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Shadows Before (Golden Age Detective Novels) Paperback – 15 Jul 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 191 pages
  • Publisher: Rue Morgue Press (15 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 091523081X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0915230815
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.5 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,322,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LFJ Hardwick on 8 July 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a disappointment: expecting a traditional detective story with good 1930s atmosphere, I found it full of Americanisms which utterly destroyed any sense of an English setting.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This whodunit should be made into a television movie! 17 Jun. 2008
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
Dorothy Bowers was just establishing herself as one of the golden age mystery writers when she died of tuberculosis at the young age of 46. Her Inspector Dan Pardoe novels ended with the fifth, and she was elected to the prestigious Detection Club in 1948, shortly before she died. She was among the first women accepted to Oxford, and earned a degree in Modern History in 1926. She was also a crossword puzzle author, as well as earning her keep as a substitute teacher.

Professor Matthew Weir stood trial for the poisoning of his sister-in-law in 1937 and was declared not guilty. But suspicion lingered, so he packed up his family and moved to a house near Oxford. His wife is ailing, and a "companion" is called in to assist. Mrs. Weir enjoys picking herbs and preparing her own tea. But she is poisoned by her own tea, which brings Chief Inspector Dan Pardoe and Detective Sergeant Salt from Scotland Yard to investigate. They don't think that Professor Weir killed his wife and sister-in-law, but someone did, and just who benefits becomes the unifying factor:

"'Since we've aired the dangerous subject or murder,' Augustus went on, 'there are one or two things I would remind you of, Mr. Pardoe. After that, perhaps I may be left in peace to finish the octave of my sonnet. The first thing,' he placed one elegant forefinger against the other, 'is that with the death of Mrs. Weir my brother becomes a poor man and will undoubtedly be compelled to leave Spanwater. Therefore his dependents also become poor. Secondly, it might be both humane and expedient to discover why my nephew is a passionate upholder of euthanasia. He is an orphan..."

Authors from the "Golden Age" of mystery writing are known for two characteristics: the exquisite flow of their writing, and the 'whodunit' factor. Dorothy Bowers was a master in both areas. Her writing is sublime, and as soon as the reader fixes upon a suspect, deftly introduced by Ms. Bowers, that suspect is debunked either by becoming a victim, either alive or dead.

Ms. Bower's use of character and setting is also masterful, and the setting itself becomes part of the execution of the murder. She doesn't shy away from using the elements to build suspense, and of course this puts Scotland Yard to the test. It is a shame that Ms. Bowers couldn't have lived longer and given us more of a collection. But the little that she did will endure for those readers who appreciate the masters of crime. This whodunit should be made into a television movie!

Shelley Glodowski
Senior Reviewer
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Golden mystery from the Golden Age 17 Nov. 2013
By PlaysInTheDirt - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm delighted to have discovered the five novels of Dorothy Bowers. I liked all of them, and I think they will appeal to any reader who enjoys Golden Age mysteries. I'm surprised I had not heard of Miss Bowers earlier. Glad to see these back in print.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An excellent read. I was quite pleased to find the ... 22 Feb. 2015
By CPL - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent read. I was quite pleased to find the last 3 books by Dorothy Bowers. I had Fear and Miss Betony and Postscript to Poison (her first and fourth books). I enjoyed Dorothy Sayers books so much, and have reread many of them. It's wonderful to find an author whose books are as well written and interesting. It's a case of quality over quantity. Jane Austen only wrote 6 books and one was published after her death.
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