My Forgotten Book for today is The Murder on the Burrows, which in 1931 launched the long and pretty successful career of E.C.R. Lorac. For a debut novel from the Golden Age, it stands up to present day scrutiny rather well, There are a few awkwardnesses about the writing, admittedly. For instance, I think she confuses the ranks of superintendent and sergeant. What's more, the chap who was to become her series cop, Inspector Macdonald (sometimes called Chief Inspector in the story) is given the first name James, although he became Robert in later books.
Overall, though, the story is a good one, and it gets off to a swift start when two men discover an apparently abandoned motor car on the Burrows at Bideford Bay. (This area was a favourite holiday spot for the author). The car proves to contain a dead body inside it, though it soon becomes apparent that the crime was committed elsewhere.
When Scotland Yard is called in, Macdonald focueses his inquiries in London. The dead man had a Russian name, but in reality he was an Englishman who had become a Communist. Lorac does not dwell on the political aspects of the story, but the deceased is treated rather sympathetically. My impression is that her politics were, at least at this point in her life, left of centre, though I doubt she was one of those Golden Age writers who flirted with Marxism. But there's a liberal flavour to her work in the 30s.
Lorac was keen on music, and this is evident when a classical pianist enters the story. Macdonald is roughly in the Inspector French tradition of persistent, if likeable cop, though the fictional detectives who are name-checked are Poirot and Lynn Brock's Colonel Gore (who at that time was much better known than he is today). Macdonald needs to return to the Burrows to resolve matters, and all in all the story is neatly constructed. If you could find a first edition of this rare novel in a dust jacket, it would be worth a great deal of money. Lorac has been a collectible writer for some time, and this is a rare title. But I'm glad I managed at least to track down a second hand reprint.