A Knife for Harry Dodd

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

Excellent series so well written brings you back in time ,The  story iis mysterious multi layered exciting characters come alive,I will  be reading other books in this series,#netgalley#agora
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Despite usually enjoying books by Bellairs I found this story harder to get absorbed in. The narrative was hard to follow at times and less gripping than previous books by the author. 
However, it did have good characterisation and an interesting twist. 
Not one I would recommend as an introduction to this author.
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This story moves with a really well- written cast of characters. Inspector Littlejohn is a regular in a long line of books and he puzzles things out by chasing the clues wherever they lead. There is a long, twisted, path of possible people with enough red-herrings to make it very enjoyable. I like the rural England shown in these descriptions written in 1953 and the Pub life in particular. The characters that hang out there...which Bellairs had a talent for developing-give life to this book.
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I would like to thank Netgalley and Agora Books for an advance reading copy.

Another great novel by George Bellairs.  I'd never heard of Littlejohn before but now I am hooked.  I'm looking forward to receiving the rest in the series.
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One of the better Inspector Littlejohn tales. A good old-fashioned yarn, without too many of the customary Bellairs asides. Bags of atmosphere, and red herrings abound.

If you like 'Golden Age' murder mysteries, this one is for you.
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I have read a few previous George Bellairs titles and have come to be fond of Inspector Littlejohn's method's of solving crime. I can't say that this was one of my favourite titles in the series but it still kept me reading until the end in order to finally ascertain who the culprit was. I will be reading more of this policeman's adventures!
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Traditional Mystery With Interesting Characters
August 23, 2019

As with the other Bellairs books, this is set in what we sometimes think was a simpler time - post-war, but well before the current day. Nonetheless, unchanging human nature means that people get themselves into complicated - and sometimes fatal - situations. Harry Dodd, generally a well-meaning and kindly person, is found dead. His life has been complicated since he lost everything associated with a nice middle-class life after his family found out about his affair. Living with his mistress and her mother (!) isn't a particularly happy arrangement, but on the other hand, now that things have settled down a bit, there doesn't seem to be anyone with a motive to kill him. Normally, the local police would handle this case, but an influential relative wants things cleared up fast, and has the Big Guns, Littlejohn and Cromwell, brought in to investigate. Of course, they unravel a situation that quickly proves to be far more complicated than it initially appeared to be. The plot and characters are well developed, providing an entertaining read.
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Wry, knowing and sanguine, Inspector Littlejohn has seen it all. Or so he thinks.

Harry Dodd’s life was more complex than anyone realised, and now he’s been ruthlessly dispatched.. Those around him try and thwart Littlejohn at every turn, which makes for a rollicking good mystery. Bellairs’ trademark dry wit is here in spades, showing his adeptness at balancing humour with a suitably complex plot. A worthy slice of 50s crime.
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I've read a couple of Bellairs' books, but I particularly enjoyed this one. A  man is stabbed on the way home from the pub, but who did it?  The man's complex private life unfolds through the book.  It must be said that this is a slow start, but as the plot moves on, it picks up pace.  In the end, it kept me awake to finish the book, I just had to find out the solution to the mystery.  Highly recommended.
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The more I read of George Bellairs the more I enjoy his books, even the ones that are not among his best. 
I haven’t read the Inspector Littlejohn series in anything resembling an order and each of the novels stands alone enough for this not to matter. But with each novel read, the character of Littlejohn and his steadfast sidekick Cromwell become slightly more defined and spending time with them becomes more and more enjoyable. 

But looking specifically at this book, the story is relatively straightforward but if I am honest, not one of his best plots. However, there are some unexpected or even slightly fantastical elements throughout and the story is carefully developed as the book progresses but it did feel a little more ‘procedural’ than most Littlejohn novels. That being said, there is a logic to the solving of the crime and a nice dovetailing of the various elements of the story, but that can be said about many crime novelists. What sets Bellairs apart from most of the crowd and what keeps me coming back for more is his characterisation, not just of the main protagonists but of incidental characters, imbuing them with sensitivity and pathos but more often eccentricities and importantly, humanity and humour.

Humour is a big part of the Littlejohn novels but the author does not go for cheap laughs, but equally his novels are peppered with jokes and surprises often emanating from his smaller characters. It is this that makes his stories richer and lifts him out from the crowd.
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Beautifully written with engaging characters; clever, involving and very witty.

I received a copy of this as part of the Crime Classics advance review team: my thanks to them, NetGalley and the publisher. My review is my honest opinion.
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Another great story from George, which I enjoyed immensely as I am with all of George's book. Highly recommended. Can't wait to read the next one.
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The details and the settings may be vintage in this George Bellairs mystery novel but the shrewd  observations of Detective inspector Littlejohn and nuances of the assorted characters are contemporary.  There is a subtlety of quirky detail in even a seemingly contrived plot development. I really enjoy the Ballairs series.
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A Knife for Harry Dodd is another Inspector Littlejohn adventure by George Bellairs. So far, I’ve enjoyed all the ones I’ve read. Harry Dodd is an agreeable, popular chap, who’s made a mistake. He had an affair with a younger woman and now shares a house with her and her mother, while leading a separate life. The women are generally disliked. Who dislikes Harry Dodd enough to kill him? That’s the mystery Littlejohn has to solve and the answer lies within the complicated relationships of the Dodd family. I liked this until the last chapter or so, when the solution seemed a little too pat. Bellairs is one of those crime writers being reprinted whom I think is worth the effort.
This was the most recent Crime Classics Club offering, which the publishers now make available through NetGalley.
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A Knife for Harry Dodd

This was my first Inspector Littlejohn novel and certainly won’t be my last. It is a great page turner, it pulled me in right from the start and keep me interested throughout. It kept me up reading late into the night. It commenced with an usual phone call from Harry saying he’s in need of help but when Dorothy and her murder discover he’s been stabbed and subsequently dies they’re in no hurry to contact law enforcement. Dorothy, her mother and many other characters are given country, almost hillbilly characteristics which bring a comic element to the story. At first one wonders who might want Harry dead but as the story unfolds we learn how greedy for power his family was. The plot thickens too when we realise that with the victim number rising it is possible that there could be more than one murderer on the prowl. There are a number of sub plots excellently interwoven to keep the reader enthralled throughout. The conclusion is well written and I was pleasantly surprised at how it panned out. I’m looking forward to reading many more of the Inspector Littlejohn crime series now that I’ve been introduced.
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Even though George Bellairs died nearly 40 years ago, his Inspector Littlejohn mysteries remain relevant and it's nice to see them being republished in a new format. This one is #21 in the series (there are nearly 60 books in all!) but they're all pretty much standalone stories that can be picked up at any point. If you love old-time British detective novels with a big cast of suspects, this one is for you. Thanks to Agora and Netgalley for this advanced copy.
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A Knife for Harry Dodd is another classic Bellairs murder mystery.  While the main character is Inspector Littlejohn, for a good bit of the story is involved with his Scotland yard sidekick Superintendent Cromwell.  He performs a heavy dose of the investigating but it is Littlejohn who in the end, figures out the culprit and explains the logic he used to reach his conclusion.  I think the is one of Bellairs' efforts for his murder mystery series.  Thoroughly enjoyable.  Like all of Bellairs' novels, it is light without graphic descriptions and the writing is suitable for the younger audience.
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Really enjoyed this book. It kept me interested all the way through. I would definitely recommend to a fellow reader. I like the cover as well.
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From an apparently simple beginning, the stabbing murder of Harry Dodd, Bellairs constructs an increasingly complex tale  of secrets and deception.
The reader is repeatedly led to see Harry, his family and associates, from one  perspective, only to discover a new set of facts which upend everything. As the plot advances in this shifting ,landscape, 
Bellairs’ depiction of character is deft and often scathing. His observations are enhanced both by sharply drawn physical description and dialogue.. interestingly,
Bellairs is something of a moralist, at least he plays favorites among his characters. He obviously dislikes some and is sympathetic towards others,  despite their human frailty.  
Overall, the book is well constructed and compelling; plot, character and intrigue keep everything moving until the end.
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3.75 stars

I am a fan of vintage mysteries, and Littlejohn's cases are always interesting. They are intelligently written and presume the reader to be paying attention.

In this instance, a family drama unfolds. Harry Dodd has been ostracized from his family (wife and grown children) after having a brief fling with his secretary. He loses everything, and ends up living in a cheap place with the secretary and her mother. Any romantic spark is long gone, and he escapes every evening to the local pub. One dark night he is stabbed on the way home.

When Littlejohn and crew start looking for suspects, layers of intrigue are uncovered. Is there another girlfriend down at the pub? And whose child is her little girl? What about Harry's business ventures? He is working on a secret project that could put his wife's family business in peril. And where did he find the money to make generous gestures to various friends?

More murders follow -- someone has something to hide. Enjoyable as always. Thanks to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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