Death of an Airman

Death of an Airman is now a British Library Crime Classics reprint, its author, Christopher St John Sprigg, being part of the Golden Age. He died, just shy of 30, fighting for the Republic in the Spanish Civil War in 1937. He published 7 detective novels.

Alongside Scotland Yard, the amateur detective in Death of an Airman is the Bishop of Cootamundra, Australia, on leave in Britain and taking the opportunity to learn to fly. Would make travelling around his diocese that much faster. However, the unfortunate victim happens to be his flying-instructor, a first-rate pilot. Fought in the Great War, you know. Only then, and in full view of quite a few people, he manages to crash an otherwise perfectly working plane. Most say suicide, for no reason that any can fathom, but the Bishop suspects foul play. Somehow.

First published in 1934, Death of an Airman impressed no less an authority on crime fiction than the crime reviewer for the Sunday Times: Dorothy L. Sayers.

I greatly enjoyed this novel. I liked the Bishop, the Inspector, and the various, eccentric supporting cast, particularly Miss Sally Sackbut, Manager of Baston Aero Club.


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