From Warrior Cats to English Detectives

Brutal Terminations by Cherith BaldryCherith Baldry, who as Erin Hunter is one of the authors of the best-selling Warrior Cats novels, has long had a love of the classic English detective story. When I asked her to write a story for the anthology I was editing, Improbable Botany, she penned the delightful Sherlock Holmes homage ‘The Adventure of the Apocalypse Vine; or, Moriarty’s Revenge’.

Now Cherith has launched her own series of detective novels featuring amateur sleuth Gawaine St Clair. I’m currently reading the first novel, and it is a very English sort of affair, deliberately evoking the classic detective novels of yesteryear. St Clair comes from aristocratic stock and the story unfolds against the background of a 30 year old murder at a fictional Oxford College. Without spoilers, here is a sample of the deliciously dry wit on offer:

After a while he found his way into the college gardens, where he wandered for a while, noting without much interest a fish pond with a statue that attested to the classical broad-mindedness of those who harboured it, a sundial that was half an hour slow, and a piece of modern sculpture which reminded him of a certain well-known brand of mint.

— from Brutal Terminations by Cherith Baldry (with many thanks for the free copy!)