as sensible (and sensitive) characters in detective novels featuring amateur sleuths and this is no exception. The inspector assigned to the case may not be the most imaginative but he is careful and tolerates the whims of Johnny and Sally with relative good humour. The solution, although satisfactory, does feel a little rushed but I think that the author did not really consider it to be the main focus of the novel as she wanted to shine a spotlight firmly on her two lead characters who were to return in future stories. In this she has succeeded admirably and by the end of the book we feel we know Johnny and Sally and will enjoy their company again when another dastardly deed need to be investigated. As a light read I found this thoroughly enjoyable and look forward very much to books two and three being re-released in the not too distant future.

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I had just started casting around for a Christmas Eve ghost story when I spotted The Two Hundred Ghost by Henrietta Hamilton on NetGalley. A classic crime novel set in a haunted bookshop sounded just the thing! Hamilton herself apparently worked in one of London's antiquarian bookshops for a while and she brings her experience of this environment to her book, creating an authentic location with a variety of interesting characters. This was in the days when an independent bookshop could easily support a dozen fulltime staff each of whom might have had the motive and opportunity to murder the unpopular Mr Butcher so Scotland Yard's Inspector Prescott has his work cut out to determine the culprit. While the murder investigation takes centre stage though, I appreciated Hamilton's scene-setting portrayals of post-war London. Hostilities themselves ceased a decade earlier, but unsafe bomb damaged buildings are still a common sight and no-one bats an eyelid at packer Fred's increased shell-shock agitation, indicating that his predicament was quite normal. I liked that The Two Hundred Ghost, named for the shop's being located at 200 Charing Cross Road, neatly combines the crime fiction staples of detective fiction and independent sleuths. I got some clues via Inspector Prescott's enquiries and others through Sally's insatiable curiosity. There is a fun hint of competitiveness between the two, especially once Johnny begins to assist Sally. This is the 1950s after all so obviously her discoveries would be taken more seriously if a man were to vocalise them! I didn't realise their chaste friendship was meant to be construed as the beginning of a romance though so this came as more of a surprise than the eventual unveiling of the murderer. I enjoyed reading The Two Hundred Murderer and this opportunity to discover Henrietta Hamilton's writing. It's great that publishers such as Agora are republishing these formerly lost classics for modern readers such as myself.

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I would definitely read more books by this author! I was drawn in very quickly and warmed to both Sally and Johnny as key characters. The mystery was very intriguing and there were plenty of interesting characters who maintained my character my interest. The relationship that was developing between Sally and Johnny was a good additional element without detracting from the mystery itself. The author steered us through a well written and suspenseful story. As well as being a hit for Henrietta Hamilton it was also another hit from crime classics who have introduced me to so many wrongfully overlooked writers. Long may this continue!

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A fantastic story from Henrietta, which I thoroughly enjoyed, Highly recommended. Now to read the next Crime Classic book.

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Thank you to Agora Books and Net Galley for this ARC. I am so grateful to publishers like Agora who are introducing me to some magnificent mystery writers who have been forgotten. This is the first in a great series. I read the last book first and so am really glad the first in the series has been released - hope the others in between are too. This story is a real page turner and will keep you guessing till the end!

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