8 Iconic Hachette Yellowback Crime Novels

If you are a fan of good ol’ fashioned crime novels? Chances are you have read your way through most of Christie, Chandler, Highsmith and Carr, along with the other well-known names of the day. But these weren’t the only writers who produced some very high-quality crime fiction in their day. There were a lot of other writers who were immensely popular in their day but have not reached the modern audience as widely. To mend matters, Hachette has brought its new yellowback crime series which features some of these authors that you can read to give yourself further taste of the heydays of crime writing.

Murder by Matchlight by E.C.R. Lorac

E.C.R. Lorac was the pen name of Edith Caroline Rivett who was a very popular writer of her day. Murder by Matchlight is the twenty-sixth novel of her Inspector Robert Macdonald series, but can be easily read as a standalone. Set in wartime London, this is the story of a murder witnessed by a man sitting on a park-bench who sees the face of the potential murderer only for a moment in the light of a match. With very few clues and a host of suspects, Macdonald doesn’t have an easy time reaching the solution to this mystery. Full of twists and turns and written in Lorac’s quintessential style combining atmosphere and plot, Murder by Matchlight is a must read for Christie fans.

The A.A. Milne Mystery Omnibus by A.A. Milne

Most of us know of A.A. Milne through his endearing character Winnie the Pooh but Milne also wrote two mysteries which form a part of this omnibus. The Red House Mystery is the story of the murder of a family’s black sheep who is killed upon his arrival home after many years. Set in an English country house and featuring an amateur sleuth, this is a delightful novel from beginning to end. The second novel, Four Days Wonder, is the story of a young woman who loves reading mysteries and finds herself at the centre of one when she finds her aunt dead and decides to launch an investigation.

The Cask by Freeman Wills Crofts

The Cask was the debut novel of Crofts, an author famous in the 1920s. Tom Broughton is overseeing the unloading of casks of wine that have just reached the port when one of the casks is found to have a hand inside it. Before the police can be called though, a Frenchman named Lenon Felix makes away with the case. Using the help of a French detective, the police try to solve this complex case that seems to have started abroad, in Paris. Full of thrills and complex plotting. The Cask was an instant hit upon publication and is considered by many to be Crofts’ best work.

Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth

Patricia Wentworth was famous for her elderly detective Miss Silver who appeared two years before Miss Marple and is sometimes believed to be the inspiration behind Miss Marple. Grey Mask is the first appearance of Miss Silver and sees her solve the case of Charles Moray who has returned home after four years of wandering abroad. But when he reaches his empty house, he witnesses a meeting being held where everyone is wearing grey masks and seems to be planning a sinister crime. The fact that he recognises his ex-fiancée as one of the plotters dissuades him from going to the police and he enlists the help of Miss Silver to solve the case.

The Confessions of Arséne Lupin by Maurice LeBlanc

Maurice LeBlanc was a French author who created the gentleman burglar-sleuth Arséne Lupin. The Confessions of Arséne Lupin is a collection of short stories that recount the various adventures of Lupin including the story of Baroness Repstein who has disappeared after taking jewels from her husband and has eluded all French detectives who have chased her across Europe. Then enters Lupin and a cat-and-mouse game of thrilling chase starts between these two characters. Other stories in the collection also show Lupin proving his wit time and again as he crosses paths with police as well as criminals and beats them every time.

The Old Man in the Corner by Baroness Orczy

Baroness Orczy was a Hungarian-British author who is well-known for her character Scarlet Pimpernel. She also wrote a series of detective stories known as the Tea House Detectives. One of her tea house detectives is the man in the corner, an armchair sleuth who solves crimes as he sits in a chair in a London teahouse. He solves cases that include thefts and murders as well as unmasks schemes of blackmail and deception, all the while talking to a journalist! Immensely popular in their time, Baroness Orczy’s stories of this unnamed armchair sleuth continue to delight readers even today.

The Wheel Spins by Ethel Lina White

White’s The Wheel Spins was the inspiration behind Hitchcock’s famous film The Lady Vanishes. Set in a moving train, this is the story of a young socialite Iris Carr who is travelling alone and befriends a woman named Miss Froy on the train. However, Miss Froy soon goes missing, leaving no trace of her existence behind. And nobody on board believes Iris when she insists that she had met Miss Froy. A gripping read, The Wheel Spins is bound to keep your mind’s wheels spinning to find the solution.  

The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey

Josephine Tey’s The Franchise Affair is the story of a crime that may or may not have been committed. When fifteen-year-old Betty Kane accuses the Sharpes of kidnapping and torturing her in their house, local solicitor Robert Blaire takes up their defence. He is sure that Betty is lying but then she starts giving detailed descriptions of the house’s interior. Is she telling the truth? The novel has a lot of twists and turns and is often considered to be one of Tey’s best works.  

Pick up any of these 8 Iconic Hachette Yellowback Crime Novels from any Kunzum store or WhatsApp +91.8800200280 to order. Buy the book(s) and the coffee’s on us.

Dr Sneha Pathak

About the Reviewer:-

Sneha Pathak has a PhD in English Literature and has taught at the collegiate and university level. She currently works as a freelance writer/translator. Her writings have appeared in various publications such as Muse India, Purple Pencil Project, The Wise Owl Magazine, The Curious Reader, Mystery and Suspense Magazine etc. She recently published her first book of translation, an anthology of stories translated from Hindi. Follow her here: Instagram

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