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Norman Berrow Locked Room


Norman BerrowCyril Norman Berrow (1902-1986) was born in Eastbourne, Sussex, the third of four children. His father, John Berrow, was born in India. Soon after his birth, his family settled in Christchurch, New Zealand. Norman Berrow studied at the University of Canterbury and, after his marriage, spent some time in Gibraltar in the 30s (some early books are set there), and was in the military service for six years during and just after World War II. According to the New Zealand Birth and Death Index, he died in 1986.
Berrow’s books have been reissued and are available at Ramble House

“I recently finished two “Detective-Inspector Lancelot Carolus Smith” mysteries by the somewhat obscure New Zealand author Norman Berrow – The Spaniard’s Thumb (1949) and The Footprints of Satan (1950) – both set in the small English town of Winchingham, a town which has more than its fair share of impossible mysteries with seemingly supernatural causes. And while the Detective-Inspector might moan about the absurdity of the situations he’s faced with, it’s not long before he discovers the human agent behind the “mystification and moonshine” (or should that be “jiggery-pokery”?)”

Harry Vincent

Edited from Gadetection: Berrow, Norman

More on Norman Berrow


Norman Berrow Locked Room Novels


Howls nightIt Howls At Night (1937)
Detective: Lt Geoff Martin

No Reviews
****

Available only in paperback editions.

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Note: A werewolf hunt in Spain!

Bill Hamilton is back in Gibraltar with his good friends Geoff Marlow, George Winter and Pongo Slazenger when they decide to go on a road trip to Spain. But the day they enter the quaint village of San Sajedo the young woman who works at the inn is menaced by a howling creature. Then a woman of the village is ripped apart by an animal and terror seizes the town. Every clue points to one thing: a werewolf! Before long, an expert on madness, Dr. Zöwe, and the Spanish guardia civil are called in and the three adventurers are off on a wild werewolf hunt. It doesn’t help that for 27 days out of the month the killer may just be in human form. And the full moon is nigh!


ghost house NBGhost House (1940)
Detective: Captain Matthews

Best Review
****

Available only in paperback editions.

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Note: The Laughing Terror strikes!

It was called “Ghost House” by everyone who knew the place but Peter Somerset and his wife didn’t know that when they took refuge there in a storm. They were welcomed because they had rescued a member of the house who had fallen from the cliff leading to the dire old mansion. But before long they found themselves sucked into the evil madness that permeated Ghost House, and only a miracle could save them from the laughing terror that roamed its halls at will. Cut off from civilization, could the young couple survive their haunted visitation of the terrifyingly sinister manse known as Ghost House? This is the 1940 edition


3 tiers fantasyThe Three Tiers of Fantasy (1947)
Detective: Detective Inspector Lancelot Carolus Smith

No Reviews
****

Available only in paperback editions.

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Note: 3 odd disappearances!

In 1949 the town of Winchingham was rocked by a series of three astonishing disappearances: a man on his way to being married; a room from 100 years ago; and a narrow street. All three disappearances have overtones of the supernatural, and that’s something that local citizen Jimmy Melrose thrives on. But for Detective-Inspector Lancelot Carolus Smith, the supernatural simply won’t do and he resolves to find what’s really behind the three impossible mysteries. Only New Zealander Norman Berrow could come up with such a complicated web of events, and only Detective-Inspector Smith could unravel the skein of mystery and terror that has Winchingham so baffled.


bishops swordThe Bishop’s Sword (1948)
Detective: Detective Inspector Lancelot 
Carolus Smith

Best Review
*****

Available only in paperback editions.

Book  Amazon.ca

Note: 3 strange puzzles!

When Detective-Inspector Lancelot Carolus Smith finds a puzzling case he seems to find three of them at a time. This time, all three are real puzzlers. (1) How did someone steal the priceless Bishop’s Sword from the hermetically sealed glass case? (2) How did a man who was in jail visit a police official at night at his home? And (3) how did seven men enter the one-exited cave and only six come out? Norman Berrow is a master of creating suspenseful mysteries with apparently impossible solutions and Ramble House is very proud to bring him back into print after fifty or more years.


spaniards thumbThe Spaniard’s Thumb (1949)
Detective: Detective Inspector Lancelot Carolus Smith

No Reviews
****

Available only in paperback editions.

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Note: Stop that thumb!

When Detective-Inspector Lancelot Carolus Smith is called to Falloway Hall to investigate the murder of a man whose head had been crushed in the cellar of the old mansion, he had no idea that he’d be battling a giant thumb! Apparently, 100 years ago a Falloway had imprisoned a Spaniard in the dungeon-like cellar and after keeping the unfortunate Iberian “under his thumb” for years, the thumb of the Spaniard took its revenge. Only this time, the thumb is four feet long and unattached from any human body. When more crushings take place – in the empty dungeon – Detective-Inspector Smith wonders if this time he may actually be in the clutches of the supernatural. Only the thumb knows!


footprints satanThe Footprints of Satan (1950) 
Detective: Detective Inspector Lancelot Carolus Smith

Best Review
*****

Available only in paperback editions.

Book  Amazon.ca

Note: Did the Devil visit Devon?

On February 8th, 1855, the quaint countryside villages of Devon were visited by the devil. At least that’s how legend has it, with prints in the snow of a meandering creature with two hooves. But it wasn’t until 1950 that New Zealander Norman Berrow told the whole story of the satanic visit, and this time the hoofprints bring murder! Luckily, the modern inhabitants of the village of Steeple Thelming have Detective-Inspector Lancelot Carolus Smith to aid them in their search for the truth behind the prints in the snow. And thanks to Gavin L. O’Keefe, modern readers need not merely imagine where the meandering hoofprints lead; they can consult the handy Dell-like map on the back of the jacket. Bravo, Gavin!


jump BolandDon’t Jump, Mr Boland (1954) 
Detective: J. Montague Belmont, actor

No Reviews
****

Available only in paperback editions.

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Note: The long fall?

J. Montague Belmore was perplexed. He and a motley group of revelers at a seaside party followed neighbor Boland though a pea-soup fog to the edge of a cliff where the chased man apparently jumped to his death. The only problem was that there was no body! All that could be found were his hat and coat. So Inspector Tyson was called in and the mystery is now afoot – in more ways than one. This 1954 novel by New Zealand author Norman Berrow reads like a travelogue of the picturesque environs of Sydney, Australia, as well as a top-drawer murder mystery. When the bodies start piling up it’s all J. Montague Belmore can do to keep from joining the roster of corpses himself!


 Complete Norman Berrow Bibliography


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