Customer Reviews


31 Reviews
5 star:
 (7)
4 star:
 (12)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (7)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'New' Crime Writer!
I'm always on the lookout for Golden Age crime and this book was recommended by the best - DL Sayers

It isn't perhaps in Sayers' league and the plot wasn't as puzzling as Christie on top form; but the characters were engaging and the outcome satisfying. I'll certainly read others by this author and others in the British Library Crime Classics collection
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mavis Should Have Stayed Underground With This One
Here's how the publisher (British Library Crime Classics/University of Chicago Press Books) describes Murder Underground, republished for the first time after nearly eighty years.

"If you were suddenly found to be murdered, would your friends have theories about who had done the deed? Well, when the wealthy and unpleasant Miss Pongleton meets her end on the...
Published 2 months ago by Red Rivere


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'New' Crime Writer!, 6 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm always on the lookout for Golden Age crime and this book was recommended by the best - DL Sayers

It isn't perhaps in Sayers' league and the plot wasn't as puzzling as Christie on top form; but the characters were engaging and the outcome satisfying. I'll certainly read others by this author and others in the British Library Crime Classics collection
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gentle journey, 10 May 2014
By 
J. R. Toll (South London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A refreshing glimpse back into a much more gentile time, but still maintaining a very reasonable plot line. Good manners and a very relaxed lifestyle seem to be the norm here: people being concerned about paying the extra penny for an extended Underground journey, for example! The interest in the characters maintaining their correct behaviour tended to rather distract me from the plot a little but I found that that just added interest and enjoyment for me. Not a "Classic" by any means, but buy a ticket and enjoy the ride.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mavis Should Have Stayed Underground With This One, 7 Oct 2014
By 
Red Rivere (Home on the Range) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Murder Underground (British Library Crime Classics) (Paperback)
Here's how the publisher (British Library Crime Classics/University of Chicago Press Books) describes Murder Underground, republished for the first time after nearly eighty years.

"If you were suddenly found to be murdered, would your friends have theories about who had done the deed? Well, when the wealthy and unpleasant Miss Pongleton meets her end on the stairs of Belsize Park underground station in Murder Underground, her housemates--though not particularly grieved--have plenty of guesses at the identity of the killer. While they're airing theories, events arise that unexpectedly enable several of them, including Tuppy the terrier, to put them to the test.

This novel from the golden age of British crime fiction is sure to puzzle and charm fans of Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie and Josephine Tey."

This blurb gives a few hints of what I didn't like about this novel. Most notably, the murder of Miss Pongleton--she is strangled with a dog leash--is treated in that flippant "Murder? What fun!" style that used to set Raymond Chandler's teeth on edge. Now, okay, you can say Chandler was an old sourpuss, if you want, but, actually, I did find the attitude in this book a bit unseemly, considering the sort of murder with which it deals.

The murder victim, along with her surely quite brutal murder and the surely quite unpleasant finding of her body, are described at second hand--decidedly anti-climactic--but Miss Pongleton doesn't even sound like she was all that objectionable. Artistically, it seems to me, if you are going to kill off an old lady via strangulation with a dog's leash and then adopt an "amusing" attitude about it, you should at least make the old lady really horrible.

This novel is almost entirely conversation, with very little descriptive or contemplative passages. Its main interest of the book lies in its portrayal of boarding house life. There are a couple landladies, rather good, and a whole parcel of "bright young things," quite tiresome.

Hay seems more interested in having people talk about the murder investigation than in actually depicting the murder investigation. For most of the book the police are referred to, but never seen. It felt like this was Hay's way of getting around not knowing how to portray a police investigation, which struck me as unsatisfactory. We don't even really get much in the way of amateur detection. There's a lot of blather about Miss Pongleton's poor artistic nephew, Basil, being suspected for the crime (he was her heir and had only a small allowance from his people so was hard-up), as well as hoo-hah about Miss Pongleton's missing pearl necklace; but for me it was tedium.

This is the kind of English mystery where a character you are meant to sympathize with says, when told Miss Pongleton might have been contemplating marrying a businessman named Slocomb (the bright young things call him "Slowgo"--they also call the landlady Miss Waddilove, "Waddletoes"), "Do you mean he thought she might marry him? I suppose it's possible. One hears of such things. He's not a gentleman, but old ladies do sometimes run off the rails."

Then there's Hay's portrayal of Mamie Hadden. a woman Basil "picked up" to attend a motion picture with him (really). We get a lot in her scene about her excessive makeup, questionable accent, painted fingernails and "artificial silk" clothes. Hay seems more outraged about the existence of people like Mamie Hadden wearing artificial silk than she does about, well, murder.

As one genteel character says of the murder, "Really dreadful! There's never been anything of the kind in the family before; it's so--so--demeaning!"

Of course the one servant in the book is always sniffling and snuffling and speaking in such heavy Cockney it's slow going (for an American, anyway) deciphering what's she's saying.

The murder in itself has no academic interest, despite the presence of two diagrams and a family tree (all unnecessary).

Will Murder Underground "puzzle and charm fans of Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie and Josephine Tey" (why not, incidentally, Ngaio Marsh and Margery Allingham while we're at it)? Maybe it will some, but it didn't me. Maybe Hay got better in her second and third books.

Adapted from my 17 November 2013 review at my blog, The Passing Tramp
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Best off left in obscurity, 14 July 2014
By 
R. A. Cookson (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Murder Underground (British Library Crime Classics) (Paperback)
What looks like a promising and exciting read turns out to be poorly written and difficult to follow. There is a reason that posterity consigned this title to the dustbin of history - and that's where it should stay. A shame, as the BLCC series is laudable (and I am enjoying the Cornish Coast Murder far more)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars period piece, 13 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Murder Underground (British Library Crime Classics) (Paperback)
I found it fascinating - very dated of course but then it's interesting to see how the mystery novel started out and developed. It's a bit wordy but the characters are well-drawn and it's easy to read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Save your money!, 16 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Murder Underground (British Library Crime Classics) (Paperback)
Found this book really boring and couldn't bring myself to finish it. Usually force myself to finish all books I pick up but couldn't do it with this. The plot doesn't flow that well and there are so many characters to keep up with.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I am glad I persevered, 5 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The style of writing was at first difficult to adapt to and the pace is slow. It is a classic whodunit with a the usual twist at the end. I am glad I persevered
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun in classic style, 22 Oct 2014
By 
Saracen's Bob (Norfolk, England) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a very satisfying little mystery tale. A wealthy genteel lady of 'a certain age' comes to a grisly end on the circular staircase of a 'deep' underground station in London. Few people use the stairs (there are a lot of them!), Miss Pongleton uses them because she has a fear of lifts. This idiosyncrasy provides the opportunity for her murderer to perform the dirty deed.
But whodunit? As the tale unfolds the evidence points more and more to Miss Pongleton's hapless heir - the impoverished, happy-go-lucky and feckless Basil. His bizarre behaviour on the day of his aunt's demise is problematic. His attempts to provide himself with an alibi become ever more convoluted.
It's all very nicely done with some good characterisation and it kept me turning the pages. Three-quarters of the way through you will probably have your suspicions as to the culprit but that won't spoil your enjoyment of the denoument.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great fun, 9 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This a period piece and the dialogue is very much of its time and authentic.

The story tootles along at a medium pace and you can guess 'Who done it'. However, it is entertaining to go with the flow.

Would be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys a classic period mystery.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars I can't understand the reviewers who find this boring! The story romps along and while various people ..., 19 Sep 2014
This review is from: Murder Underground (British Library Crime Classics) (Paperback)
I can't understand the reviewers who find this boring! The story romps along and while various people become suspects although they are clearly innocent, there is a very satisfying 'baddie' whom you know must be guilty. The suspense lies in waiting for ages for him to be rumbled, but by the end several people are converging on him from different angles. The characters have entertainingly comical names like Pongleton and Plasher. The book is quite short and therefore easy to get through in a couple of evenings. The style is simple, clear and unpretentious. This book is well worth its place among the British Library's reprints. I withhold one star as it is quite simplistic compared with the crime fiction of more sophisticated contemporaries like Leo Bruce or Dorothy L Sayers.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Murder Underground (British Library Crime Classics)
Murder Underground (British Library Crime Classics) by Mavis Doriel Hay (Paperback - 31 Mar 2014)
£6.29
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews