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Publisher's Summary

For Miss Cordell, principal of Persephone College, there are two great evils to be feared: unladylike behaviour among her students and bad publicity for the college.

So her prim and cosy world is turned upside down when a secret society of undergraduates meets by the river on a gloomy January afternoon only to find the drowned body of the college bursar floating in her canoe.

The police assume that a student prank got out of hand, but the resourceful Persephone girls suspect foul play,and take the investigation into their own hands. Soon they uncover the tangled secrets that led to the bursar’s death and the clues that point to a fellow student.

©1962 The Estate of Mavis Doriel Hay (P)2015 Soundings

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Oxford in the 1930's

This mystery is set in an Oxford women's college. Interestingly enough, it was published the same year as Dorothy Sayers' well known Lord Peter/Harriet Vane novel, also set in a fictional Oxford women's college. This is a shorter and much less complex novel, and I would never say that Hay was as good an author as Sayers, but I found it an interesting read/listen, for those interested in Golden Age mysteries and who would like to compare this version of Oxford with that in Gaudy Night. I have enjoyed the British Library Crime Classics series, and hope that more will be made available as audiobooks, hopefully Wispersinc for Voice compatible with the Kindle version.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Ginger
  • 08-08-15

Golden Age Detective Story

This book is one of the series of classic crime novels being issued by the British Library. It is set in Oxford and is very much of its period. Accept the world was different 80 odd years ago and you can enjoy it. It is well written and I definitely wanted to know what happened. It was not difficult to guess who had done it but that did not spoil the story.


6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Tony
  • 12-27-15

Death on the Cherwell

I really like these 'between the wars' mysteries reissued by the British Library and Mavis Doriel Hay is a good example. She only wrote 3 books of which this, in my view, was her best.
The spoken word version is well produced and the reading is excellent. It captures the period very well and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Perhaps not to everyone's taste and to modern ears and may seem a bit anachronistic. But so it goes......

4 of 4 people found this review helpful