4 February 2010

Forgotten Book: THE CHELSEA MURDERS, Lionel Davidson

This week's contribution to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books

THE CHELSEA MURDERS by Lionel Davidson appears in my little green record book in 1979 and I clearly remember this wonderful cover, although mine wouldn't have had the little yellow banner proclaiming the TV series..


Someone is killing residents of the hip bohemian London neighborhood of Chelsea, home to literary giants of the past like Virginia Woolf. What thread connects them in someone's mad mind? The only clue is a fragment of film, which accidentally caught images of the murderer, dressed in an outlandish costume and mask.

A grotesque figure burst into the girl's room. Its head piled with fake curls, its face concealed behind a smiling mask, it wore the rubber gloves of a surgeon or perhaps a mortuary attendant. It seized the girl from behind and chloroformed, suffocated, and finally, decapitated her.

Hers was only one in a series of horrendous murders by a killer who played games with the police, always mailing them cryptic bits of poetry--baffling clues to the identity of his next victim.

Lionel Davidson (1922-2009 ) was a three-times winner of the Gold Dagger Award  for THE NIGHT OF WENCESLAS (1961), A LONG WAY TO SHILO aka The Menorah Men (1966) and THE CHELSEA MURDERS aka Murder Games (1978).

THE CHELSEA MURDERS was adapted for television as part of Thames TV's Armchair Thriller series in 1981.


Anonymous said...

Kerrie - I'm glad that you featured a Lionel Davidson book for Friday's Forgotten Books. He was a truly talented writer and we shall miss him.

Elizabeth Frengel said...

I suspect that your little green book is, in fact, not so little! Amazing that you've kept such perfect tabs on your reading. Miss Lemon strenuously approves.

pattinase (abbott) said...

No one would ever forget that cover.

Louisiana said...

You give them as much info as you have on the book you're looking for, and they'll do their best to find the title for you.

Louisiana said...

Want to hear a weird thing? I was just thinking about that book yesterday, for the first time in forever so I pulled it out and then I ran across this question. Cool, huh? I thought so anyway.

George said...

It's sad that Lionel Davidson has dropped off most readers' radar. His books are carefully crafted and well worth seeking out.

Evan Lewis said...

That character on the cover belongs in an episode of Dr Who.


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