The Silk Stocking Murders by Anthony Berkeley, was first published in 1928 and is one of Berkeley’s earliest novels.
Born, Anthony Berkeley Cox in Watford in 1893 he attended Sherborne School and University College in Oxford. Like many of his contemporaries he served in the Army during World War I. He honed his writing skills working as a journalist for magazines such as Punch and The Humorist among others. In 1930 the Detection Club was founded in London by various popular mystery writers such as Berkeley, Freeman Wills Crofts and the great Agatha Christie.
From the 1940s onwards, he wrote for several of the major newspapers including The Guardian, The Sunday Times and the Manchester Guardian.
Anthony Berkeley Cox wrote under various pseudonyms, including Anthony Berkeley, Francis Iles and A. Monmouth Platts.
His novel, the Layton Court Mystery which was published in 1925 was his first novel. The amateur detective, Roger Sheringham, features here first and appeared in many later novels.
His novel ‘Before the Fact’ hit the silver screen as the 1941 classic film Suspicion. It starred Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine and was directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
The Silk Stocking Murders novel is a masterpiece and unusual for it’s time to involve a serial killer.
Roger Sheringham, though a heavy drinker, was a superb, though flawed, detective. Frequently putting his trust, wrongly, in individuals and making repeated mistakes he had a knack of meandering his way to the truth.
The Silk Stocking Murders sees him trying to solve the disappearance of a vicar’s daughter in London. Sheringham is horrified to find that the young woman is dead. The girl was found hanging, her own silk stocking around her neck. Though her death has the appearance of a suicide, Sheringham knows of other deaths throughout London and he sees a pattern developing. He is convinced that it is the work of a crazed madman.
For it’s time this must have been a quite shocking and horrific tale of a psychotic killer lose on the streets of London. The use of lingerie, Ground-breaking and still enthralling after all of these years, the story of a rather unusually flawed sleuth is well worth the read. The Silk Stocking Murders is published by HarperCollins and is available on Amazon or at good bookstores.
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