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The Norfolk Mystery by Ian Sansom

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

The first in what is a projected series of 39 books! One for each of the English counties no doubt. It is 1937 and Professor Morley Swanton, a famous author, employs a young, failed schoolmaster and disillusioned Spanish Civil War veteran, Stephen Sefton, to help him write a series of books entitled The Country Guides. The professor has a beautiful daughter whom I imagine will become the love interest in future books. For now we are briefly introduced to her. Research begins in the seaport village of Blakeney where the reverend is found hanging from the bell rope, Stephen has a brief fling, a young woman burns herself to death and the village assembles for a ‘sherry party’ … this is very much Agatha Christie/Dorothy L Sayers territory with the same period feel both in attitudes and clever dialogue. Nice easy reading, quirky and fun.

If you like Ian Sansom you might also like to read books by Agatha Christie, Alexander Mccall Smith and Tom Sharpe.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


The Norfolk Mystery by Ian Sansom

Love Miss Marple? Adore Holmes and Watson? Professor Morley's guide to Norfolk is a story of bygone England; quaint villages, eccentric locals - and murder! It is 1937 and disillusioned Spanish Civil War veteran Stephen Sefton is stony broke. So when he sees a mysterious advertisement for a job where 'intelligence is essential', he applies. Thus begins Sefton's association with Professor Swanton Morley, an omnivorous intellect. Morley's latest project is a history of traditional England, with a guide to every county. They start in Norfolk, but when the vicar of Blakeney is found hanging from his church's bellrope, Morley and Sefton find themselves drawn into a rather more fiendish plot. Did the Reverend really take his own life, or was it - murder? Beginning a thrilling new detective series, 'The Norfolk Mystery' is the first of The County Guides. A must-read for fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, every county is a crime scene and no-one is above suspicion!


Praise for 'The Norfolk Mystery': 'A delightful, idiosyncratic mystery set in the Thirties ... There is a touch of Sherlock Holmes and a dash of Lord Peter Wimsey, but the total is put together with a charm that is teasingly precious ... Beautifully crafted by Sansom, Professor Morely promises to become a little gem of English crime writing; sample him now
Daily Mail

'Sansom is both celebrating and sending up the golden age of detective novels when, in the 1930s, Dorothy L Sayers and Agatha Christie were the queens of crime ... A brilliant first outing that leaves you looking forward to the next maniacal mystery tour'
Mark Sanderson, Evening Standard

About the Author

Ian Sansom reviews regularly for the Guardian and the London Review of Books. His first book, The Truth About Babies, was published by Granta in 2002.

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Book Info

Publication date

23rd June 2014


Ian Sansom

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Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


336 pages


Crime / Mystery
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Crime & mystery



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