Cover Image: Death in Room Five

Death in Room Five

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This book finds Inspector Littlejohn out of his usual England/Scotland Yard setting.  This time, he is in France on a holiday--or at least, that was the plan.

This is another splendid mystery in the Golden Age tradition.  Littlejohn is a member of a group touring the French Riviera.  When one member dies suddenly, Littlejohn is asked to lend his skills to a solution.  There are twelve suspects, and the author gives us a good chance to meet all of them, and follow Littlejohn’s efforts find the killer using his British methods, before the French authorities take it over.  Littlejohn not only needs his detective skills to solve the case, but also lots of diplomacy to deal with the differing perspective of his French colleagues, the directives of his Scotland yard superiors, and the considerable apprehensions of his British co-travelers.  He is time-limited in his efforts, which adds extra suspense to the story.

There are suspects, motives and opportunities in abundance.  This is a tightly plotted story with a lovely French Riviera atmosphere surrounding it all.

I found this a most enjoyable read.  My thanks to author, publisher, the George Bellairs Literary Estate, and NetGalley for providing an advance copy to read and review.
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George Bellairs writes a tense mystery set in France with twists and turns back to the War Years. An Englishman named Alderman Dawson was stabbed, while Inspector Little John is on vacation with his wife. That leaves a group of English Tourists stranded and clamoring for Scotland Yard. Inspector Littlejohn is assigned to work with the French Police and unravel the facts.

Each of the characters have a background with things to hide and do a good job of it, until- the Inspector decides to visit their hometown in England on a day trip. Within the course of the investigation the murder becomes increasingly confusing but worse...will more murders occur? Littlejohn must race the clock to try and prevent more happening.

One of the best parts of the Littlejohn Series by Bellairs are the characters after the War years.  Blustery, desperate and coy Women, mixed with unhappily, browbeaten, or bullying men. I think the Author excels in a temperamental mix of old and young English. At times I can almost feel I know these people. The Landscape is rich in detail and has a voluminous appeal with vacationing French and the middle-class English. The English are touring in a scenery that has turned into a nightmare for them. Bellairs never disappoints me...although I favor some of his more English background works, this is a good mystery. I recommend this one for its description of the inner working of the police force in 1955 and for those of us who love this age of Mysteries.
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"Death in Room Five" is one of the Inspector Littlejohn of Scotland Yard series.   In it, a group from a small English town are taking a free trip to the French Riviera thanks to a wealthy benefactor.  On their first night in Cannes, one of the group--Alderman Dawson who is also the town's former Mayor--is stabbed.  The victim asks for Inspector Littlejohn, who happens to be vacationing on the Riviera with his wife.  Littlejohn reluctantly goes to Cannes only to find that the victim has died.  The village vacationers, speaking little or no French, insist that Littlejohn work with the French police to solve the crime.  The villagers' antics and attempts to appear sophisticated are especially funny.  Evocative descriptions of the 1950s French Riviera, combined with a classic British mystery, add up to an entertaining book.
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Chief Inspector Littlejohn and his wife are on holiday on the French Riviera, but he is called to help with a investigation when the murder victim just before he dies asks for Littlejohn. It seems a group of people from Bolchester are on holiday, but who would want to kill this seemingly popular man, But this is not the last of the murders. Time is running out for Littlejohn to solve the cases before the French police take over.
The plot moves at a good pace as we get to know about all the people involved and their connection to the victim, exposing their motives and all the red herrings.
An enjoyable well-written mystery
Originally written in 1955.
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A good read for fans of the Golden Age. Red herrings, dodgy French accents, and bags of atmosphere, it's all there! 

George Bellairs is known for his asides, and 'what happened' next, which can be irritating as they break the barrier between story and reader, but fortunately, the author manages to avoid his asides in this novel.
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George Bellairs does it again!  Brilliant plot, wonderful characters and Chief Inspector Littlejohn on top form.  What more could a liver of Classic Crime novels want?  This is one of the best Bellairs stories that I have read.  Please please republish all of the Littlejohn books.
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Who DIDN'T do it?

What does an English alderman, a French barkeep, and an unscrupulous young urchin have in common? They're all dead.

Death in Room Five is a classic English mystery with Inspector Littlejohn once more trying to take a holiday. And again, being called to work while his long-suffering and perhaps too patient wife, takes in the scenery on her own.

When William Dawson is found on the beach dead, it is discovered that every person in his traveling group has a motive to do away with him. But when other unrelated people keep turning up dead, the waters at Cannes are muddy indeed.

This Littlejohn Mystery, while still a good one, does move at a slower pace, perhaps in keeping with the laid back atmosphere that invites one to sit in the shade with a good glass of wine. It is baffling indeed, to try to ferret out the murderer amongst so many people who hated Dawson, with good cause. As tricky as that is, there is logic to the chain of clues that point to the solution.

The other mystery is where did the title, "Death In Room Five" come from?
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I was delighted to be given a copy of Death in Room Five by NetGalley for review purposes. George Bellairs has become my absolute favourite author of detective stories for the very good reason that he never lets you down. His Inspector Littlejohn novels are always meticulously plotted - I have yet to guess the killer before the final denouement and I consider myself to be pretty good at following clues in general .

Poor Inspector Littlejohn has taken his wife to the French Riviera on holiday, to be honest I don't know why as murders always occur and his poor wife is left to holiday alone whilst he solves the case - she has to be the most patient wife in the history of the world! This time the victim is an Alderman who, on the surface appears to be both respected and admired but, once Littlejohn starts his investigations, the reader discovers that this is not the case. 

George Bellairs writes really beautifully, his  cast of characters are always well drawn and fully fledged, they have realistic traits and his sense of humour comes through - although the case is murder it is not a depressing or harrowing tale.

Bellairs was a prolific author even though until his retirement he worked full time as a Bank Manager. Despite the fact that he was only writing part time, his plots are always original and I have never come across one that I didn't enjoy. I am hopeful that all his works will be republished, I will definitely read them all and I will continue to sing his praises . Very highly recommended to all who enjoy novels from the golden age of detective fiction.
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Poor Inspector Littlejohn can’t have a holiday away with his long suffering wife without murder falling at his feet.

A party of British tourists on a coach holiday to the French Riviera from Bolchester, a small northern industrial town, find themselves in trouble when one of their group is stabbed and dies in the local hospital whispering something that sounds like a code from his time helping the Resistance during the war.
Alderman Dawson was, outwardly at least, an upstanding member of the community but, as always in these excellent mysteries, all is not as it seems.

Littlejohn is without his loyal Sergeant in this installment, although he does get a brief mention on a flying visit back home, but his place is amply filled by a delightfully eccentric French Policeman named Dorange of the Nice Police.

This has a nicely claustrophobic atmosphere akin to an Agatha Christie holiday mystery, with everyone holed up in a hotel in foreign parts desperate to get home.The characterisation and description of surroundings is excellent, as I have come to expect from Bellairs, and the differing policing styles of the two officers made for good contrast.

I recommend this book without hesitation and look forward to more.
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Chief Inspector Littlejohn has a problem - his holidays so often turn into a busman's holiday! This time, he and his wife are in the south of France, anticipating a pleasant holiday in spite of the post-war currency restrictions. Post war conditions come into play again when one of a group of English tourists is found dying from a knife attack. He had been active in the area during the War - according to the stories he told back home, he was quite the hero, but local partisans had a different view of his activities. But he may have had other enemies - he, and everyone on the tour, came from the same small town; one of those so often found in Bellairs' books, with many undercurrents hidden by their superficial propriety. Someone is influential enough to arrange for Littlejohn to assist the French police, and yet again, his vacation is ruined!

This particular adventure has a more intricate plot than some of the other novels in the series, with plenty of red herrings. There was one bit that didn't quite ring true for me, but on the whole, the author has played fair with the reader - the solution to the mystery is obvious once Littlejohn reveals it, but well-hidden earlier on. As usual, the details of the setting and minor characters give a flavour of what the place and the people were like back in the 1950s, which is a bonus when reading books written and set in earlier times. 

Overall, this is another light and entertaining read for those who like the older, classic type of detective story.
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This was a very entertaining mystery with a good cast of characters. Alternating between an appealing French Riviera setting and small town England in Athens 1960s there were good twists, an enjoyable police inspector and a satisfying, didn’t guess it solution
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I love George Bellairs' mysteries and I think this the best I read so far.
It's fast paced, with a complex plot full of twists and turns, and unputdownable.
Inspect Littlejohn is at his best and the cast of characters is well thought and interesting, each of them with secrets and something to hide.
The mystery is solid, full of twists and red herrings, and it kept me guessing til the last turn that came as a surprise.
This book aged well and the description of the historical background is interesting.
I look forward to reading the next Bellairs' book.
It was an excellent read, strongly recommended.
Many thanks to Agora Books and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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This book is a little different from a lot of Bellairs' other mysteries.  I wasn't sure I was going to like it at first because it seemed to get bogged down with useless interviews with the potential suspects, and there are a lot of them.  However, about 1/4 of the way thru the book, the plot got more interesting.  It takes place in France where the inspector is again on holiday with his wife when one of a party of vacationers is murdered.  This book has more of the action with Littlejohn himself and little with his favorite sidekick, Cromwell.  If you read it, don't give up on it too soon.  The ending is a surprise.
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"Death in Room Five" is a mystery that was originally published in 1955 and is set in France and England. The characters were described with a humorous touch, especially as the British vacationing in France thought the French behaved oddly. They didn't want to cooperate with the French police, so Inspector Littlejohn was taken from his vacation in France to question the suspects and determine whodunit.

Inspector Littlejohn followed up on obvious leads and questioned many people, slowly uncovering possible motives and actions until he was finally able to put it all together. There were clues, and the reader can guess whodunit, though I was never completely sure I was right since there were several strong suspects. The mystery was more complex than I expected. There were no sex scenes. There was a fair amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting mystery.
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I found the atmosphere and background of this book fascinating. This mystery brings back post-war France with 
questions on who betrayed whom during the war and old scars that never go away.  Part of the challenge of this mystery was deciding what were red herrings and what were not. The author did a great job of keeping you guessing for most of the book.
A member of a tour group from England is murdered and no one is sure if it is because of his war history, or his actives back in England. Poor Littlejohn has to give up his vacation  in France to solve the crime.  He not only has to deal with the diplomatic issues, but also has to travel back to England to the village where all the members of the tour group lived. 
The author did a great job of contrasting the two cultures and environments and how those factors affected the investigation and solution. There characters were well defined. I really enjoyed this mystery for those factors and that they made it difficult to figure out for sure "Who done it".
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Not my first of George Bellairs' Inspector Littlejohn books ,this is the one where he meets Inspector Dorange of the Nice police.St on the French Riviera where Littlejohn is on holiday with his wife.
A British holidaymaker is  murdered and Littlejohn is asked to investigate, The victim an Alderman back home was involved as an Army liaison officer with the French Resistance during the war,and an indiscreet liaison with a frenchwoman led to the resistance group being betrayed and all but wiped out by the Germans.The French examining magistrate is initially sure that this is a revenge killing but lack of evidence and two further killings lead the authorities to suspect that one of the group of travellers from a small British town of whom the victim was one is the more likely culprit.
They all appear to have cast iron alibi's and this strange motley class conscious group are appalled to think one of their number could be to blame 'We're British for God's sake' much easier to blame a 'foreigner'.It takes Littlejohn some time chasing red herrings false leads and lack of information but all is revealed at the end and I for one didn't see it coming though to be fair neither does Littlejohn and he has to be quick on his feet to avoid another tragedy.
As with all Bellairs books this is well written craftily plotted and if it is a little dated and of its time its all the more interesting for it.A proper old fashioned police detective novel and a smashing read.
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This is a very good classic crime.  Littlejohn spends awhile gathering details, and then suddenly has everything solved in an exciting ending.  

Littlejohn and his wife are on vacation in Juan-les-Pins on the Mediterranean Sea.  Shortly after he arrives he gets a call that an Englishman has been stabbed in Cannes.  Littlejohn goes to the hospital in Cannes, and finds Alderman Dawson from Bolchester in England in Room Five.  He dies just as Littlejohn arrives.  Dawson was part of a group from Bolchester who were on a bus trip and staying at a house in Cannes.  Dawson had been in the Maquis during the war, and told some secrets to a woman in the group who turned out to be a spy.  At first the police thought someone local may have murdered him, but soon Littlejohn realizes it must be someone in the travel group, none of whom seemed to like Dawson.
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Chief Inspector Littlejohn is on holiday with his wife in France when the body of an Englishman in a tour party is found. 

Who has killed Alderman Dawson and why?

Littlejohn has no option to give up the peace & relaxation of the French Riveria to assist the local police with solving this crime.

First published in 1955 Death in Room Five is an excellent "old fashioned" murder mystery from the pen of George Bellairs and one get I thoroughly recommend
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classic-crime, international-crime-and-mystery, law-enforcement, France, post-WW2

CI Littlejohn of Scotland Yard is suffering from too much publicity. He and his wife just wanted to have a little vacation in the south of France but he is accosted by his countrymen at the behest of a man who was stabbed. By the time they get to the hospital the man has died and the French police claim no need to investigate. This proves to be a ruse to chase off the civilians as the police are well aware of Littlejohn's reputation. And so it goes with more loosely related murders and tiresome tourists. But in between we are treated to vivid descriptions of the countryside and other scenery. Of course the mystery is well crafted and most interesting, just as I expected!
I requested and received a free ebook copy from Agora Books via NetGalley. Thank you!
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Littlejohn’s vacation on the French Riviera with his wife is interrupted by the murder of an English Alderman who was on a tour with other residents of his home town, and it’s pretty clear throughout that Littlejohn resents the interruption. Quite a number of decent red herrings to sort through before the mystery is solved. Enjoyable read.
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