For the purpose of his marvellous crime fiction Colin Watson invented a town called Flaxborough, located somewhere in the east of England, superficially bland and conservative, but concealing devious depths – there to be uncovered by the diligent local Detective Inspector Walter Purbright. Critic H.R.F. Keating argued that Watson’s Flaxborough merited comparison with ‘the creation of Arnold Bennett in his classic Five Towns novels, or even perhaps with William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County’. Coffin Scarcely Used was Colin Watson’s first Flaxborough novel, originally published in 1958, and praised by Cecil Day-Lewis as ‘a great lark, full of preposterous situations and poker-faced wit’
Flaxborough is taken aback when one of the mourners at Councillor Carobelat’s funeral dies just six months later. Not only was he Councillor Carobelat’s neighbour but the circumstances of his death are rather unusual, even by Flaxborough standards. Marcus Gwill, proprietor of the Flaxborough Citizen has been found electrocuted at the foot of an electricity pylon with a mouth full of marshmallows. Local gossip rules it as either an accident or a suicide but Inspector Purbright remains unconvinced. After all he’s never encountered a suicide who has been in the mood for confectionery at the last moment …
We have one copy of Coffin Scarcely Used to give away to the winner of our quiz. To win, first take a look at the following question:
In 1977 the BBC adapted four of the Flaxborough novels into a TV series. What was the title of this series?