Book Review: The Case of the Famished Parson (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #15) by George Bellairs

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Ipso Books
Publication Date: April 17th, 2016
Pages: 207, Kindle
Source: NetGalley

Dr. James Macintosh, the Bishop of Greyle, was a mysterious man; for a long time, nobody even knew his last name. But things take a turn for the bizarre when his body is found emaciated and battered having being pushed face-first off the edge of a cliff…

Inspector Littlejohn faces an incredibly peculiar case. How to explain the savage murder of a gentle Bishop? Did he know too much about the secretive citizens of Cape Marvin, the seaside resort of his murder? Or did the reason have something to do with the strange family he had left behind in Medhope?

Above all, why was the Bishop’s body so undernourished that death by violence won out by only a few days over death by starvation?

The Littlejohn mysteries are like comfort food. You know you’re going to get a solid police procedural with quirky characters, great descriptions, and a satisfying mystery.

In The Case of the Famished Parson, published in 1949, Britain is still under post-WWII rationing. Littlejohn and his wife, Letty, are on vacation at a seaside resort. This turns into a busman’s holiday for Littlejohn, after fellow hotel guest and Bishop of Greyle is found dead at the local golf course. Who wanted to kill the bishop, when he was close to starvation anyway?

Littlejohn and Cromwell investigate and the mystery is brought to a satisfying close.

One thing that has stood out for me, in the couple of these that I’ve read so far, is that Bellairs seems to include a description of roadkill in each book. These are unpleasant little jolts in otherwise lovely stories.

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