In the first book in the Nigel Strangeways classic crime series, an obnoxious schoolboy is found dead at his school Sports Day. Can amateur detective Nigel Strangeways help find the killer?
"Think I'll read this in print"
One of the Observer's 1,000 novels everyone must read, The Beast Must Die is a darkly compelling psychological thriller in which a crime writer plans to commit the perfect murder. The fourth Nigel Strangeways mystery. Respected crime writer Frank Cairns plots the perfect murder - a murder that he himself will commit. Cairns intends to murder the hit-and-run driver who killed his young son, but when his intended victim is found dead and Cairns becomes the prime suspect,
"Narration is very bad"
Private detective and poet Nigel Strangeways is invited to address the Maiden Astbury literary society. The picturesque Dorset town is home to Bunnett's Brewery, run by the much disliked, and feared, Eustace Bunnett and shortly before Nigel's visit, Bunnett's dog Truffles, was found dead in one of the brewery's vats.
"Poor editing detracts from a good story"
A small boy playing in the park is handed a crumpled piece of paper by a stranger, who then collapses and dies. The boy, realising that he himself is now in danger, flees from the park with the help of detective Nigel Strangeways, only to discover that the mysterious message consists of just his own name and age: Bert Hale 12.Bert and his young friends are confident that they can crack the case but they soon discover that they will need the help of not just Nigel Strangeways, but of the whole British government...
Fergus O'Brien, a legendary World War One flying ace with several skeletons hidden in his closet, receives a series of mocking letters predicting that he will be murdered on Boxing Day. Undaunted, O'Brien throws a Christmas party, inviting everyone who could be suspected of making the threats, along with private detective Nigel Strangeways. But despite Nigel's presence, the former pilot is found dead, just as predicted, and Nigel is left to aid the local police in their investigation.
Private detective Nigel Strangeways receives a call for help from Wonderland, a new holiday camp that has recently opened only to be plagued by a series of cruel practical jokes conducted by someone calling themselves 'The Mad Hatter'. The camp's owners are convinced a rival firm, desperate to put them out of business, is behind the events. Or could it be a disgruntled employee, or even one of the four hundred guests currently staying at the camp?
"Painful to listen to"
Detective Nigel Strangeways, and his explorer wife Georgia have taken a cottage in the countryside. They are slowly beginning to adjust to a more relaxed way of life when Georgia finds a mysterious locket in their garden and unwittingly sets the couple on a collision course with a power-hungry movement aimed at overthrowing the government. It will take all of Nigel's brilliance and Georgia's bravery if they are to infiltrate the order and unmask the conspirators.
"Nicholas Blake... But Not At His Best"
Nigel Strangeways is summoned to Easterham Manor in the depths of winter to investigate a series of strange events, which culminate in the apparent suicide of a wealthy young woman whose behaviour has scandalised the village. As Nigel begins his investigations into the dead girl's past, it soon becomes clear that someone in the manor is trying to hide something, and they will stop at nothing to keep their secrets safe.
When Nigel Strangeways books tickets for a holiday in the Greek islands with renowned sculptor Claire Massinger, he has no idea that the trip will end in tragedy. From the moment the boat sets sail it becomes clear that many of his fellow passengers - from a neurotic widow to the ship's lecturer - have guilty secrets to hide. But do any of them also have a motive for murder? It will take all of Nigel's insight and flair if he is to uncover the truth.
Private detective and poet Nigel Strangeways is staying at Cabot University, an Ivy League university near Boston, while he undertakes some research. There he encounters the Ahlberg brothers - Chester, Assistant Senior Tutor in the Business School, Mark, who lectures in the English Faculty and their half-brother, Josiah, a professor of Classics. When one of the brothers is found murdered, the local police request Nigel's help in catching the killer, but little does Nigel know just how close he is to the murderer.
Someone is sending poison pen letters in the small village of Prior's Umborne, and they have already driven one of the inhabitants to suicide. Private detective Nigel Strangeways is commissioned to find the source of the letters by arrogant financier Sir Archibald Blick, whose two sons live in the village, only for Sir Archibald to meet an untimely end at the bottom of the dreadful hollow...
Staying with a friend in Oxfordshire, Nigel Strangeways pays a visit to Robert Seaton, a distinguished British poet whom Nigel greatly admires but whose reputation has been on the decline of late. Seaton proves to be an irascible, temperamental man, and his unconventional household, featuring a resentful daughter and mute dwarf servant, simmers with tension. When a headless corpse is found floating in the river by the Seaton's house just a few weeks later, the poet becomes the prime suspect.
The Second World War has just finished and amateur detective and poet Nigel Strangeways is working at the Ministry of Morale in London, in the Visual Propaganda Division. With war over, life seems to be calm again, that is until the Director's beautiful secretary is poisoned in full view of seven members of the division, including Nigel himself. Who could have killed her? And how?
Several days after private detective and poet Nigel Strangeways dines with Dr Piers Loudon and his family, the doctor vanishes, only for his legless corpse to be fished out of the river Thames. When his family ask Nigel to protect their interests during the police investigation, it soon becomes apparent that each member of the deceased's family, from his adopted son to his daughter's unpleasant fiancée, had a strong motive for killing him.
Wenham & Geraldine are a long-established and very well-respected publishing firm, so when a printer's proof is sabotaged and libellous passages are mysteriously reinstated, they call in private detective Nigel Strangeways. But the situation takes a turn for the worse when one of the publishers' best-selling authors - glamorous novelist Millicent Miles - is found dead in the offices.
The government's security department have asked private detective Nigel Strangeways to keep a discreet eye on Professor Alfred Wagley, a research scientist who is spending the Christmas holidays in the South-West of England. But someone else is also very interested in the professor and his work, and when his young daughter is kidnapped, Nigel finds himself in a race to avert a tragedy.
Felix Lane is bent upon revenge for the death of his young son in a hit-and-run accident, and uses all the knowledge he has gained as a well-known crime writer to track down the culprit . The plot features amateur sleuth Nigel Strangeways, a character modelled on W.H. Auden.