Coffin Scarcely Used

Coffin Scarcely Used

Colin Watson / Aug 20, 2019

Coffin Scarcely Used The quiet town of Flaxborough was in for another shock Only six months after the death of Councillor Carobleat his next door neighbor Marcus Gwill was found electrocuted his mouth filled with mars

  • Title: Coffin Scarcely Used
  • Author: Colin Watson
  • ISBN: 9780440115113
  • Page: 297
  • Format: Paperback
  • The quiet town of Flaxborough was in for another shock Only six months after the death of Councillor Carobleat, his next door neighbor, Marcus Gwill, was found electrocuted, his mouth filled with marshmallows.Was it a bizarre suicide An unusual accident Or had someone taken sweet revenge on the irascible publisher of the FLAXBOROUGH CITIZEN It was up to Inspector PurbrThe quiet town of Flaxborough was in for another shock Only six months after the death of Councillor Carobleat, his next door neighbor, Marcus Gwill, was found electrocuted, his mouth filled with marshmallows.Was it a bizarre suicide An unusual accident Or had someone taken sweet revenge on the irascible publisher of the FLAXBOROUGH CITIZEN It was up to Inspector Purbright to turn the tables on an unsavory killer and make sure a macabre murderer got his just desserts.

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    About "Colin Watson"

      • Colin Watson

        Colin Watson was educated at the Whitgift School in South Croydon, London During his career as a journalist he worked in London and Newcastle on Tyne, where he was a leader writer for Kemsley Newspapers.His book Hopjoy Was Here 1962 received the Silver Dagger Award He was married, with three children, and lived in Lincolnshire After retiring from journalism he designed silver jewellery.As well as a series of humorous detective novels set in the imaginary town of Flaxborough, featuring Inspector Purbright, Watson also wrote and later revised a study of detective stories and thrillers called Snobbery with Violence.


    561 Comments

    1. I enjoy "discovering'' mystery authors that I somehow missed over the years. Colin Watson wrote a series of mystery novels, The Flaxborough Chronicles, in the 1950s. Set in a small English town, the stories follow the investigations of DI Walter Purbright. There are 12 novels in the series. I am delighted that I found this book available for review or I might never have found this series! Reminiscent of Agatha Christie, the story is a semi-cozy mystery (no spurting blood, over-the-top cussing, o [...]


    2. Thank you to NetGalley and Farrago for allowing me to read a digital galley of this novel.In late February 2018, Farrago will begin releasing e-books of the Flaxborough Chronicles series by Colin Watson. Originally published in 1958 these gems will once again be easily available for readers of historical mysteries who enjoy a lighter touch but a seriously interesting police procedural. Colin Watson has written a series which is lightly comedic without crossing over to the satirical. One of my ma [...]


    3. Colin Watson (1920-1983) was a British writer of detective fiction. The first three titles in his Flaxborough Chronicles mystery series are now being re-released by Farrago Books, UK. This one was originally published in 1958 and was made available as a "Read Now" offering through NetGalley recently. I jumped at the chance to get a copy and also requested and was granted access to books 2 and 3 in the series, which I look forward to reading soon.The mystery in this introductory story is quite in [...]


    4. Watson scribes velvet and iron in our e-world gone plastic and aluminum. Invigorating vocabulary, singular conversation, eloquent turn of phrase glint from nearly every page. The extraordinary fluency, fluidity, and fun has me hooked on the series and leads me to quote much to share the pleasure. (Does not seem reflected in script of "Murder Most English" BBC series if preview is accurate youtube/watch?v=zyTP5l )We visit another time, like another planet. Cigarette smoke wafts arrogantly from su [...]


    5. I thoroughly enjoyed Coffin, Scarcely Used. It is exceptionally well written and a decent mystery to boot.Originally published in 1958, this book introduces Inspector Purbright of the Flaxborough police. Flaxborough is a (fictional) small coastal English town where outward respectability conceals Untoward Goings-On. The discovery of a second body, this time a murder staged as a suicide causes Purbright and the equally admirable sergeant Sid Love, to investigate. They are a very engaging pair, wi [...]


    6. I have been enjoying classic-style detective stories set in British villages and country house parties, lately. Yes, its a bit of a niche thing. I've nearly run through my library's offerings of authors/series I recognize so obviously it was time to explore new to me authors/series. I caught a glimpse of this title and, what do you know, I'd inadvertently discovered one I was unaware of that's been around for donkey's ages.Coffin, Scarcely Used is the opening story in a series featuring Inspecto [...]


    7. I would like to thank Netgalley and Farrago for an advance copy of Coffin Scarcely Used, the first of the Flaxborough series of police procedurals, originally published in 1958.The novel opens with the death from a heart attack of Councillor Harold Carobleat and Inspector Purbright nosing around to no avail. Six months later Carobleat's next door neighbour, newspaper owner, Marcus Gwill is electrocuted and this time Inspector Purbright is seriously investigating as it's murder. What he uncovers [...]


    8. I do like a good vintage-style clue-hunt in a book. The plot of “Coffin Scarcely Used” grabbed my attention, with the subject of electrocution involved in the shocking death. I enjoyed the leisurely dynamic between detectives Purbright and Love, with just enough wit to go 'round. And Flaxborough seems like a charming enough English town – it's just the type I would like to visit – if murder didn't just take place, of course.There's some humorous bits of conversation in the story, like th [...]


    9. Coffin, Scarcely Used was the first in Colin Watson's brilliant series of Flaxborough Chronicles, but is not in itself brilliant. By the time it appeared in the US, three others of the series had been published here before it, and it's easy to see why the delay. Although the Flaxborough Chronicles would become among the funniest of all crime series -- I periodically re-read some of the later titles, like Broomsticks Over Flaxborough (retitled Kissing Covens in the US, one of those rare occasions [...]


    10. My first encounter with the residents of Flaxborough was also the first book in the series. I find myself oddly enchanted with the first entry, even though I unlocked most of the mystery halfway through the book.A pair of deaths - one natural, one less so - entwine Inspector Purbright into a perplexing web of secrets simmering underneath the veneer of his picturesque, respectable and quiet village. Could those secrets have led to murder, and if so, how? Why?The solution is not the prize in this [...]


    11. The first in Colin Watson's chronicles of the good burghers of Flaxborough introduces us to some of the venal, lustful and greedy men who run the town. When the newspaper publisher Gwill is mysteriously electrocuted, Inspector Purbright--humane and wise beyond the requirements of his position--finds his mind turning back to the fairly recent death of Gwill's neighbor, a shady businessman named Carobleat. The local doctor, lawyer and funeral director were all friends of Gwill, and possibly visite [...]


    12. Published on my blog: Nonstop Reader.Originally published in 1958, Coffin Scarcely Used is Colin Watson's first Flaxborough mystery (of 12). Introducing Inspector Purbright, whose placid and mild surface belies a solid deductive mind, the first Flaxborough mystery has Purbright and colleagues trying to solve the bizarre electrocution murder of a local newspaper owner.The series, and indeed the author, were unknown to me previously. The reissue of the series by Prelude/Farrago with new covers is [...]


    13. First published 60 years ago in England, the Flaxborough Chronicles feature Inspector Purbright and the inhabitants of the town Flaxborough. In this first book of the series, Purbright is looking into the mysterious death of man who seems to have left his house in the middle of the night and been electrocuted. Could he have actually been climbing the pylon for the electrical lines in his slippers? It doesn't make sense, and the longer the investigation goes on, the stranger things become. What d [...]


    14. What an amazing discovery of this delightful book by Colin Watson, and how wonderful to learn there are more where this came from.This is an old-style British police procedural with good, solid detective work that takes place in the respectable seaside town of Flaxborough in 1957 or 1958. It is a little gentler and more slow-paced than today's non-stop-action thrillers, but that does not mean it is in any way lacking in suspense, complex plotting, well-developed characters, or a seemingly endles [...]


    15. I really enjoyed this English mystery. The dialogue and descriptions are witty and sometimes wickedly funny. One man is described as having “distrustful eyes and a wide slit of a mouth, designed, one would have thought, for the duel purpose of loud talk and voracious feeding.” However, he made “miserly use of his most extravagant feature, for he ate little and spoke only one-sidedly, as though half his lips had been sewn up to prevent waste of words and body heat.” (location 79).There is [...]


    16. Received in exchange for a honest reviewis is a quaint, fun and quirky English mystery.Inspector Purbright comes off as this quirky man who goes after things like a dog with a bone and just bumbling along when really he is crafty and smart. He is on the seen with the death of Mr. Gwill which just didn’t sit right with him. As he looks there, more things unfold and a past death becomes more and more at the forefront as more bodies turn up and a association is exposed.Purbright is the right char [...]


    17. I have a new series to enjoy! Mr. Watson had a gift for sharp-witted dialog and engaging characters that I'm looking forward to seeing again in the next book. Some of my favorite offerings from just a couple of pages:- He found the inspector examining the plaster statuette of a yellow-haired Venus, petrified into Art while apparently picking a corn.- The Chief Constable shook his head and devoutly wished the world were a great dog show with policemen having nothing to do but guard the trophies a [...]


    18. I was wooed to this murder mystery because the reviews likened this to a humorous mystery novel. As someone who likes humor in my Mysteries I said let’s jump in. The book had a couple parts where I chuckled but no place did I laugh my face off. Another reviewer said that she started with Book 2 which was funnier, we will have to see. I found the way to the conclusion to be very well written. Overall I think this is a well written mystery and I became obsessed with the characters. Almost instan [...]


    19. It took some time, but it finally dawned on me that I was reading what I love to watch on TV – a British mystery a la the BBC. I did a little research and found out that some of the Flaxborough novels were indeed adapted for television by the BBC, including COFFIN, SCARCELY USED. Before this aha moment, I was actually considering not finishing the book. The realization that all that is missing are the British accents meant everything. Here we have a gentler, kinder police procedural that harke [...]


    20. This mystery, and Watson's writing style, reminds me of Agatha Christie! Subtle humor, unique characters, and clean mid-century content mark these two authors as my favorite mystery writers. Purbright is a stolid-appearing officer with surprising intelligence. The Chief Constable, "Mr. Harcourt Chubb," though, is simply hilarious! He's reluctant to believe that a murder has been committed, let alone make any effort to finger the perp, who is obviously a wonderful citizen of his little village. M [...]


    21. Well, I was pleasantly surprised on how much I liked this book. I admit, as someone whose English is the second language, the kind of English used in this book was a bit difficult to understand. I had to look up for dictionaries quite a lot in the beginning (I am so in love with the dictionaries in my Kindle). And it put a damp in my mood for a while. However, after a while, I got used to it and the dictionaries used became less frequent (yeay, me!). Then I started to enjoy it, so much!So, it wa [...]


    22. This was a real breath of fresh air and took me back to the days of Agatha Christie where jolly decent folks in an idyllic English village setting had their quietude and passivity of their rustic provincial lives disrupted by one murder after another. Nasty business, but there is no reason why all of this can't be tidied up in a polite civilised manner. In comparison with no holds barred harsh brutal reality that crime fiction has evolved into today, (and there is nothing wrong with that) it red [...]


    23. Prepare to be delighted! Inspector Purbright is on the job in Flaxborough, so murderers beware. A local businessman dies and 6 months later his next-door neighbor is also dead. When Purbright discovers that the two men were friends and involved in a not-so-legal business with other local businessmen, he suspects the deaths are more than coincidence. And where does the not-so-unhappy widow fit in? There are many questions, but Purbright is on the job, and he and his men will find the answers.The [...]


    24. I picked up this first book of the series because I adore cozy mysteries with a good dose of humor. Unfortunately I found it to be very flat and unenjoyable as the plot just slowly plodded along. The storyline was a bit of a pain to follow and the humor was so dry that I couldn't bring myself to chuckle at it. I did like the main detective but not enough to feel the need to finish the book (a crime in and of itself with a mystery) or to pick up the remaining books in the series. I enjoy British [...]


    25. I got a E-copy of this book from Netgalley.The mystery in this book was classic and well done. It had me guessing most of the way through and it was intriguing to try and figure things out before the inspector did. The relationship between Purbright and Love was interesting and at times fun. They had entertaining banter. The writing was good. Not something that stood out to me. All in all this was a good book. I don't think I would continue on in this series but it was a fun quick read.Personall [...]


    26. Colin Watson was a British, stiff-upper-lip kind of writer of detective novels. I was introduced to him several years ago when trying to find more Agatha Christie novels. If you do not understand extremely dry humor or if you do not understand British humor beyond Mr. Bean or Monty Python, you won't get the humor in these books. It is slightly similar to P.G. Woldhouse, but not as blatant. Very subtle, but very fun and sometimes surprising. I will be reading many more of this series, which I did [...]


    27. Watson writes exceptionally well and I enjoy his brand of humor. Unfortunately though, the plot was unnecessarily convoluted and the solve wasn't particularly well done. Much of the tone of the book is also irritatingly sexist. Forgivable in an older book where that would have been the norm, or when done deliberately either to humorously skewer the offending male character or accurately reflect attitudes of society in the past. But this book was originally published in the 1980s and meets none o [...]


    28. I received this book from NetGalley and I would like to thank them and the publisher.It has been a number of years since I have read what I would consider to be just a nice, normal, murder mystery. I'm not saying I don't enjoy the current trend of psychological thriller, because I surely do.This book had me hooked from page one because I recognized the tone of the true investigator seeking the truth about a confounding mysterious murder. That was surely the case in the murder investigated in thi [...]


    29. Heard the dramatisation of a later Inspector Purbright story "Charity Ends at Home" on Radio 4 extra and enjoyed it so thought I'd check out this, the first of the Flaxborough novels. It's great at establishing time and place, small town English shires sometime in the 1960s and follows the plodding investigation of the amiable Inspector Purbright, whilst satirising the foibles of the suburban establishment, one of which is the predilection for schemes of dubious legality and the urge to stoop to [...]


    30. Thanks to netgalley, for providing this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.This was a fun read. It's certainly dated (first published in 1958), but if you don't insist on up to the minute details, it's quite enjoyable. The characters are interesting - I imagine that we'll get more character development of the policemen as the series goes along - but even in this first book, they're likable and interesting.What jumps out the most is the humor - not slapstick, broad humor, but a funny w [...]


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