Death Makes a Prophet
Mystery crime fiction written in the Golden Age of Murder
"The 'stranger in a strange land' premise works really well in this revived mystery...Bude infuses the tale with comic commentary throughout." —Booklist
'Small hostilities were growing; vague jealousies were gaining strength; and far off, wasn't there a nebulous hint of approaching tragedy in the air?'
Welworth Garden City in the 1940s is a forward-thinking town where free spirits find a home—vegetarians, socialists, and an array of exotic religious groups. Chief among these are the Children of Osiris, led by the eccentric High Prophet, Eustace K. Mildmann. The cult is a seething hotbed of petty resentment, jealousy and dark secrets—which eventually lead to murder. The stage is set for one of Inspector Meredith's most bizarre and exacting cases.
This witty crime novel by a writer on top form is a neglected classic of British crime fiction.
A new religion becomes a hive of intrigue, culminating in murder, in this entertaining entry, first published in 1947, in the British Crime Classics series. Despite the book's detective, Inspector Meredith, being largely offstage and the killing he investigates not occurring until about halfway through, Bude (1901 1957) easily sustains interest as he wryly describes the Children of Osiris, a faith "compounded of a belief in magic numbers, astrology, auras, astral bodies, humility, meditation, vegetarianism, immortality, hand-woven tweeds and brotherly love." The cult quickly expands and becomes profitable, leading its founder, widowed bookseller Eustace Mildmann, to create the position of Prophet-in-Waiting, who is to serve as his chosen successor and help with the increasing administrative duties. After the charismatic and flamboyant Peta Penpeti, who has a closet full of skeletons, fills that role, the stage is set for multiple schemes aimed at making Penpeti's position more secure. A crafty set of final revelations ensures that the delayed gratification pays off for whodunit fans. Mystery buffs will want to seek out more work from this golden age author.