Post After Post-Mortem: An Oxfordshire Mystery by E.C.R. Lorac @BLPublishing British Library Crime Classics #Murder #Mystery #BookTwitter

60387540Author: E.C.R. Lorac

This Addition Published February 2022 by British Library Publishing

Category: Murder, Mystery, Police Procedural, British Detective


The Surrays and their five children form a prolific writing machine, with scores of treatises, reviews and crime thrillers published under their family name. Following a rare convergence of the whole household at their Oxfordshire home, Ruth – middle sister who writes ‘books which are just books’ – decides to spend some weeks there recovering from the pressures of the writing life while the rest of the brood scatter to the winds again. Their next return is heralded by the tragic news that Ruth has taken her life after an evening at the Surrays’ hosting a set of publishers and writers, one of whom is named as Ruth’s literary executor in the will she left behind.

As the successful, high achieving and literary Surray family gathered at their home in the Oxfordshire countryside, unusually all at the same time, the eldest, Richard, was worried about his sister, Ruth, and her state of mind. She seemed tense and wasn’t sleeping well. Richard, as a psychiatrist, thought a holiday would do Ruth good and suggested this to their mother. Their plans were never finalised.

On Ruth’s later return to the family home to host a literary gathering, she was found dead in bed one morning, along with medication for insomnia, a revised will and a goodbye note. The coroner recorded a verdict of suicide on the evidence presented, but a letter written by Ruth to Richard, delayed in the post and arriving after her death, made Richard question the verdict. Ruth appeared to be happy and wanted to meet up with Richard in the week. This put a whole new light on matters and Richard decided to contact his friend Chief Inspector Macdonald.

Richard Surray looked at the lean, clear-cut face of the Chief Inspector and met the glance of his observant grey eyes. When he had first talked to Macdonald he had liked him, liked his clear, straightforward intelligence, his humanity and his anxiety to have a job done properly, without reference to his own personal prestige. Watching him now, Surray knew that there was an element of ruthlessness too, in that clear mind. Macdonald was not the man to let sentiment interfere with his job.

It didn’t take long before Macdonald was convinced there was more to Ruth Surray’s death. He agreed to help Richard and take on the case on the proviso it was done by the book with full disclosure. His job was made all the more difficult by people reluctant to talk openly or lying for their own reasons, some from a concern they might cause more distress. Macdonald, however, felt justice was more important than the sensibilities of potential witnesses, although he was quite considerate in his approach and wouldn’t let his personal feelings affect his judgment.

Post After Post-Mortem is another wonderful addition to The British Crime Classics. I enjoyed getting to know Macdonald a little more and also the police procedural aspect. There were many plausible suspects, motives, twists and red herrings throughout the well devised plot. As always, there was a strong sense of place with very good in depth characterisations. I felt it was a little drawn out in places but that didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story.

My thanks to The British Library for my review copy.


Edith Caroline Rivett (who wrote under the pseudonyms E.C.R. Lorac, Carol CarnacCarol Rivett, and Mary le Bourne.) was a British crime writer. She was born in Hendon, Middlesex (now London). She attended the South Hampstead High School, and the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London.

She was a member of the Detection Club. She was a very prolific writer, having written forty-eight mysteries under her first pen name, and twenty-three under her second. She was an important author of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.


2 thoughts on “Post After Post-Mortem: An Oxfordshire Mystery by E.C.R. Lorac @BLPublishing British Library Crime Classics #Murder #Mystery #BookTwitter

  1. So glad you’ve become a member of the ECR Lorac fan club! What I also like about them is that they are all so different from each other. This one felt to me like the more psychological novels that came along after the golden age, with the likes of PD James and Ruth Rendell.


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