Hopjoy Was Here

(A Flaxborough Mystery Book 3)

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Pub Date 22 Mar 2018 | Archive Date 05 May 2018

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Description

The gripping sight of four burly policeman manhandling a bath down the front path of a respectable villa isn’t one the residents of Flaxborough see every day.  

Net curtains twitch furiously, and neighbours have observations to make to Chief Inspector Purbright and Sergeant Love about the inhabitants of 14, Beatrice Avenue.  Nice Gordon Periam, the mild-mannered tobacconist, and his rather less nice (in fact a bit of a bounder) lodger Brian Hopjoy had apparently shared the house amicably. 

But now neither man is to be found and something very disagreeable seems to be lurking in the drains… Then a couple of government spooks turn up, one with an eye for the ladies – the drama is acquiring overtones of a Bond movie!  

Witty and a little wicked, Colin Watson’s tales offer a mordantly entertaining cast of characters and laugh-out-loud wordplay.

The gripping sight of four burly policeman manhandling a bath down the front path of a respectable villa isn’t one the residents of Flaxborough see every day.  

Net curtains twitch furiously, and...


Advance Praise

What people are saying about the Flaxborough series -

“Colin Watson wrote the best English detective stories ever. They work beautifully as whodunnits but it's really the world he creates and populates ... and the quality of the writing which makes these stories utterly superior.”

“The Flaxborough Chronicles are satires on the underbelly of English provincial life, very well observed, very funny and witty, written with an apt turn of phrase ... A complete delight.

If you have never read Colin Watson - start now. And savour the whole series.”

“Light-hearted, well written, wickedly observed and very funny - the Flaxborough books are a joy. Highly recommended.”

How English can you get? Watson's wry humour, dotty characters, baddies who are never too bad, plots that make a sort of sense. Should I end up on a desert island Colin Watson's books are the ones I'd want with me.”

A classic of English fiction... Yes, it is a crime novel, but it is so much more. Wonderful use of language, wry yet sharp humour and a delight from beginning to end.”

“Colin Watson threads some serious commentary and not a little sadness and tragedy within his usual excellent satire on small town morality and eccentricities.”

“Re-reading it now, I am struck by just how many laugh-out-loud moments it contains. A beautifully written book.”

“As always, hypocricy and skulduggery are rife, and the good do not necessarily emerge triumphant. Set aside plenty of time to read this book - you won't want to put it down once you've started it!

“Colin Watson writes in such an understated, humorous way that I follow Inspector Purbright's investigation with a smile on my face from start to finish.”

“If you enjoy classic mysteries with no graphic violence and marvellously well drawn characters then give the Flaxborough series a try - you will not be disappointed.”


Editorial reviews –

“Watson has an unforgivably sharp eye for the ridiculous.” New York Times

“Flaxborough is Colin Watson's quiet English town whose outward respectability masks a seething pottage of greed, crime and vice ... Mr Watson wields a delightfully witty pen dripped in acid.” Daily Telegraph

Arguably the best of comic crime writers, delicately treading the line between wit and farce ... Funny, stylish and good mysteries to boot.” Time Out

 “A great lark, full of preposterous situations and pokerfaced wit.” Cecil Day-Lewis

One of the best. As always with Watson, the writing is sharp and stylish and wickedly funny!” Literary Review

"The rarest of comic crime writers, one with the gift of originality." Julian Symons

 “Flaxborough, that olde-worlde town with Dada trimmings.” Sunday Times 



What people are saying about the Flaxborough series -

“Colin Watson wrote the best English detective stories ever. They work beautifully as whodunnits but it's really the world he creates and...


Available Editions

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Featured Reviews

Excellent! I'm really enjoying these classic mysteries

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Number 3 in the Flaxborough Chronicles finds Detective Inspector Purbright tangling with the Intelligence Services . What follows is a neat spoof of the sort of espionage novel which was common in the paranoia-filled era of the Cold War.

The plot is full of cross and double-cross. Who has been murdered? Has anyone been murdered?
Are many of Flaxborough’s worthy inhabitants part of Hopjoy’s network? Or does their seemingly odd behaviour have more innocent explanations?

Although this has its amusing-and macabre- moments, I did not think it was as successful and entertaining a tale as those found in the first two instalments in the series. There were moments of high farce but also times when the momentum stalled.

Nevertheless this was an enjoyable read, full of good writing and gentle laughs.

Thank you NetGalley and Farrago for the advance digital review copy

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First published 60 years ago in England, the Flaxborough Chronicles feature Inspector Purbright in the quiet town of Flaxborough. This third outing of Purbright has the Inspector looking into the mysterious disappearance of a boarder in a local household. An anonymous letter arrives at the police station tells of a loud altercation in the house, and when constables go to check on the inhabitants, no one can be found. But there are plenty of forensic clues - blood stains, acid burns, odd substances in the drains, something buried in the garden... Whatever happened, the police hope some of these traces will lead to answers. The government has even sent two agents in to assist with the investigation, so it seems the locals will get some help.

Readers have already met some of Purbright's fellows on the force: Chief Constable Chubb, Detective Sergeant Love, Sergeant Malley the coroner's officer, among others. But now there is an addition to the cast of characters, Mr. Warlock from the forensic science lab. Remember, this is no modern CSI or NCIS installation, but their ancestor of 60 years ago. Drain contents can give rough answers, but not clear enough to solve things. But Purbright continues as he always does, with quiet persistence and an understanding of the inhabitants that serves him just as well as all the skills the government agents have at their disposal. After all, what do they know about busybody neighbors, odd pilferage, pool sharks, and betting parlors? Their forte lies in eastern European interrogation techniques and Cold War intelligence gathering.

Readers who enjoy Miss Marple and mysteries set in small English towns full of eccentric residents will welcome having this series drawn to their attention.

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Colin Watson writes beautifully, with incisive and unusual details that give us a deep understanding of people and places in a sentence or two. His people and places are remarkable, too. Inspector Purbright and Sergeant Love of Flaxborough are three dimensional detectives who don't rely on predictable quirks for their character development.

The people of Flaxborough are certainly quirky, but their unique experiences combine with Watson's spot on observation to create social commentary that continues to be thought provoking years later.

Hopjoy is an excellent example. When evidence is found of an acid bath in the home he shares with a friend, Purbright and Love have to wonder whether the animal remains in the waste pipe might be Hopjoy... or his friend. But as their investigation reaches ever murkier corners of the English village and countryside, they have to wonder whether Hopjoy might have had good reasons to make it look that way.

Tightly plotted, with a satisfying conclusion, this is a classic murder mystery -- and also an enjoyable novel. Think about it for book club.

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This was a suspenseful and witty continuation of the investigations of Inspector Purbright and Sgt. Love. Their insights are spot-on and the people and places come alive.

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More, please! What a charming series this will be, and I am so happy that there are many more books to enjoy. If you are a fan of British mysteries, this one ticks all the boxes--engaging characters, interesting plot, and very well written.

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More farcical than the two previous books in the series, but the writing is a delight: witty, sardonic and knowing. Good if you enjoy vintage murder with a sharp eye for the absurdities of English provincial life.

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A very complex mystery with lots of twists and turns, which mad one read on. The humour is there but not as good as the earlier books I have read.

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The mysteries of Flaxborough are meant to be savored, relished for their very British drollery. The wit can sometimes be lost on what passes for American sensibilities (or the lack thereof); this can easily be overcome with moments of clarifying rumination.

HOPJOY WAS HERE, the third book in the series, starts out with more grue than does its two predecessors. Inspector Purbright is sent on a merry chase, looking for not only a killer, but the dead body as well. Clues abound, perhaps too many, and there is the added burden of the men from London.

All in all, HOPJOY WAS HERE provides a convoluted romp of a mystery that covers a lot of territory in Flaxborough, any number of interesting citizens, and proves to be a tantalizing read from beginning to end.

I do recommend that you start your exploration of Flaxborough with the first book in the series, COFFIN, SCARCELY USED, if for no other reason than to become acquainted with the good folks of Flaxborough and their inimitable constabulary.

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This was first published in 1962 and it is so entertaining to read the older mysteries. This one was a little hard to follow, compared to the previous two, but still very fun!

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Once again, Colin Watson capture’s his readers’ interest from page one. He keeps them guessing about the murder’s motive and methodology and eventualy the reader thinks he or she knows the ending. However, they will find themselves flummoxed as are the police in the book.
Hopjoy Was Here was a delight to read, a real mystery. Looking forward to reading his next books in the series. His wit, unusual plots, characters and especially his subtle references to the arts and sciences are fun to find.

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Very odd. My least favourite of the three of these that I've read so far, but still a bit of a page turner as you try to figure out what's going on and who has done what. I like this series and the characters though, so I'd happily read more of them.

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Awesome classic detective story with an unexpected amount of cynical and macabre humor. I didn't see the solution coming and love being surprised. Thank you, Netgalley, for introducing me to a new author.

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Watson uses both humor and misdirection to great effect in this story: chuckles were endless at Purbright’s often sly wit, the reveals were slow to develop, but allowed for plenty of ‘play along’ time for readers to build their case for one culprit or another. Sure, my guesses were ALL wrong as a lovely surprise twist brought the story to conclusion with revelations I never could have seen, but fortunately, the dogged determination and thorough examination of the clues, large, small and otherwise throw-away were not seen as such by Purbright, who does ultimately find the culprit and bring the story to an end.

Watson’s use of language and his sly sense of humor that is apparent in Purbright’s character keep this story fresh, even while some of the situations and social conventions feel very 1960’s: it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the stories – and these are fun examples of classic British crime stories, focused on the characters, the clues and the story around the deaths.

I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review: I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Review first appeared at <a href=” https://wp.me/p3OmRo-9Hc/”> <a> I am, Indeed </a>

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Gossip is rife in Flaxborough! Detective Inspector Purbright is, however, on the case! The third in this series from Colin Watson doesn't disappoint. A rather more convoluted plot and plenty of wry, biting humour makes this another not to be missed. Utterly delightful. Lovers of a cleverly written mystery will enjoy.

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Indeed, Hopjoy was here but now he is missing in this English mystery, the third in a midcentury series by Colin Watson. Is Hopjoy just flitting about on a sales trip? Or was he really -- as some are saying -- a secret agent for the government on assignment in the neighborhood? But wait! What is that suspicious sludgy stuff being carefully extracted by the police from the garden drain at the family home of Gordon Periam, Hopjoy’s landlord? T’is a puzzle, I tell you, but puzzles and brain teasers were what drove most of the great murder mysteries of the forties, fifties and sixties before James Bond and the likes of Lee Childs and Michael Connelly got hold of them. Think Agatha Christie, of course, and John Dickson Carr – stories where the purpose in reading them was to figure out what was really going on as much as it was to see justice done. Watson is not of the caliber of the greats previously mentioned, at least not in “Hopjoy Was Here,” the first of his books I’ve read. And he certainly doesn’t paint the comic scenes that John Dickson Carr -- writing as Carter Dickson -- did in his Sir Henry Merrivale series. But he does give the lead character Inspector Purbright a well-developed ironic eye in describing the village locals as well as some droll situations, making this enjoyable enough. One more reason to read this well-constructed mystery? A delicious payoff at the end, when Hopjoy gets his revenge from the grave. – Janet Rotter

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I am coming to love this series and Hopjoy Was Here, the third, is another good one. This time Purbright and his team investigate a possible acid-bath murder, as agents of National Security hover because one of their own may be the victim. It's a well told, quite twisty tale, but as always it is Colin Watson's writing which is the really enjoyable thing.

Watson has a dry, sardonic take on things, illustrated by this lovely little example as Purbright calls to interview a neighbour of the house which is the crime scene: "Mrs Alice Sayers celebrated the installation of a police inspector in her drawing-room by serving a jug of hot milk and water delicately tinctured with coffee essence..." The book is full of such amusing and penetrating little nuggets of characterisation, including a very enjoyable satire of self-important spies, while the plot moves on at a fairly leisurely pace - which is just fine by me.

My sole reservation is that women are treated with almost universal contempt, and there are some observations about their sexuality among other things which border on the offensive. Even allowing for the prevailing attitudes of the period, I did find this uncomfortable. However, there is so much else to enjoy here that I can still warmly recommend the book.

(My thanks to Farrago for an ARC via NetGalley.)

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This is the third book in the series and I am starting to get the feel for this series. This book again has women in a fairly negative position but credits them with more brains than the last one. I did enjoy this book the most of the three.
The writing is the highlight of the book. It has a very different take on any ordinary scenario, so much so that each description on its own makes for an entertaining read. The case in this was also interesting, it has a steady flow and gives you enough hints that the final surprise is more satisfying than being completely in the dark.
In his locality, Inspector Purbright has been sent to investigate an anonymous letter only because the location to where the letter points a finger is the known home of a 'government agent'. Since there is a lot of hush-hush involved, the brightest minds are put to the case. There is no sign of anything untoward at the location except for a strange situation with the bathroom.They have to starting working on a case without actual having anything to work with which makes the process entertaining despite it being a criminal investigation. The humour is more apparent in this book(or I might be just getting accustomed to the wry delivery) and with agents being brought in to work it out from the secret end, it adds to the chaos.

It is not a very large book and can be read in a sitting or two, I am definitely looking forward to the next in the series.  I was lucky enough to be approved by the publisher for the access to an ARC.

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Farrago Books, UK is currently republishing the Flaxborough Mystery series, British police procedurals set in the 60s which feature Inspector Purbright and his sidekick, Sergeant Love. This mystery, the third in the series, is quite a convoluted case because there is no body, just hints that a crime may have been committed. To make matters even murkier, the local police learn that the missing man, Brian Hopjoy, has been working as a secret agent, so now they must deal with MI5 officers who want to keep everything on the hush-hush.

I am quite enjoying these old chestnuts. Colin Watson had an interesting way of describing his characters and situations--with a wry sense of humor, biting his tongue, fully descriptive yet not revealing all. Some examples:

Inspector Purbright is describing his Chief Constable to the forensic scientist examining the evidence: "Have you met old Chubb, by the way? Oh you must. He thinks that crimes in this town are committed only in his policemen's imagination."

Describing Agent Pumphrey: "Purbright noticed his habit of jerking his long, pointed head forward and from side to side, as if his thoughts had to be continually shaken in their box to prevent them sticking together."

Describing a Miriam Cook, a witness: "Pouring tea was an occupation that gave this stringy, straight-backed woman a kind of fulfillment. Her thin mouth was set in concentration. The big nose with a wart on its side seemed to stretch forth in anxious assessment of the strength and fragrance of the brew. Her eyes, pale and uncalm with hypochondria, steadied to measure the mounting amber line; there even shone in them a little pride."

I was fully convinced that I knew exactly what was going on here in this story, but lo and behold, Watson pulled the rug out from under my beautiful theory and surprised me, creating an ending that was ironic and satisfying. And I loved that Purbright got the ever-serious Agent Pumphrey with a joke at the end! Perfect!

I am looking forward to reading more in this series. Many thanks to Farrago Books and NetGalley for providing an arc for my honest review.

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Mystery involving the secret service.

DI Purbright calmly pursues his enquiries involving Hopjoy who is missing, presumed dead, but at every turn the mystery becomes deeper and deeper.

This is the third of Colin Watson’s excellent police procedurals, set in the 1950’s, an age where things were obviously taken at a more gentle pace and where forensics are not the answer to everything. The well written prose and charming wit makes it a most enjoyable read.

Review from complimentary pre-publication ebook.

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This is the third book in Flaxborough Mystery series that republished in 2018 (originally published in 1962). A classic English mystery.

The first and second book had me struggling with the words chosen. Well, I’m very used to with American authors’ book that their phrases are more familiar to me. Added to it, these English books are classic, using some phrases I’m not familiar with. In this third book though, I’ve gotten quite used to it, and I got the hang of it almost from the start.

So, this book was a joy. A true mystery story that filled with humour, classic police action, clever twists and turns and unexpected storyline. Here our Chief Inspector Purbright and Sergeant Love were investigating a surprising death case. And an undercover operative was involved! Oh my, why? Well, you should read it to know it.

I can’t wait to read the other republished Flaxborough Mystery books. Well, I hope they all will be republished. As of I wrote this, only 3 of them were republished.

I was provided a complementary copy by the author / publisher through NetGalley, but this in no way influenced my thoughts or opinions.

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I was so looking forward to the release of Hopjoy Was Here, the third Flaxborough Mystery by Colin Watson, and I was not disappointed. This story is more complex and feels much darker than the previous two books in the series, but Colin Watson once again through his delightful way with words presents a suspenseful mystery with a vivid, varied cast of characters and settings. He expertly combines humor and sadness as well as injecting some serious commentary about the times and towns like Flaxborough.

Once again, we are with Inspector Purbright and Sergeant Malley. The police have received a letter about some goings-on at 14 Beatrice Avenue and they are off to investigate. What they discover leads to the sight of four burly policeman manhandling a bath down the front path of the villa and the police digging around in the drain. It’s a very intriguing beginning. You aren’t quite sure what’s in that drain, but imagination goes wild – and it seems pretty disgusting. The two occupants of the house - nice Gordon Periam, the mild-mannered tobacconist, and his not-so-nice-bit-of-a-bounder lodger Brian Hopjoy – can’t be found, or . . . ewww. The mysterious Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee, aka Ross and Pumphrey show up to butt into the police investigation, all hush hush. James Bond, anyone?

Forensics, albeit forensics of 1957 or 1958 since DNA testing wasn’t used until 1986, come into play, but Warlock of the Forensic Science Labs, whose motto is ‘hang ‘em by a thread’ is pretty good at collecting and analyzing the evidence. There’s a lot of it, and nothing is as it seems.

Hopjoy Was Here is a solid mystery, with clues provided along the way but nothing is obvious. I didn’t figure things out until the end. And as always, due to Colin Watson’s mastery of the English language, I was left with some vivid images of people or places, a couple of new words or phrases to use, and some grooming tips. I’ll leave you with these examples: People: Pumphrey - had a habit of pulling his right ear lobe as if it put him in circuit with an electronic sensor, or jerking his long, pointed head forward and from side to side, as if his thoughts had to be continually shaken in their box to prevent them sticking together, and he stopped and turned his eyes, like those of an El Greco Christ, upon Ross. Warlock - rose and slipped his restless hands into his trouser pockets, where they continued to rummage like inquisitive mice. New words: Maybe you think I’m being a bit of a stupid-sides, and I don’t think I can recall a case of fiancecide. And finally, some fashion and grooming: Although an almost offensively inept hair style – plaits coiled into round pads over her ears – early Star Wars? And lastly, Purbright at the barber shop: Ah, you’re very wise sir; clipping does tend to stimulate. I personally find the best answer to what we might vulgarly call the hair nose-hole is to fire it a couple of times a year.’ His eyes wandered to a jar stacked with wax tapers. ‘like a railway embankment, you know.’ Purbright shook his head vigourously. And you must be laughing by now.

I thoroughly enjoyed Hopjoy was here and unhesitatingly recommend it. Read it for the words; the good mystery is a bonus. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley and am looking forward to starting the next in the Flaxborough series.

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Another great Purbright mystery. Great mystery and wonderful characters. A nice old-fashioned mystery!

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While Hopjoy Was Here (Farrago 2018),  third in the Flaxborough Mystery trilogy, is a detective crime mystery, that doesn't begin to describe this quirky, humorous, beguiling novel. Chief Inspector Purbright and Sergeant Love are called in when Brian Hopjoy and his roommate disappear from their rented lodgings at 14 Beatrice Avenue. While none of the neighbors even hint at foul play, there are secrets only known to a few in law enforcement that make this much more complicated than it appears. For starters, Hopjoy is an undercover operative.

Yes, this sounds mundane but it's not the plot is it that really makes this book a jewel. Here are a few of the lines:

"Purbright, who had been examining his finger-ends while marveling at the length and vehemence of Chubb’s speech, looked up blandly at Ross. It was Pumphrey, though, who spoke first."

"Staring out at him from behind the windows of the twenty-three cafés and snack bars were the perplexed, hostile eyes of holiday-makers awaiting the fish and chips, pies and chips, ham and chips, egg and chips, sausage and chips –in fact, every permutation of succulence except chips and chips –that were being borne to their plastic-topped tables by girls with corded necks and dress seams strained to the limit as they ferried their great trays."
 
"It had been erected only five years previously by a Flaxborough jobbing builder whose coincidental relationship with the chairman of the housing committee had put him in the way of contracts for five estates of bay-windowed rabbit hutches and made the chairman the brother-in-law of a millionaire."

Do you see what I mean? Long sentences with tons of detail that threaten to derail your concentration but don't. Instead, you come away feeling like there is so much to say, how could it be encapsulated in fewer words? 'Unusual' is too pedestrian a term for this book. 'Eclectic' is closer. Whatever the description, 'delightfully entertaining' is the result. I confess I almost quit reading several times early in the story because of its unusual approach to unpacking the detective drama:

"The sudden smile invested his large, rather lumpishly cast face with a charm that was the greater for being unexpected, like greenery on a pit heap. ‘I’m"

"...‘they’re a rum lot of buggers in Flax."
"...fresh slip of toilet tissue curled preparatorily across the neck rest of the shaving chair was as motionless as a marble scroll. The scissors, razors, and hand clippers set in methodic array at the back of the big oval wash-basin seemed as unlikely to be put ever again to use as tools sanguinely sealed into a burial chamber in Luxor."
But Watson's storytelling technique is so unique, I became hooked. By the last word, I was ready to read more.
--to be published to my blog, WordDreams, March 9th.

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Colin Watson's mysteries are not hard to figure out, but they are fun getting to the conclusion. This is probably my favorite. Detective Inspector Purbright is maturing and gaining confidence. The characters were, once again, great and the humor made the book.

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I would like to thank Netgalley and Farrago for an advance copy of Hopjoy was Here, the third police procedural in the Flaxborough Mystery series, originally published in 1962.

The novel opens with the local constabulary removing a bath from 14 Beatrice Avenue, home of Gordon Piriam and his paying guest Brian Hopjoy. Things get murkier when something is found in the drains and the spooks turn up, which is more than can be said of the residents who are both suspiciously missing.

What a joy this novel is to read. It had me laughing out loud from the start as Mr Watson reveals the neighbours' thoughts on these strange goings-on, not what one would expect from such a nice neighbourhood. The arrival of the spooks, Ross and Pumphrey, just added to my glee as Mr Watson captures their cold war paranoia and skewed thinking perfectly. It all seems like nonsense nowadays but Soviet espionage was taken very seriously back in the day. It's a brilliant parody with the scene in the snooker hall a particular favourite.

Not content with humour Mr Watson has filled his novel with a clever plot, full of misdirection and sharp thinking. The reveals are perhaps a bit slow in coming but I soon gathered enough to work out what had happened - wrongly as Mr Watson keeps a few secrets up his sleeve and the poetically ironic ending is just fabulous.

As usual Inspector Purbright takes him time getting to the right conclusion via a few detours and false trails but he's not as daft as people take him for. Of course, the underestimated detective is a bit of a cliche nowadays but it works well in this novel as it gives Mr Watson the opportunity to flesh out the minor characters through their convesations with him and concentrate on the plotting. With no DNA and little in the way of modern forensics this was the only way to conduct an investigation back then.

Hopjoy was Here is the best of the novels so far in the series so I have no hesitation in recommending it as a good read.

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Strange happenings again in Flaxborough. And yet another convoluted path leads us on a journey that must be read to be believed.

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I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley.

After a disappointing (to me) second instalment of this series, "Hopjoy Was Here" was a return to form. Inspector Purbright and his side kick Sergeant Love intelligently and logically look into the disappearance of Hopjoy, while Major Ross, Hopjoy's "handler" pursues his own leads in a very entertaining fashion. Hopjoy's true character is revealed by Ross' investigations, and Purbright and Love's common sense approach wins the day.

Again, very funny throughout with a gentle light touch. I particularly enjoy the way Purbright manages his superior, Chubb.

Recommended.

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All the neighbors are watching as the Flaxborough police remove a bathtub from a local home. The home is occupied by two bachelors, but neither has been seen for a few days. The police received an anonymous letter indicating that something may have happened in the bathroom. Inspector Purbright is on the case and his loyal sergeant, Sid Love, is right by his side. But just as they are getting started a couple of Secret Service guys show up claiming that one of the men, Hopjoy, is a spy working in the area. Periam, the second bachelor is the owner of the house and by all accounts the two men lived together harmoniously. But Purbright suspects that Hopjoy has not gone off on some mission but has in fact been murdered.

This is my favorite book in the series so far. This story takes us back to Flaxborough proper where Purbright is really in his element. I love how Colin Watson starts his books because he just drops you into the drama without preamble and the first mystery the reader has to solve is what the heck happened, in this case, to cause an entire tub to be removed as police evidence. In this story, I enjoyed Purbright even more; he seems to have a firmer personality this time around. There are also some great new characters. The two Secret Service guys were very intriguing, I found their way of working together to be a bit slapstick in nature but still enjoyable reading. The investigation goes back and forth between what Purbright and Love and learning and what the SS guys are learning. It all comes together in the end for a somewhat shocking conclusion.

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This is the third installment in a very enjoyable series. I like how the author gives us our favorite detective in cases that take him to various towns, which introduces us to more quirky and sometimes mysterious characters. It keeps you guessing, and chuckling through the whole book.

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English mysteries can be so much fun. There is just a different vibe than American ones. Two men has disappeared and no one can find them or any evidence of what might have happened. There is much more humor here than would be expected as the detectives dig for clues in drains and inside cabinets.

I found this much fun to read.

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