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CLASSIC CRIME | Daily Mail Online

CLASSIC CRIME | Daily Mail Online 2

CLASSIC CRIME

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DEATH OF A BOOKSELLER by Bernard J. Farmer (British Library £9.99, 256pp)

DEATH OF A BOOKSELLER by Bernard J. Farmer (British Library £9.99, 256pp)

DEATH OF A BOOKSELLER 

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by Bernard J. Farmer (British Library £9.99, 256pp) 

There are now 100 titles in the British Library Classic Crime Series, a brave publishing venture that has restored many unfairly neglected writers to the public domain. All praise to general editor, Martin Edwards, for his imaginative stewardship. 

Death Of A Bookseller is a worthy addition to the list. It turns on the murder of a dealer in rare books whose misfortune it is to possess a priceless first edition that some collectors would kill for. Assisting in the police investigation is Sergeant Wigan, a friend of the victim who is himself a bibliophile. 

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When circumstantial evidence leads to a wrongful conviction, Wigan sets out to save an innocent man and to find the real killer. 

What follows is a fascinating incursion into murky byways of the rare book market, where it seems there are no limits to avarice and skulduggery.

A SUNLIT WEAPON by Jacqueline Winspear (Allison & Busby £19.99, 320pp)

A SUNLIT WEAPON by Jacqueline Winspear (Allison & Busby £19.99, 320pp)

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A SUNLIT WEAPON

by Jacqueline Winspear (Allison & Busby £19.99, 320pp) 

As a private investigator, Maisie Dobbs is not easily deterred. When a wartime Spitfire is brought down, not by enemy action but by fire from home territory, there is no obvious explanation. 

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The pilot is a young woman responsible for delivering new aircraft to combat bases. Meanwhile, the arrest of a young U.S. serviceman for murder convinces Maisie that his colour will count against a fair trial. 

To cap it all, her American husband is preoccupied with the security of Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the president, who is on a morale-boosting visit. An assassination attempt is threatened. 

With so many strands, including Maisie’s adopted daughter having troubles at school, it is hard to anticipate a satisfying conclusion. But Jacqueline Winspear pulls it off brilliantly.

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JACK CARTER'S LAW by Ted Lewis (No Exit Press £12.99, 224pp)

JACK CARTER’S LAW by Ted Lewis (No Exit Press £12.99, 224pp)

JACK CARTER’S LAW 

by Ted Lewis (No Exit Press £12.99, 224pp) 

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The 1971 gangster movie Get Carter attracted a cult following for it and the novel that started the ball rolling. So Ted Lewis came up with a prequel every bit as hard-boiled as the original. 

Carter is the lynchpin holding together a crime syndicate that thrives on intimidation. Lewis makes no claims for Carter as a character deserving sympathy. 

Rather, it is his ruthless enforcement of jungle law administered with deadpan one-liners that keeps us on side. The stylised shoot-outs, ballet with bullets, are disturbingly memorable. 

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