Welcome to the Stone House, situated in the village of Wandles Parva, Hampshire, home of mystery novelist Gladys Mitchell's greatest creation, Dame Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley. Gladys Mitchell wrote prolifically from her first published novel, Speedy Death, in 1929 until her death in 1983. These pages celebrate the Golden Age mystery author and her works, and will hopefully provide information and suggest further reading to old fans and new acquaintances alike.
An exploration of this site will uncover essays and overviews by mystery fiction scholars and readers, as well as two entries by the author herself. I started this site in 1999, when a chance discovery of 1943's The Rising of the Moon at a used bookstore led to a consuming desire to read all of this author's unique work. As very little information was available at that time about the Mrs. Bradley series, except for a list of titles, I decided share my reading experiences on this site as I went along.
I humbly offer story synopses and personal reviews to more than 80 Gladys Mitchell titles, including the 66 Mrs. Bradley books as well as the Malcolm Torrie mysteries and Stephen Hockaby adventures from this prolific and creative author. You can view these reviews -- along with publishing history and dustjacket images -- by visiting the Bibliography page.
The Great Gladys, photographed
I've attached ratings and subjective reviews as a way to entertain myself and to celebrate books that I find particularly good and memorable. As a true fan, I don't mean to criticize her lesser works, but rather to sort out and champion her many imaginative achievements. With an output of more than seventy books, quality of writing is understandably varied. Miss Mitchell herself was aware of this, going so far as to call a couple of her books "horrible" (check out the question and answer interview in the essay section if you want to know which ones). I would argue that Gladys Mitchell's most indulgent writing is still more entertaining than the humorless crime bestsellers clogging the market today.
Each title bibliography also includes a quoted phrase or passage from the book. This is a nod to Miss Mitchell's penchant for heading many of her book's chapters with appropriate classical or historical verse and prose; it also provides an opportunity to celebrate her marvelously unique way with words.
If you've never picked up a Gladys Mitchell novel and are wondering what case might be made for trying one of her imaginative mysteries, you may want to check out some of the critical essays in the Evidence section. Barry Pike's interviews and articles are especially recommended; Nicholas Fuller has contributed a fine study on Mitchell's signature detective. And my own contribution, "Artistic Difference," tries to pinpoint what makes this author unique -- for better or worse -- among Golden Age mystery writers.
Your best bet? Pick up a Gladys Mitchell book -- The Saltmarsh Murders (1932) and When Last I Died (1941) are both excellent, and reprints are not impossible to find -- and see for yourself. I welcome e-mail, so if you have a comment, addition or suggestion, please write to me. Hope you like the site!
Sincere and heartfelt thanks to Mrs. Bradley fan and website technology consultant François de Kermadec for his great help and guidance to make this site secure, stable, and strong. Without his help and continuing friendship, The Stone House (and the Internet) would be a much less appealing place to reside. Merci, François!
Unless otherwise attributed, all text content on this site is copyright 2023 by Jason Half. Please e-mail me if you have any questions.