There’s a bat in mi belfry what I-I’m gonna do –

– there’s a bat in mi belfry what I-I’m gonna do, I’m gonna fix that bat* that’s what I’m gonna do, I’m gonna fix that bat.

*by fix I don’t mean kill, I mean talk to him about any personal issues he’s having. If there’s anything the compulsory ‘Bat Awareness’ course for Aberdeenshire Council employees has taught me it’s that bats are a protected species and I could go to prison for life or something like that if shift a roof tile near a bat’s home.


Anyway, Bats in the Belfry is the second E.C.R Lorac I have read, after getting a handsome pair for Christmas. Murder by Matchlight was good and all, but liked this one more, partly due to the fact it’s our old pal Inspector Macdonald, and it’s obviously easier to get into a story when a central character is already familiar. Also, the subtitle of ‘A London Mystery’ is deserved, as Lorac is not short on geographical detail. And not just the known landmarks, but none of the jolly chaps and chapesses with their convertible cars and gold cigarette cases seems to live in a normal house. One lives in a red brick cottage build just after the great fire, and the crumbling house/artist’s studio that inspired the title—and where all the ‘rum doings’ happen—has baths full of rust and rats and dead cats. It centres on a group of friends, one of which is a missing novelist with all his good novels and success behind him, as well as the wreckage of a marriage.

And just like with all the British Library Crime Classics, language I haven’t seen in modern books gets a nice outing.

 Two items of information were worth considering in Grenville’s farrago of a blether-

As a kid I spent pocket money in a novelty/cheap tat shop called Farrago, and I’m an no stranger to having a wee blether.


In other news, I’m going to Inverness this coming weekend, and will be visiting Leakey’s secondhand bookshop pictured below. If you never hear from me again, it’s because I’m still there, lost in the stacks. Please send a St. Bernard with a mini keg brandy round its neck. Or failing that, Sellotape some Jaffa Cakes to a Jack Russell.