Friday, 14 March 2008

Someone from the Past

The idea of a person reappearing from the past is a potent concept in a crime novel, and it’s been used time and time again – countless examples spring to mind, including Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey (a fine book that was also turned into a very good television serial some years back; I'll be posting about Tey herself soon.)

Someone From the Past was the title of the last crime novel that Margot Bennett wrote. It was published in 1958, three years after the clever and unusual The Man Who Didn’t Fly, which was a runner-up for the Crime Writers’ Association’s Award (now the Gold Dagger, or, if you prefer the current name, the Duncan Lawrie Dagger.) Nancy Graham investigates the death of Sarah Lampson, who has apparently been killed by one of her former men friends.

Someone from the Past actually won that CWA Award. Yet something extraordinary happened thereafter – Margot Bennett never published another crime novel. I find this a fascinating mystery in itself. More about Bennett (with some clues, but not, I’m afraid, a definitive solution to the puzzle) in another post shortly.


Karen (Euro Crime) said...

I've also got her listed with That Summer's Earthquake (1964) - I presume that's not a crime novel then? I can't find anything about it!

Anonymous said...

Strange coincidence: I am currently reading Nicola Upson's book "An Expert in Murder". I remember enjoying The Franchise Affair, Brat Farrar et al when a teenager. I think the school library even stocked Tey's books, maybe because of her more "respectable" historical writing, who knows the mind of a girls' school librarian? The book of hers that made the most impression on me (of course?) was The Daughter of Time, as Richard III was one of my teenage heroes. (I was a somewhat unusual girl among my contemporaries, I think, looking back -- though it all seemed quite normal at the time.)

Martin Edwards said...

Karen, I have a copy (somewhere) of That Summer's Earthquake, but confess I haven't read it. I was very disappointed to find it wasn't a crime novel. But she was a good writer, so I'm sure it is worth reading.
Maxine, I've just received the Upson book, but haven't started it as yet.