Vintage Books' Clara mentioned the writer Gladys Mitchell on Twitter this morning, and the name rang a faint bell so I looked her up. She was certainly prolific - look at the list of her books here - and variable (see this 'best to worst' catalogue headed by When Last I Died), while this article brands her "a mad combination" of Dorothy L. Sayers and Agatha Christie, and goes on:
'The Spectator described her as a "tiresome old trout" whose mannerisms were the most trying in detective fiction, but many adored her work. Her murder cases have ambiguous solutions, and an air of the supernatural is never entirely banished from them. Her plots are on the farthest side of credulity, but to worry about realism is to miss the fun of her storytelling. In Merlin's Furlong, a necromantic don runs a coven of witches. In The Mystery of a Butcher's Shop, the victim is minced into sausages and hung from hooks.'
It concludes, 'a flawed gem can still sparkle'.
Vintage are currently running a competition to win a selection of cosy crime classics with some of Gladys Mitchell's books included, so you may like to throw your name in the hat for that, but meanwhile, have you read her, and if so, what would you recommend?