1956. Langham’s client is movie star Suzie Reynard and her lover has been receiving threats. Langham finds the film set awash with resentment and a body is found in the director’s trailer. Someone confesses to the murder – but Langham is not convinced. He delves into the past and another murder that took place more than twenty years before. Here author Eric Brown talks about the inspiration and research behind his series…
Murder Take Three, and the other books in the Langham and Dupré mystery series, came from my fascination with the 1950s. It was an interesting period socially, culturally, and politically, with Britain regaining its feet after the privations of the Second Word War, and slowly gaining some measure of prosperity: change was on the way on every front, and the radicalism of the Sixties was just around the corner. I wanted to write a series of books that would be murder mysteries but also, as it were, documents of the time. Many things were changing: the certainties and values of the thirties and forties were crumbling; many people feared another war, with the Cold War between Russia and the West ramping up and the threat of nuclear annihilation being a constant concern.
One of my recurrent characters in the series is the literary agent, Charles Elder, a homosexual when that practice was outlawed and ridiculed. The books examine social attitudes towards homosexuality – with Charles Elder being threatened by a blackmailer in the first book of the series, Murder by the Book.
When writing the series, I found that the best way to research the period – as well as reading non-fiction books on various aspects of the time – was to read novels set in the fifties. In fact I found these a better source of the ‘feel’ of the time than many factual books. Novels from the likes of Graham Greene, C.P. Snow, Robin Maugham, Rupert Croft-Cooke and many others gave me a sense of the prevalent social mores, were a great insight into cultural and personal attitudes, and showed intimately how people thought at the time. People spoke very differently then, and the novels of the fifties are a treasure trove of fascinating modes of dialogue.
Above all, however, with the series I want to provide the reader with thrilling mysteries, interesting characters, and intriguing puzzles.
MURDER TAKE THREE was published in hardback by Severn House on 28 April (UK) and 1 August (US). For further information, please visit our website here.
Praise for Eric Brown’s previous book, MURDER AT THE LOCH
“This promises to be a fine series, if future installments are as good as the first three have been” Booklist
“Suspenseful outing” Publishers Weekly
“This charming book, which follows Murder at the Chase, brings to the page well-defined characters and a classic locked-room structure. Recommend for anyone who loves English country house murders” Library Journal