British Library Crime Classics

I’ve recently been given a whole load of books, first by our friend Eric and then even more by Peggy from the US. I had decided that I wasn’t going to look at any books whenever we went out anywhere, just so that I could concentrate on whittling away at some of my book piles.

But there is no hope for me, just as I had said that to Jack he came up to me in a shop to give me the news that he had found two British Library Crime Classic books, of course it was the lovely 1930s covers which had attracted him. So it’s his fault entirely that I added those ones to the ever growing piles. Both of them by Mavis Doriel Hay, I don’t even recall ever hearing anything about her, but I couldn’t resist them. They are Death on the Cherwell and Murder Underground.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, in another charity shop today he spotted Mystery in White by J.Jefferson Farjeon, now I have heard only good things of this one so I couldn’t pass up the chance to buy it.

As luck would have it we were both feeling a bit under the weather over the last couple of weeks and indeed the actual weather was not helping our moods either, so we both sort of read our way out of it, whilst totally ignoring everything else. Luxury. It’s wonderful to be able to read a book in a day! So I’m fairly ploughing through the book piles.

On another bookish note, we’ve been using our local libraries a lot since moving to a more rural location last year. There are several small libraries in villages a short drive from us and we had been hoping that using those ones and pushing their lending statistics up would mean they would be safer from closure. Honestly we did our best! But there gas been an announcement to the effect that Fife Council intend to close 16 libraries! I honestly never thought that so many would be under threat.

Those small libraries are often a sort of local hub and the only place where some people can get access to a computer. Primary schools won’t be able to take the children to library visits and that means that for a lot of them they just will never see the inside of a library as their parents are either too busy to take them, or just don’t have the inclination to do so.

I feel a campaign coming on!

On a happier note, if you are in the Kirkcaldy area then do yourself a favour and get along to the library and museum where The Great Tapestry of Scotland is on exhibition. We saw it when it was at the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh but went again yesterday, really as we were just killing time but I think I enjoyed it even more on the second viewing. The exhibition is on until the 20th of September.

6 thoughts on “British Library Crime Classics

  1. I was interested to hear about the Fife Cultural Trust being responsible for the libraries – that’s a different model of administration from here, where public libraries are run directly by the District/Borough Councils, funded by stipulated amounts of the General Rates charged to property-owners. Mind you, in the country areas around here, it can mean up to a thirty-mile trip to go to the library, but that’s just something that gets fitted in to the “trip to town” for general shopping and business. Schools have their own libraries, of course, for the children.
    Gorgeous book covers! And, I hope you and your husband are fully restored to health now.

    • Valerie,
      Thanks we are both back to normal now after having picked up a lurgy somewhere.
      The libraries always used to be run from money gathered through the council tax on property, so this Cultural Trust is new to me. I didn’t see anything wrong with the way things were run before and I suspect that this Cultural Trust just pays out large salaries to pen pushers with nice job titles, and the money should go to council services.
      The closures mean that mums and kids will have to take expensive buses to larger towns which still have a library, as dad usually has the car at work. I think they’ll just give up on libraries. The school libraries aren’t really up to much compared with a branch library.

  2. I was so happy to find the Crime Classics at a store here in Houston. I restrained myself & only bought two, Murder Underground and Mystery in White. Now that I’ve read Murder Underground, I’m going back to get Death on the Cherwell too!

    I’m sorry to hear about the library cuts. Keep us posted on the campaign!

    • Lisa,
      I will keep you posted, I’m sure there are lots of things they could cut back on before libraries, such as turning the heating down in council offices, they’re always like hothouses!
      I think those vintage crime books are going to jump right to the top of my reading queue.

  3. I love the covers on these books, but since I’m buying to read and am not keeping most books, I’ve been buying the crime series for my Kindle. I read The Santa Klaus Murder by Muriel Hay and Murder in White by Farjeon. I loved the latter and hope to read more of his books.
    Did you know this about Farjeon’s sister? Remember the Cat Stevens version? I even checked my sheet music copy to be sure it was the same. I thought you might find it interesting.
    “Today Eleanor Farjeon’s most widely known work is the children’s hymn “Morning has Broken”, written in 1931 to an old Gaelic tune associated with the Scottish village Bunessan.”

    • Joan,
      Thanks for the info, I didn’t know that about his sister although I remember her books from when I worked in libraries in the 1970s. I think we have Morning has Broken on a Cat Stevens album in the garage. I’ve been trying to weed out books which I will never read again but I always hold on to any vintage crime books.

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