Murder Most Vile

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Pub Date 5 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 31 Mar 2022

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The search for a missing artist draws Donald Langham and Ralph Ryland into London's criminal underworld, with deadly consequences.

London. April, 1957.
Private investigator Donald Langham is approached by retired businessman Vernon Lombard to find his missing son, Christopher. But what appears to be a simple case of a missing artist becomes far more alarming when Langham realizes there's more to Christopher's disappearance than meets the eye, and then makes a terrible discovery.

Meanwhile, Langham's business partner Ralph Ryland's search for a missing greyhound forces him to confront a shameful secret from his own past, with terrifying consequences. Can Langham navigate London's criminal underworld, fascism and deception to track down a killer and save Ralph's life?

The search for a missing artist draws Donald Langham and Ralph Ryland into London's criminal underworld, with deadly consequences.

London. April, 1957.
Private investigator Donald Langham is...

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EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780727850997
PRICE US$28.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 19 members

Featured Reviews

224 pages

5 stars

Don Langham and Ralph Ryland operate a private detective firm in 1957. Ralph is tracking down a missing champion greyhound, while Don takes on the case of a missing person.

Oh, if it were only that simple.

Vernon Lombard wants Don to find his missing adult son Christopher. Christopher is the apple of Vernon’s eye. He cares little for his daughter or his other son.

Christopher styles himself an artist, but his talent is certainly in question. Vernon hasn’t heard from his son for about four months. Don sets out to the artist's colony where Christopher was ;ast reported living. He is not there and hasn’t been for some time. He was “involved” with two of the women living there and all the residents agree that Christopher is not very likable and he is a hack artist. When Don visits the studio that represents Christopher’s art, he learns that they also think little of Christopher’s talent, but he sells very well. There is a reason for this

Meanwhile, Ralph fudges his report on the missing dog to save a young man’s reputation, and just possibly his life. He inadvertently runs into an old acquaintance that causes him much pain and stress. Ralph’s life deteriorates quickly after the chance meeting.

Don is working hard on his missing person case, and as Ralph’s missing dog is wrapped up, asks him to help.

The case turns very serious when Ralph’s past comes back to haunt him with a vengeance.

This book is well written and plotted as are all of Eric Brown’s novels. This is a fast read. I really like Don and Ralph and the adventures they get into are varied and interesting. Don and his wife’s relationship is charming. This is a great little series.

I want to thank NetGalley and Severn House for forwarding to me a copy of this delightful book for me to read, enjoy and review. The opinions expressed here are solely my own.

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Another great installment to this series. Part of a long running series, but perfectly fine as a stand-alone. An interesting view into the racial and political prejudices of the mid 1950’s. Ten years after the war, yet feelings still run high in terms of fascism and socialism. Scary parallels to today’s society. Fast paced with vivid characterizations of London in the 50’s. I enjoyed this very much.
Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for this advance copy.

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Rich In Character…
The ninth in the Langham and Dupre mystery series finds private investigator Donald Langham being approached by, former businessman, Vernon Lombard and entrusted with the finding of his apparently missing son and heir. A straightforward enough case, he feels, but is there more to this than meets the eye? Ralph, in the meantime, has his fingers in a decidedly dodgy and, perhaps, very dangerous pie. Another excellent addition to this superlative series, rich in character and detail and always with a fast moving, often thrilling but detailed storyline.

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This latest addition to the Langham & Dupré Mystery Series is a dark and violent tale centered around a dysfunctional family and its shady political shenanigans with Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists in the 30's.
A family's slow
descent into hell with its simmering hate, its sinister secrets, its undigested grudges & its poisonous sibling rivalries...

This time time around the story involves more Donald Langham and Ralph Ryland than Marie Dupré, as we follow the charismatic detectives who have been hired to find a missing artist, a search that will lead them very soon into a dangerous web of deceit and murder....

A captivating whodunit that deftly captures the London of the late 50's, superbly plotted with enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat and last but not least, blessed with a terrific cast of exquisitely drawn characters.
This was a magnificent read from start to finish!

Highly recommended and to be enjoyed without any moderation whatsoever!

Many thanks to Netgalley and Severn for this great ARC

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The latest installment in this series features a greater role for Ralph Ryland, Donald Langham's partner in their P.I. business. Although I enjoy Donald and his wife investigating together, I thought this was a good addition to the series.

Donald is approached by Vernon Lombard to discover the whereabouts of his missing artist son, Christopher. Although Lombard senior has three children - Christopher, Nigel and Victoria - he is nearing the end of his life and wishes to leave his money solely to Christopher. Lombard was a follower of Oswald Mosley and this allows the back story of Ryland to be filled in, as it emerges his own father was also a blackshirt and he got drawn into that politically extreme party before the war.

This mystery sees Donald and Ralph investigating artists studios, as well as links to the London underworld. I enjoyed the relationship between the two men and also enjoyed the Fifties London setting. This is an excellent series and one I will continue to follow. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.

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Very good mystery. The author has a knack for characterization. I enjoyed the setting descriptions and the mystery was good as well. Thank you, Severn House, for letting me read this ARC.

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London. April, 1957. Private investigator Donald Langham is approached by retired businessman Vernon Lombard to find his missing son, Christopher, what first appears to be a simple case of a missing artist becomes far more alarming when Langham realizes there's more to Christopher's disappearance than meets the eye, and then makes a terrible discovery. Meanwhile, Langham's business partner Ralph Ryland's search for a missing greyhound forces him to confront a shameful secret from his own past, with terrifying consequences.
This is the ninth book in the series & it could easily be read on its own. In this book Marie takes a back seat. Another well written book which captures London in the late 50’s & a simple case soon takes a turn & leads the private detectives from two simple cases into something far darker. A riveting read that I found hard to put down, there are twists & turns, strong characters plus a story that kept me on the edge of my seat
My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read

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Donald Langham is employed to find artist, Christopher Lombard, missing son of Vernon Lombard, known to Ryland's father. But at the farm commune Lombard has not be seen for some time. It would seem that the case is not as simple and straightforward as he hoped.
While partner Ralph Ryland investigates the case of a missing greyhound belonging to Arnold Grayson, he meets old associates from the past and his fathers' connection to the British Union of Fascists.
Soon a body is discovered. Ryland and Langham investigate, but what could be the motive and will there be more deaths.
An entertaining, well-plotted and well-written mystery. With its cast of likable and interesting main characters. Another good addition to the series which can easily be read as a standalone story.
An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Having not come across author Eric Brown before, I did a quick search, and Wiki told me that he was a prolific science fiction writer, and I immediately thought I must have got the wrong chap, but he is one and the same. His versatility in writing Golden Age-ish mysteries set in the 1950s as well as futuristic fantasies is to be commended, but after all, he was born and raised in Haworth which, if you are looking for literary connections, is as good a place as any, and better than most.

What is happening then, in Murder Most Vile? All too often these days, I am a late arrival at the ball and this is the ninth in a series centred on a pair of investigators in 1950s England. Donald Langham is a London novelist, who runs an investigation agency with business partner Ralph Ryland. Langham's wife, Maria Dupré,  is a literary agent. Here, Langham is engaged by a rather unpleasant and misanthropic - but very rich - old man named Vernon Lombard. Lombard has a daughter and two sons, and the favourite one of the two boys, a feckless artist called Christopher, is missing.

Old Lombard has history, and not a particularly salubrious one in terms of British politics in the 1930s. He was a fervent supporter of Oswald Mosley and his fascists, and while this years ago, it is to rake up uncomfortable memories for  Ralph Ryland when it emerges that the boss of a London brewery is also a pervert, a gangster - and, like Vernon Lombard - someone who longs for the glory days of the British Union of Fascists.

Langham and Ryland are an interesting team, with Langham the more urbane and middle class of the two, while Ryland's father was a London docker who was on what we now consider to be the wrong side of things during the infamous Battle of Cable Street in 1936, when Mosey's fascists went head to head with an opposing force of trade unionists, Jewish groups and communists, with the police trying to keep the sides apart. Out of loyalty to and, perhaps, fear of his father, Ryland was there that day,and what he saw - and did - has continued to haunt him, especially since he was among the Allied troops who liberated Belsen in April 1945 - a month that has special significance for some of the characters in this novel

What the pair uncover is that most poisonous of situations - bitter family jealousy. It transpires that Christopher Lombard's apparent success as an artist is due to his father buying up most of his canvases, and the other two siblings are not happy. There are abductions, murders and mysteries - and Eric Brown provides a clever plot twist which I never saw coming.

It's not always helpful to shepherd crime novels into genres, but I know that many readers are not comfortably retired like me, and the time they have for settling down with a good book is limited, and that is why they sometimes welcome a 'heads-up' as to what kind of book to pick up next. I would say that Murder Most Vile is cosy crime, but with a hard edge. It is also, I suppose, historical crime fiction, because, for some, 1957 is as far away as 1757 in terms of social attitudes and the trappings of technology. It might also be doffing its trilby to the world of bygone investigators - Paul Temple, certainly, with maybe just a hint of Bulldog Drummond. We have dead bodies, escapes from dungeons, powerful embittered and influential old men and  - essential to all private investigators - friends in police force. The bottom line, however, is that this is cleverly written by Eric Brown, and is well worth a few hours of anyone's time. Murder Most Vile is published by Severn House and is out now.

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This is the ninth in Eric Brown's Langham and Dupre murder mystery series. The setting is London 1957 and Don ald Langham, private investigator and sometime author has been approached by a wealthy, elderly retired businessman. Vernon Lombard's favourite son has disappeared and he wants Don to track him down. So begins a tense murder mystery which involves the nastiest of London gangsters and harks back to the Fascism of the 1930s which some wish to revive. My only gripe is that Don's wife Maria (Dupre) keeps quite a low profile in this one and Charles who is Don's publisher, a charcter I really liked, doesn't appear at all. It's still a great read though.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGally for sending me a digital copy of the book for review.

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Private Detectives Don Langham and Ralph Ryland are hired to find Christopher, the artist son of Vernon Lombard, a wealthy arms dealer in 1950's London. As this assignment progresses, Don and Ralph separately narrate their individual roles in the search for Christopher. Things turn nasty as their search turns into a murder investigation when the body of Christopher's brother Nigel is found. This is followed by another murder of someone close to Christopher. It's an ingenuous and engaging plot.

Ralph encounters some ghosts from his past which puts him in jeopardy as he is abducted by a thoroughly nasty fascist with plans to revive the British Union of Fascists that flourished in Britain in the 1930's.

This is the ninth in the Donald Langham series of detective novels set in 1950's Britain. It can easily be read and enjoyed as a standalone. In this installment, Ralph's role is prominent as his past life and youthful escapades are revealed. Don's wife, Maria plays little or no part in the investigation, a change from earlier books in the series. Don's experience in this story brings him to a crossroad in his future in his detective partnership with Ralph.

This is high quality storytelling with a satisfying conclusion. It's got plenty of colourful characters, though not all of them are nice or decent people. Scotland Yard Inspector Jeff Mallory is helpful to Don's investigation, playing against type of the bumbling and turf protecting policeman. London and the English countryside add an atmospheric sense of place. The story is set against the background of British society still recovering from the Second World War. There's the occasional bit of clunky dialogue, but that's little distraction to a well told story.

All in all, an excellent read and therefore recommended.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing a complementary advance reading copy for my review.

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This is an excellent series, one of my favorite historical mystery series and this is one of the best instalment.
The plot is complex, full of twists, and we get to know more about Ralph Ryland's past and how it's affecting the present.
The plot is full of twists and gripping, the historical background vivid as usual, and the characters fleshed.
It was a compelling and entertaining read, highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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Set in 1957 England, this is the 9th book in the Langham & Dupre Mystery Series. It is the sixth that I have read, and have loved them all. This book had a little different and darker tone that the other books, and Marie Dupre played only a minor role. The main characters are Donald Langham and Ralph Ryland who are partners in a private detective agency. It begins with the pair working separate cases. Ralph is working on the case of a missing greyhound. That case is quickly solved, but it brings him into contact with someone from his past, a past he has tried to forget and one that comes back to haunt him. Meanwhile Don Langham is hired by elderly businessman Vernon Lombard to find his missing son, Christopher, an artist. This leads Don to a rural artist’s colony which was his last known address. Nothing Don learns paints a flattering picture of Christopher or the other members of the Lombard family. It also gets him no closer to finding the missing man who had recently left the colony for parts unknown. He enlists Ralph’s assistance as the investigation ranges between London and the countryside and what appears at first to be a simple case soon leads to danger and murder. The author as always weaves an excellent mystery along with an authentic sense of the time and place. It also captures the fanaticism and violence between the political extremes of the far right and far left. I received this ARC ebook from NetGalley and Severn House in exchange for an unbiased review.

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