Are you a British Mystery Classics fan? If yes, you would have hear of Chief Inspector Littlejohn and George Bellairs. Inspector Littlejohn series – where murder meets humor. Excellent storytelling, quaint country setting and a detective who reminds you of your favorite uncle, no doubt (Uncle) Littlejohn is one of my favorite detectives of all times.
Here’s an (exhaustive) checklist of Bellairs’ Chief Inspector Littlejohn series.
#1: Littlejohn on Leave
The owner of a local bank is found dead under the counter – killed with his own knife. Littlejohn is on a sick leave and is woken up by the blaring alarm bell at the bank.
#2: Four Unfaithful Servants
Four separate embezzlement cases, four dead bodies – the thieves are found dead. Littlejohn is assigned to the case when a father of one of the victims calls Scotland Yard and points at the link connecting the four murders.
#3: Death of a Busybody
Miss Ethel Tither has made herself unpopular in the quintessential village of Hilary Magna. She snoops on people and interferes in their lives. All this comes to an end when Ethel is found dead in a cesspool. Inspector Thomas Littlejohn is called to investigate the crime.
#4: The Dead Shall Be Raised
In the winter of 1940, the Home Guard unearths a skeleton on the moor above the busy town of Hatterworth. Twenty-three years earlier, the body of a young textile worker was found in the same spot, and the prime suspect was never found—but the second body is now identified as his. Soon it becomes clear that the true murderer is still at large…
#5: Murder of a Quack
Nathaniel Wall, the local quack doctor, is found hanging in his consulting room in the Norfolk village of Stalden—but this was not a suicide. Against the backdrop of a close-knit country village, an intriguing story of ambition, blackmail, fraud, false alibis and botanical trickery unravels. Inspector Littlejohn is called to investigate the case.
#6: The Case of the Seven Whistlers
A cozy English hamlet is thrown into an uproar when one of the antique dealers is found dead in a chest bought by Miss Adlestrop. The local constabulary is overwhelmed and Detective-Inspector Thomas Littlejohn is called to investigate the crime. Things aren’t easy for Littlejohn as the key to the chest goes missing and the villagers are infested with jealousy and secrets.
#7: Calamity at Harwood
Solomon Burt, a property lord at Harwood is killed. He is found at the bottom of the stairs with his neck broken. Minutes before Burt’s death, he was haunted by poltergeists. Detective-Inspector Thomas Littlejohn is called to investigate the “ghostly” crime.
#8: Death in the Night Watches
At the height of WWII, Thomas Littlejohn investigates the death of a factory boss. Henry Worth owns a textile factory but since the start of the war, the space is given to military production. One night, Henry smells gas coming from an unused shed and walks in. He’s found dead a few minutes later by the night watchman.
#9: He’d Rather Be Dead
The Mayor of the popular resort at Westcombe, Sir Gideon Ware, is notoriously known for making enemies. When he falls dead at an annual lunch event, no one is surprised to hear he’s murdered. With a long list of suspects, Littlejohn has a tough time narrowing down the list and bringing the killer to justice.
#10. The Case of the Scared Rabbits
Intrigue and murder surround the county fair at Stainton-Meredith. Many people had reason to dislike Canon Nicodemus Hartley-Crump, the elderly, autocratic and lubricious vicar of the parish, but who would kill him? And what, if any, was the connection with his death and the murder by strangulation of an Austrian refugee, governess to some of the local nouveaux riches?
#11: The Crime at Halfpenny Bridge
It’s WW2 and there’s blackout everywhere. Drunken sailors from the local pub are on their way home when they witness two men in a scuffle by the shore. One overpowers the other, killing him in the surf.
The murderer escapes and Littlejohn is called from London to investigate.
#12: Death on the Last Train
Detective Inspector Littlejohn of Scotland Yard is travelling to an assignment, exhausted after an arduous journey of delayed connections, when he catches the last train. A murder occurs in his carriage, putting on hold any other plans he may have had. The local police, out of their depth, commandeer the detective to help them solve the case.
Delving into unrequited love, betrayal, and poison pen letters, Littlejohn must pick apart a tangle of grudges. Many men and women seem primed with motives, but which of them has it in them to kill?
#13: Outrage on Gallows Hill
The war is over and blackouts are a thing of the past, except in the village of Melchester, where the local council has refused to sully its streets with unsightly lamps. The night is pitch black, but hardly quiet. Young lovers are rendezvousing, a police constable is helping himself to a few of his neighbor’s partridges, and a poet is going to visit his beloved, a new verse on his lips. She will never hear it, sadly, for the young man is stopped along his way—stopped forever, by the tight grip of the garrote.
#14: The Case of the Demented Spiv
An uneventful evening at the local pub turns exciting when an unstable spiv enters and rants about finding a dead body at the local mill. The police go to the mill to investigate and come across a body, face smeared with make-up. Inspector Littlejohn is called to investigate the murder that has shaken the quaint and sleepy little town.
#15: The Case of the Famished Parson
The emaciated and battered body of the Bishop of Greyle is found at the bottom of the cliffs. Why was the undernourished bishop murdered? Inspector Littlejohn faces an incredibly peculiar case.
#16: The Case of the Headless Jesuit
For centuries, Cobbold-in-the-Marsh is haunted by the the ghost of a Jesuit priest who lost his head (literally). There hasn’t been any bloodshed after this incident until now when bodies start to drop. Detective-Inspector Littlejohn and his assistant Detective-Sergeant Cromwell are called in to investigate.
#17: Crime in Lepers Hollow
Detective Inspector Littlejohn was supposed to be on a holiday but is drawn towards a peculiar case. He soon finds himself caught up in a network of family intrigue involving hate, deception and murder.
#18: Dead March for Penelope Blow
In the wake of Mr William Blow’s death, his surviving relatives find themselves tangled up in family secrets and financial mystery. So when Miss Penelope Blow suddenly dies by falling out her bedroom window, suspicions are raised. With Scotland Yard under pressure to determine the widow’s fall was really accidental, Inspector Littlejohn is called in to get to the bottom of the case.
#19: Death in Dark Glasses
It was supposed to be a fool-proof scheme. The victim was a recluse, cut-off from the world after the death of his wife. The killer thought nobody would make enquiries, nobody would think strange when they didn’t see him… The killer was so wrong.
#20: Half-Mast for the Deemster
The Isle of Man’s most senior judge has been murdered and it is up to Littlejohn to bring the killer to justice but it is not as simple as it sounds. Especially when the clock of forgery, smuggling and murder unravel at an alarming rate.
#21: A Knife for Harry Dodd
When Harry Dodd calls Dorothy Nicholls for a ride home from the pub, she and her mother think he’s just had too much to drink. Little do they know that he’s dying of a stab wound to the back. By the time they get him home, he’s dead.
As Littlejohn starts to investigate, he learns he has more suspects than he can handle. There also seems to be another murderer on prowl…
#22: Corpses in Enderby
Ned Bunn wasn’t a popular member of the community of Enderby, and there were people who had wished him dead. But when he was murdered on the doorstep of his own shop there was a terrible outcry. When Inspector Littlejohn of Scotland Yard investigates the case, there are some startling revelations of Bunn and his family, before the final tracking down of the murderer
#23: The Cursing Stones Murder
The Manx Shearwater was scallop dredging—but it dragged up a body from the water instead. Considering that the corpse was tied at the ankles and weighed down with stones, it’s clear this was no accidental drowning—and now the locals are in an uproar. Littlejohn is called by his dear friend Archdeacon Kinrade to investigate the case.
#24: Death in Room Five
When Alderman Dawson, the victim of a deathly stabbing, calls Littlejohn to his deathbed, the inspector is left with no choice but to investigate. With twelve suspects in play and motives dating back to WWII, this might be one of his toughest cases yet.
#25: Death Drops the Pilot
On a twilit autumn night, the Falbright Jenny ferries passengers from Elmer’s Creek to Falbright. But instead of making it across the river, she ends up marooned on a sand back. The skipper is missing. A few hours later, his body is found floating under the pier – stabbed in the back. The local authorities call Scotland Yard for help; Littlejohn and Cromwell are sent to investigate.
#26: Death Treads Softly
Finlo Crennell, an ex-harbormaster of Castletown who was reported missing, is found wandering the streets of London. He has no relocation of where he was for the past week or how he came to be in London. Less than 24-hours later, Crennell is found dead, with a bullet to a head. Littlejohn is given the case but is soon drawn to another murder case. Are the two murders related?
#27: Death in High Provence
Against the background of fascinating Provence, a fantastic case is solved. Chief Inspector Littlejohn is sent to France to make informal enquiries about a motor accident. But his job is not easy, for he finds himself amongst the sombre, secretive inhabitants of St. Marcellin, a dying French village in the mountains of High Provence. Dominated by the aristocratic Monsieur le Marquis, the village obstructs his every move. But they had under-estimated the kindly, courteous Littlejohn.
#28: Death Sends for the Doctor
Doctor Beharrell, a prominent physician, is found murdered in a secret room in his home at Bank House and Superintendent Littlejohn, warned before it has been discovered that the crime has been committed, goes to investigate.
#29: Corpse at the Carnival
The town of Douglas is alive with a local carnival in play. As the carnival sweeps down the promenade, an elderly man quietly gazing into the sea is found dead with a knife thrust into his back. Littlejohn is called in for help.
#30: Murder Makes Mistakes
Cromwell is shot in the head while attending the funeral of his uncle. Superintendent Littlejohn leaves all work behind to be at Cromwell’s side. He learns from the surgeon the bullet is one of the smallest he’s ever seen. Littlejohn vouches to find the perp who harmed his dear assistant and friend.
#31: Bones in the Wilderness
Samuel Cheever, a shady dealer, goes to France to buy antiques and never returns. Littlejohn is sent to France where he discovers Cheevers remains in the Camargue, a wilderness around the Rhone delta.
#32: Toll the Bell for Murder
A loud explosion awakens the sleepy town of Myrescogh. The church bells are tolling restlessly and the villagers find Sullivan Lee, the vicar, praying beside the dead body of Sir Martin Skollick. The vicar is arrested for the murder. Archdeacon Kinrade calls Littlejohn, asking for help.
#33: Death in Despair
The body of a drunken furniture dealer found in the canal and that of a faulting cashier found shot in the vault of a bank seemed to have no connection whatsoever. The information supplied by a dying teddy-boy to a priest made further investigations necessary. Superintendent Littlejohn is assigned to the case.
#34: Death in the Fearful Night
Superintendent Littlejohn arrives in the village of Carleton Unthank to investigate a triple murder that has left the town crippled with fear. With the threat of another murder looming, Littlejohn must catch the killer before the body count rises any further.
#35: Body in the Dumb River
Jim, a decent and hardworking chap, has been found stabbed in the back near Ely, miles from his Yorkshire home. His body, clearly dumped in the usually silent (‘dumb’) river has been discovered before the killer intended – disturbed by a torrential flood in the night.
Superintendent Littlejohn arrives at the scene of the crime but any clues leading to the culprit is washed away by the floods.
#36: Death of a Tin God
Superintendent Littlejohn thought he was in a for few days’ holiday, but when the handsome Hal Vale, charismatic male-lead and debaucherous divorcee, is found dead in his hotel room, Littlejohn is called back to investigate. Was it murder, suicide or accident?
#37: Death before Breakfast
On her way to Church early one November morning, Mrs. Jump sees a dead body in the gutter in July Street. Fearing to investigate, she hurries on, but her conscience finally convinces her that she ought to return and report her discovery. Much to her relief, however, the body has vanished. Mrs. Jump happens to be Mrs. Littlejohn’s daily help and casually mentions her adventure. Following one of his famous hunches, Superintendent Littlejohn, of Scotland Yard, decides to check her story and before very long, a full-blown investigation is in full swing.
#38: The Tormentors
When an elderly man is found violently stabbed, wallet missing, in an alley way in a small town on the Isle of Man, all fingers point to a local boy. The victim was well-known on the island and a member of a very distinguished family who are keen to see quick justice. Anxious that the heightening anger of the Manx people will lead to an unwarranted arrest, the Manx police call in Inspector Littlejohn to investigate.
#39: Death in the Wasteland
The head of a stock-broking firm thrusts his company to his nephew Waldo and his wife Averil who are holidaying in France. A few days after their arrival, they find the Uncle dead in the Wasteland. In panic, the nephew and his wife pack the body into their car and take it to the police station. Whilst they are reporting the crime, the body is stolen from the trunk of the car.
#40: Death of a Shadow
During a police conference in Geneva, a detective was assigned to ensure the safety of the British minister of Security. But the detective could not keep himself safe. He was found dead in a car in the middle of a rose garden. The car was supposedly hired by Superintendent Littlejohn.
#41: Surfeit of Suspects
The offices of the Excelsior Joinery Company have been blown to smithereens; three of the company directors are found dead amongst the rubble, and the peace of a quiet town in Surrey lies in ruins. When the supposed cause of an ignited gas leak is dismissed and the presence of dynamite revealed, Superintendent Littlejohn of Scotland Yard is summoned to the scene.
#42: Death Spins the Wheel
When Madame Garnier arrives at the casino on the Isle of Man, everyone is interested. She knows all the tricks, bets on all the right numbers, and is enjoying a solid winning streak. That is until she’s found dead on the beach.
As theories about her murder run wild, Inspector Littlejohn is called in to get to the bottom of her mysterious demise. Following leads to France and Switzerland, Littlejohn must untangle a conspiracy that leads all the way to the French Resistance if he is to solve the case.
#43: Intruder in the Dark
Miss Melody Johnson, an old unmarried lady, dies in the strange village of Plumpton Bois. Miss Johnson leaves her family home, Johnsons Place, to her sole surviving relative who cannot wait to inspect the property, but in doing so, is murdered by an intruder hiding in the cellar.
Thomas Littlejohn and Robert Cromwell are called in to investigate.
#44: Strangers Among the Dead
A provincial bank manager disappears and the vault is empty of cash. Everybody thinks the manager has done a runner. Six years later, his remains are found in an old tomb of a local cemetery.
#45: Death in Desolation
One morning, a haystack on a desolate farm in the Great Lands are set to fire. When the police go to investigate, they find the owner of the farm and his wife at the doorstep. He is dead, she is unconscious. Littlejohn and Cromwell become involved in the case as it might be related to a robbery case they are currently looking into.
#46: Single Ticket to Death
Sulby Cranfield, a Yorkshire textile tycoon knows his children care little for him. He decides to marry someone again, a lady who works in the same business as he, in France. It would be good to merge the two businesses during his final days. He moves to France and is found dead on the roadside. Hit and run or murder?
#47: Fatal Alibi
The body of J.J. Ringmole, a representative of a London firm of foundation garment manufacturers, is found in the harbour at Ramsey, Isle of Man. He has been murdered.
#48: Murder Gone Mad
Benjamin Joliclerc became an estate agent after retiring without much credit from his family bank of Joliclerc & Co, in the pleasant Norman town of Montjoie. On the annual fete of St. Lupin, M. Joliclerc staggered out of his house and died in the street. He had been shot. Chief Superintendent Littlejohn, of Scotland Yard, was invited to the funeral. He didn’t know why, but tendered his apologies and condolences to the widow.
#49: The Night They Killed Joss Varran
On the Night that Joss Varran was expected home after a visit to Wormwood Scrubs, his body was found in a ditch right opposite the cottage where he lived with his sister in the silent marshes in the north of the Isle of Man. Chief Superintendent Littlejohn, of Scotland Yard, soon becomes involved in the case as a result of Varran’s recent imprisonment in a London jail.
#50: Tycoon’s Death-bed
When Sir Henry Dotrell, an electronics tycoon, was murdered in his suite in the deluxe Carrington’s Hotel, the whole affair had to be discreetly handled for the sake of the reputation of the place. There were a number of other guests staying there who were relieved by Sir Henry’s death.
The secrets of this famous hotel hampered Chief Superintendent Littlejohn, of Scotland Yard, in his investigation of the crime, but he finally saw through them and found the killer.
#51: Pomeroy Deceased
An elderly British doctor with a house in Cannes is murdered at a hospital. The doctor was known to have a ‘loud and hip’ life. Littlejohn is sent to France to assist the French police. Soon, the doctor’s driver is also murdered.
#52: Murder Adrift
The Todd family, governed by their ailing mother, are important people in Fordinghurst and when younger brother Heck’ is found murdered on his boat at sea, they do their best to obstruct the police in their enquiries among the suspects of the locality.
#53: Devious Murder
Whilst taking the dog out for the last walk of the day, Littlejohn of Scotland Yard comes across a body in the rain. Recognizing it as Charles Blunt, a thief he crossed paths with and admired many years before, Littlejohn resolves to solve the case. But where did the body come from? What was it doing in front of a deserted house? And why, after all these years, had Charles Blunt finally come to a sticky end?
#54: Fear Round About
A Yard Coroner who had retired to a manor house in the country, said to be haunted, gets mixed up with two characters until an untimely death made them flee.
#55: Close All Roads to Sospel
A British travel group is stranded in France when the tour conductor is shot, and the bus driver is accused of murder. Luckily, Inspector Littlejohn is holidaying nearby and is on hand, both to interpret the annoyed tourists and to solve a baffling double crime.
#56: The Downhill Ride of Leeman Popple
The body of Leeman Popple was found shot and floating in the canal at Norchester. He was a man who had flown high in the town, at one being mayor. Then a scandal in the local building society had brought him down. After that and his degradation in the courts, he set up as an antique dealer in his native town, but still seemed to corrupt all his contacts.
Chief Superintendent Littlejohn and Superintendent Cromwell are assigned to the case.
#57: An Old Man Dies
A small town, a wealthy and influential family and a string of deaths. Littlejohn is sent to investigate.
This was Bellairs’ last book.
Image Credits: Goodreads
Great list. It really helps to sort through the chronology of things for me.