Friday, December 28, 2018

Christiana Brand, Green for Danger

Christiana Brand, Green for Danger
© Chrisitana Brand, renewed 1992
Available as an ebook through Mysterious Press

Christiana Brand was an author of mysteries appearing between the early 1940s and the late 1970s; Stop You’re Killing Me lists 19 novels and 2 collections of stories.  Green for Danger was her 3rd full-length mystery, and the 2nd (of 7) featuring Inspector Cockrill.  [I have previously read a later Cockrill mystery, Fog of Doubt. (]

Green for Danger is set in a hospital in Kent, during World War II when German bombers were regularly making runs over England.  And, in the course of the book, we learn quite a bit about the operations of such a hospital (including the fact that hospital personnel frequently lived I the hospital (as Brand’s husband, in fact did for a time) and about life in general under bombardment.  Here, the story focuses on 7 members of the hospital staff, 3 doctors (2 surgeons and an anesthesiologist) and two patients—one who dies on the operating table, and one who does not.

In the course of the book, we learn a lot about the operational side of the hospital and about lif in England at that time during the war.  And we can see, as Inspector Cockrill’s investigation proceeds. How both the war and the investigation is affecting their lives.  I will say that, at least for me, it was occasionally difficult to keep the cast straight—they were sometimes referred to by first name, nickname, or surname, rather randomly.  Brand keeps the story moving, however, and Cockrill does eventually sort things out (although there is a final twist to the tale).

Brand was not one of the major authors of this period; although she wrote steadily, her overall body of work was not large.  And she created no characters, so far as I can tell, as memorable as those created by Sayers of Christie or Allingham or Marsh.  But this is a fine book and well worth seeking out.

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