Friday 30 January 2009

Forgotten Book - Gory Knight

Gory Knight, my latest contribution to Patti Abbott’s series of forgotten books, was published in 1937, not long after the appearance of Dorothy L. Sayers’ renowned Gaudy Night. It’s a parody, written by the partnership of Margaret Rivers Larminie and Jane Langslow.

The story parodies the celebrated detectives Hercule Poirot, Lord Peter Wimsey (and his manservant Bunter), Reggie Fortune, Dr Thorndyke and Inspector French – although the French character appears only in the final stages of the book .The sleuths gather, by improbable means, in an English country house, and are immediately greeted by the disappearance of the cook (the eponymous Ms Knight.)

It’s a fun book. The plot is slight, and perhaps stretched out too much, but there is much pleasure to be had in the rendering of the eccentricities of Poirot, Wimsey and Bunter in particular. I was glad to stumble across it – initially in the pages of Jamie Sturgeon’s catalogue. Jamie sold the book before I called him, but he referred me to another crime fan, the locked room expert Bob Adey, who was able to supply me with a copy.

There is an intriguing family connection between Larminie and a leading contemporary writer, Margaret Yorke. I hope to write an article about this aspect of the story at a future date. But I know nothing about Langslow. If anyone can tell me anything about her, or about how the book came to be written, I’d be very interested to hear it.


pattinase (abbott) said...

This sounds like lots of fun. Thanks, Martin.

Anonymous said...

Martin it's Dr. Priestly, not Thorndyke! Vicary/Priestly, Vicar/Priest. Rhode gets so few moments nowadays, we must give him his due! ;)

Martin Edwards said...

Of course! Thanks, Curt. As a good detective fan, you will realise this error is evidence, good enough to convict, of my incipient senility!