Thursday, 22 December 2016

Mystery in white by J Jefferson Farjeon

Mystery in White was written by J Jefferson Farjeon who is little-known today but was an important writer during the Golden Age of murder between the two world wars.  The book was first published in 1937 and subtitled A Christmas Crime Story. Farjeon published more than 20 novels including No 17 which was made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock who called it Number Seventeen.

The story starts on Christmas Eve when the 11.37 train leaves Euston Station in London during a snowstorm.  The train eventually comes to a halt and a group of passengers decide to leave the train to walk to a nearby village.  Eventually they come to a house with lights shining from the windows.  The door is unlocked so they go inside to find fires burning and a table set for tea.  This is a disparate group consisting of a chorus girl, a clerk, an elderly bore, Mr Maltby from the Royal Psychical society and a brother and sister. The characters are well drawn and develop during the book.  Tensions arise as the book progresses and the characters realise that something awful has happened near the house. As the book is set in the 1930s the lack of modern technology adds to the feeling of being completely cut off from the outside world. The characters cannot get any help and so must fend for themselves.

I enjoyed this book - it was well written and I was fascinated how Mr Maltby managed to put all the various clues together to solve the mystery.   If you enjoy books by Agatha Christie or Dorothy L Sayers you will enjoy this book.

This is one of the books I am reading for A Literary Christmas Challenge.


  1. Sounds interesting! I'll have to see if my library has it, and put it on my list for next Christmas.

  2. I keep hearing about this vintage mystery. I hope to read go ahead and read it sometime this year!