Prince’s College, Cambridge, is a peaceful and scholarly community, enlivened by Prudence Pinsent, the Master’s daughter. Spirited, beautiful, and thoroughly unconventional, Prudence is a remarkable young woman. One fine morning she sets out for Suffolk to join her cousin Lord Wellende for a few days’ hunting. On the way Prudence encounters Captain Studde of the coastguard – who is pursuing a quarry of his own. Studde is on the trail of a drug smuggling ring that connects Wellende Hall with the cloistered world of Cambridge. It falls to Prudence to unravel the identity of the smugglers – who may be forced to kill, to protect their secret
There were elements of ‘The Incredible Crime’ that I really really loved and elements that I wasn’t so keen on. My interest was thoroughly piqued when I learnt that Lois Austen-Leigh was the great-great niece of Jane Austen and like her famous aunt, she can weave a good story together.
Prudence Pinsent, our main character is sassy, bold, beautiful and can swear like a sailor. Her days are spent surrounded by the learned, educated professors and scholars of Prince’s College, Cambridge and she has certainly learnt to hold her own among such company. I liked her, she grabs life by the balls!
Cambridge and life in the college are described to perfection, you really get a true sense of the grandeur and intelligence that walk the corridors. Suffolk is our second setting and this too is beautifully described. And that good old country manor house theme is used wonderfully.
At times for me, this book did seem a little disjointed. It jumps around a fair bit, one moment your reading about Prudence then the next chapter will be following another character. I would just get in the flow of one person’s story then the tale would switch to someone else. The smuggling mystery also wasn’t really a main feature of the book, there doesn’t seem to be much unravelling of who is involved, it just seems to happen without much investigating.
Despite the fact I felt the book was a little all over the place whilst reading, I did enjoy it. ‘The Incredible Crime’ is entertaining, funny and sits well within Golden Age crime fiction. I would happily read more from Lois Austen-Leigh so hopefully The British Library will re-publish some of her other work.
BOOKISH CORNER RATING – 3/5 STARS
Lois Austen-Leigh was the author of four mystery novels published in the 1930’s which have been out of print for over 70 years until the publication of this new edition. Austen-Leigh was the great-great niece of Jane Austen.
‘The Incredible Crime’ is out in paperback on the 10th May, published by The British Library. With thanks to Abbie at The British Library for my copy.
If you enjoy ‘The Incredible Crime’, then you’ll also enjoy:
‘Death On The Riviera’ by John Bude
‘The Lake District Murder’ by John Bude
‘Death On The Cherwell’ by Mavis Doriel Hay