The name E.R.Punshon doesn’t often feature in the blogosphere, but he was a prolific crime writer, turning out more than 50 books, roughly in the Golden Age tradition, and having overlooked him for years, I decided to give him a try. So my Forgotten Book for today is his 1934 title Death among the Sunbathers.
Punshon is most commonly associated with a series character, the policeman Bobby Owen, who features in this book in a rather untypical way. The starting point for the investigation is the murder of a young woman journalist. She has been shot, and her body left in a burning car.
The story-line takes the police to a sunbathing colony, which is described with some rather pleasing satire. Punshon, whose work was much admired by Dorothy L. Sayers, was a decent writer, and his characters were more clearly defined than those of some of his duller contemporaries.
The snag with this particular book is that the mystery plot and the cast of suspects did not really appeal to me. There is a shift of focus halfway through the book which paves the way for a neat twist, but unfortunately matters were prolonged in such a manner that I’d figured out that twist some time before it was finally revealed. Quite an interesting novel, simply because of its touch of unorthodoxy, but I suspect Punshon was capable of better.