Murder in the…

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Hamlet Horrors

Every village has its vicar
In a British who-dunnit;
Someone’s always downing liquor
In the public house, to whit.
There’s a person bundling papers
And a butcher chopping meat,
As the children cut some capers
Round the bobby in the street.

The post office is bustling
With the people of the town;
There often is a schoolmarm
Or a justice with a frown.
A stranger always does appear
To throw us off the scent,
And frequently we come to learn
A local cop is bent!

One by one each body piles up
In a truly gruesome way;
The crime-scene crew tape outlines
Showing where the victim lay.
There’s a shutterbug with camera
Taking shots to show in court
And a coroner who’s crusty
Giving time-of-death report.

There’s the in-the-town inspector
Who’s called out to solve the case,
With his dogs-body detective
Digging hard at every trace,
‘Til the murderer’s in handcuffs
And sent packing off to gaol,
Everything goes back to normal–
‘Til the next mysterious tale.

From Cornwall to Newcastle
London-town to Aberdeen
Pick up a British Mystery
And say, “God Save the Queen!”

Kathleen Mortensen©2009

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32 thoughts on “Murder in the…

  1. Well, this is just the best! You've reached my inner core, English mysteries. A post I did sometime in Dec.-“The life I didn't lead”…where I come to the aid of…Miss Marple! My best life!!!


  2. my father would have loved your poetry. truly, he would have. i wish i could share it with him. =( i've been doing some research about how we write from a different part of our brain than we speak. along the way, i've uncovered many an article that discusses how, based on our googling-oogling world, we no longer know how to think. and, then, i come here, and i read this fabulous poem – so intricate with language, and creative, and it rhymes and entertains and makes sense. i appreciate your talent and these important contributions to the often whining blogosphere. it is so full of the regurgitation of age-old gripes. in this environment your blog is like a cultural amusement park. i, for one, am starving for such adventure.


  3. Hi Lyn! We ARE kindred spirits (ghosts?) You need to read my other poem: “Body Count”. Search “Autopsy Turvy” in my blog and you'll find it.I commented on the Marple post too.Nick – They are the best, aren't they? Have you ever read the transplanted (to Canada) Brit, Peter Robinson?Jen – you just made my day! Cultural amusement park – I love it! (I wish your dad could read it too – wait, maybe both our dads ARE reading it!)Kat


  4. Glad to have touched your brain, Ann.Nick – Feel free to recommend any favourites yourself.RachelW – You're right. It falls short a bit, doesn't it? Mind you, I didn't really want to tell a story, just define the genre.Kat


  5. Hi Kat:As an avid reader of old British mysetry writers (huge fan of D. Sayers), I say well done. This is one of my favorites of the poems I've seen on your blog– the rhymes are always good, but these seem especially polished & witty.


  6. Lydia – Thanks for the compliment. I do appreciate it.Petra- You cannot beat the Master!Deb – Ah! Don't get me started. Such a loss. He was and always will be the epitome of Holmes.Kat


  7. Ahhh, I say 'God save the Queen' indeed. Thanks so much for your visit and kind words! A fellow Jeeves&Wooster reader andand Be Good Tanya's listener–have we always been friends? (I've seen all the PBS installments but own the A&E ones.) I am enjoying your blog(s) and will be back soon.Happy weekend!


  8. Ahhh Kat..I was reading your poem and all the past english mystery books I have ever read gained page wings and flew in teasing circles around my head ;)…starting with Enid Blyton's book four of the Famous Five Collection that my uncle gave me for Christmas when I was six – “Five Go to the Smuggler's Top”. It was my first book with almost no pictures but lots and lots of descriptions of adventures and intricate picnics. I felt important reading it and from that day on, my mother used to give me 20 escudos every week to go to the LusaAmerica bookstore behind our house and get another volume. I devoured those books, loved the mystery, and kept them on our bookshelves not by volume number but grouped by the color of the cover. In my teens I went to bed every night with Miss Marple, dear Watson, Sherlock and Allingham's “Tiger in te Woods”, “The White Cottage Mystery” and many others. Thank you for bringing all of that back. Now, I think I'll digg for all those old books which I brought all the way here from my parents'home in Portugal and have been sleeping for a while on my bookshelves 🙂 🙂 🙂


  9. Marja – I know – they really draw you in, don't they? I love them!Anna(Sis) – Nice to see you here. Please check out Blasts From the Past too – I think you'll relate.Willow – I had not thought of that, but you're right! (It's the fan. I don't know what made me grab it. Wait! Yes, I do – tired eyes.)NoniZ- I know! That's great, isn't it? Do you know the Chinatown album? I could listen to that Townes Van Zandt song for hours!PBS and A&E – My favourite stations along with BBC Canada. Love your blog, by the way!Isabel-You get the award for longest comment on my blog – EVER! Thanks so much! I read some Enid Blyton as a kid as well, but it was The Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew that really got me started – then over to Christie and then only the British would do. I love your story of the escudos and the LusaAmerica bookstore. Great memories! I spent ages in a library on wheels parked at the school behind my house.Have not read Allingham or Sayers (I know! I really must, right?)I love Rendell, James, Dexter and Robinson. How about you?Kat


  10. Oops! Sandy (iBeati) I missed you!I agree. Everything stops for a mystery book – especially those last few chapters…dinner, laundry, vacuuming, shopping – it's all on hold until the book is done. Kat


  11. This is a great ride through my preferred escapism. For me, there's no better place to go than some shore in Cornwall or some mews in London where the body has just been discovered! Then…we're off!


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