Patricia Moyes books in order
Patricia Moyes, born Patricia Pakenham-Walsh, was an Irish author of mystery, thriller and crime fiction.
Originally from Dublin, Ireland, she held many different jobs prior to becoming a key voice in the crime fiction genre, including working in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), an assistant to British actor and filmmaker Peter Ustinov, a scriptwriter, translator and Vogue journalist.
The brains behind the crime fiction novels featuring the ever cool and collected Scotland Yard detective Henry Tibbett, Patricia is the recipient of the prestigious Edgar Allan Poe Special Award for her work on the novel Many Deadly Returns (Who Saw Her Die?).
Patricia drew experiences from many different places, having previously resided in France, Switzerland, Holland and the US.
She later relocated to the British Virgin Islands, where she died on 2 August, 2000 from undisclosed causes.
She was 77.
Genres: Crime Suspense, Mystery, Thriller
- Who Killed Father Christmas? And Other Unseasonable Demises (1996)
Inspector Henry Tibbett
- Dead Men Don't Ski (1959)
- The Sunken Sailor (1961)
- Death On the Agenda (1962)
- Murder À La Mode (1963)
- Falling Star (1964)
- Johnny Underground (1965)
- Murder Fantastical (1967)
- Death and the Dutch Uncle (1968)
- Who Saw Her Die? (1970)
- Season of Snows and Sins (1971)
- The Curious Affair of the Third Dog (1973)
- Black Widower (1975)
- The Coconut Killings (1977)
- Who Is Simon Warwick? (1978)
- Angel Death (1980)
- A Six Letter Word for Death (1983)
- Night Ferry to Death (1985)
- Black Girl, White Girl (1989)
- Twice in a Blue Moon (1993)
Detailed book overview
Warmth. urbane charm. Clever plotting. Slyly wicked sense of humor. All these words describe the novels and short stories of Patricia Moyes, who is, in the words of Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection, one of mystery's "finest practitioners." Under the holiday tree, Who Killed Father Christmas? offers 21 mysterious gifts.
Fans who recognize Moyes as the author "who put the who back into whodunit" will find parcels with traditional fairplay puzzlers. Those who think that holidays are best taken with an ounce of cyanide will find presents filled with nefarious noels scattered everywhere, including "The Holly Wreath," a complete short detective novel. For those who suspect that English villages and exotic holidays are filled with larceny, Moyes has some brightly colored, and deceptively cheerful, surprise packages.
Inspector Henry Tibbett
Are you craving Christie? Yearning for a plot? Whimpering softly into your teacup about the days when one could count on a nice civilized, mannerly sort of murder, with a sleuth who was reasonably free of neuroses and substance addictions? Patricia Moyes to the rescue! In Dead Men Don’t Ski she introduces Inspector Henry Tibbett, a blissfully ordinary English copper with a pleasantly plump wife and a nose for the bad guys. Sadly for Henry (but happily for us) that nose has a knack of ruining his vacations.
In Dead Men, he and Emmy are headed for the Italian Dolomites, ready for a spot of skiing and some first-class people-watching, all those athletic youngsters in their swanky late-1950s ski outfits. It’s all very “Mad Men” until one dead body turns up, and then another, and it becomes clear that Murder has come to the mountain.
Poor Inspector Tibbett! Once again, he is attempting to have a nice vacation. And once again, Crime has a different idea. This time, Tibbett and his cheerful wife, Emmy, are lazing on a friend’s yacht, tacking from one little English sea-town to the next, and it should all be delicious indolence . . . except that Henry can’t stop thinking about death. Well, one death in particular. The death of a local sailor. And he especially can’t stop thinking about it when it starts looking as though the drowned sailor is somehow connected to the robbery at a nearby manor-house.
NB: This book is also known as Down Among the Dead Men.
Amazingly enough, Henry Tibbett is at work. Crime tends to catch him when he’s on vacation, but this time around Henry’s at a coppers’ conference, an international effort intended to stop drug-smuggling. The conference is in Switzerland (for a Scotland Yard detective, Henry does manage to get around.) and the always sensible Emmy has come along for the parties and the chocolate. It’s a glittering whirl of attractive folks in their best early-1960s attire until one of Henry’s colleagues winds up dead and Henry, of all people, becomes Suspect No. 1. A minor but real pleasure here?
No question, one of the real delights of this series is all the early-1960s clotheshorses who go traipsing through the pages, and this time around, they’re front and center. Moyes in fact worked as an editor at British Vogue, and her familiarity with the London fashion scene is put to good use in this tale of Style magazine, feverishly consumed with the upcoming Paris shows, and in fact so focused on hemlines and handbags and haircuts—oh my!—that they don’t really notice that a member of the staff is looking a little under the weather. A little six feet under, in fact. Enter Inspector Tibbett, who knows very little about fashion, but quite a lot about solving crime.
Rich, aristocratic, and at the heart of swinging London, “Pudge” Coombe-Peters has everything except a decent nickname. And in fact, he has two special attributes: He owns the narration—the drawling, deliciously snobbish, all-but-impossibly irritating narration—of Falling Star, and he has a chum named Henry Tibbett, who comes in just awfully handy when people start dying on the set of the film that Pudge is producing.
Tibbett is especially welcome because, by the second death, it’s clear that we’re not dealing merely with murder but with Impossible Crime, the kind of fiendishly clever puzzle that is killingly hard to write and even more difficult to solve. The twisty plot and gorgeously retro setting on their own would make for a splendid read, but adding Pudge to the mix puts it over the top.
To date, Emmy Tibbett has been something of a secondary character—a placid, pleasantly plump presence who serves mostly to make her detective-husband Henry all the more likeable. With Johnny, however, Emmy at last gets a turn in the spotlight, as she and Henry head off for the 20th reunion of her Royal Air Force squad. It’s a bittersweet trip for Emmy: She loved her work with the RAF, and she was in love with one of the pilots, but their happiness ended abruptly when he killed himself, crashing his plane into the North Sea.
But was it suicide? At the reunion, Emmy is startled to realize that she may have been the last person to see her sweetheart alive. And she’s more than startled to discover that virtually everyone connected with that fatal flight had something to hide.
Think the Country-House Murder is a relic of the 1930s? Think again, and say hello to the Manciples, exactly the kind of eccentric family you’d like to see lording it over your little English village.
Sadly, the Manciples’ day as lords of the manor may be winding down: A certain Mr. Mason—a local bookie who appears to have made some very good bets—wants to buy the Manciple estate, and he won’t take no for an answer, despite their lack of interest in selling. So it’s a matter of some suspicion when Mason is found in the Manciples’ driveway with a bullet in his head.
Like all the best small-town coppers everywhere, the village bobby is befuddled, calls on Scotland Yard, and is (mostly) gratified to be gifted with Inspector Henry Tibbett. Henry, though, is a little less than delighted to find himself saddled with a case that opens with an old man solemnly intoning “bang-bang,” goes on to the mysteries of the Bishop of Bugolaland, and finishes with an inquiry into just what the family was up to in Africa, lo these many years ago.
NB: This book is also known as Murder By Threes.
As “Pudge” Coombe-Peters proved, Moyes had a gift for the kind of dreadful nicknames the British are so good at. This time around it’s “Flutter” Byers, a small-time hood who gets himself killed in a seedy Soho pub (was there, ever, any other kind?).
Byers consorted with criminals and owed money all over town; his death should have been little more than a footnote in the history of London gangs. But for some reason, Inspector Tibbett of Scotland Yard believes it’s connected to PIFL, a backwater do-good outfit, currently trying to referee a murderous squabble between two small African nations. And these dark suspicions begin to look more likely when Henry gets word of another assassin’s bullet—headed, this time, for one of PIFL’s earnest, tweedy justice warriors.
A bit of a delicious throwback, in many senses of the word. For starters, we have a weekend house party, that hallmark of Golden Age crime-fiction, and apparently still going strong in 1970, when this book was first published. The party is in honor of a certain Lady Balaclava, herself something of a hallmark of the Golden Age, and still, yes, going strong.
Well, at least until midway through the festivities, when she keels over, having apparently been poisoned. The most obvious suspects are her Ladyship’s daughters and their (suspiciously foreign) husbands: Leave it to Henry Tibbett to head off to the Continent, there to check on the daughters’ alibis and, once again, establish his bona fides as Scotland Yard’s most peripatetic detective.
NB: This book is also known as Many Deadly Returns.
If I were Scotland Yard, I might be that put-out with Henry Tibbett: He seems never to stay in England for more than about ten minutes, and he’s always taking vacations! This time around, he and the ever-pleasant Emmy are holidaying in the Alps when a popular ski instructor gets it in the neck.
Everybody in town is eager to point a finger—typically at the victim’s wife, who is widely assumed to have had enough of his philandering. But Henry isn’t sure, and sure enough, he is soon to be found poking his British bulldog’s nose into a decidedly French scandale, turning up dirt on some of the swankiest swells on the mountain.
One of the oddities of Golden Age fiction was its fixation on the occult and the generally weird—ancient gypsy curses, haunted burial grounds, etc. It’s therefore something of a relief to settle in with the refreshingly literal Ms. Moyes: When a title refers to a third dog, we are not talking about some metaphysical barking: There were three dogs and now one is missing.
Up in arms about this is Emmy Tibbett’s sister Jane, a stalwart of the animal-rights movement and a trial to the other locals, who are a lot more concerned with the fact that one of their number has recently been hauled off to prison for the minor crime of having killed someone while drunk. Happily, Henry Tibbett soon shows up to connect the two and restore order to the village . . . though not before being forced to dress in drag.
Mavis Ironmonger is nobody’s idea of a good diplomatic wife. She drinks too much, she’s awfully friendly with the staff at the Washington embassy, and her music-hall roots have a way of bursting out at the most inappropriate moments. Indeed, it’s at an embassy reception that Mavis manages to insult a visiting ambassador and get herself hauled off to sober up. With the party winding down, Mavis is due downstairs, to say the official goodbyes, but in fact she has already made her final farewell, courtesy of a gunshot.
The ambassador refuses to allow the Americans to investigate, demanding instead that Henry Tibbett be called in from London. But if you know Henry, you know he won’t be staying in DC; in an eyeblink he is headed to the ambassador’s island nation, before haring back to Washington to prevent a second murder.
What would you do if a U.S. Senator was found murdered with a machete on the grounds of your exclusive golf club in the Caribbean? Maybe order another umbrella drink and work on your tan . . . or if you’re John and Margaret Colville, the owners of a modest hotel on the island of St. Matthews, call your friends, Inspector Henry Tibbett and his wife Emmy, to investigate.
Did the friendly young islander who tends bar for the Colvilles commit murder? The local authorities have arrested him, but Henry soon discovers that the murder rests on complex motives reaching far beyond the Caribbean.
NB: This book is also known as To Kill a Coconut.
Millionaire Lord Charlton altered his will in favor of his nephew, Simon Warwick, who had been adopted by American parents when his own were killed in World War II. When Lord Charlton dies, two men claiming to be Simon Warwick turn up in London to claim the estate. Then one is found dead, and Chief Superintendent Henry Tibbett is faced with a double mystery: Who is the murderer—and who is Simon Warwick?
Vacationing with friends in the Caribbean, Emmy and Henry meet a sprightly and delightful spinster who spins a yarn about a young woman lost at sea and then (perhaps) found again. The yarn gets yet more fascinating when the spinster herself disappears, and Henry―wry, unflappable Henry Tibbett of Scotland Yard―responds in a most uncharacteristic fashion.
It’s up to Emmy to untangle the clues, contending with drug smugglers on the one hand and an addled husband on the other. And did we mention the hurricanes? Emmy, of course, has resources to spare, so much so that we wish we could bring her back for a series of her very own.
It’s a slow day at Scotland Yard, so Inspector Henry Tibbett takes a busman’s holiday, immersing himself in the world of puzzling puzzlers. The hijinks kick off with an amusing gift: Someone unnamed has sent Henry the beginnings of a crossword puzzle. Even more mysterious: The clues point to the group of mystery writers to whom Henry has pledged to give a presentation. Most mysterious of all: None of the writers are who they claim to be, and one is a murderer. Which one' For that you’ll need to solve the puzzle. Six across and then down, down, down.
Henry and Emmy Tibbett have been traveling and are now headed back to England, on the ferry out of Harwich. It’s a trip Emmy has been looking forward to, but her excitement flags when it becomes clear that the cabins are all spoken for; she and Henry will have to bed down in the “sleeping lounge” with a motley collection of their fellow travelers.
By morning, one traveler has lost both his life and his fortune in Dutch diamonds. That’s bad enough, but a few days later, when Emmy’s unpacking at home, she makes a discovery that puts both Tibbetts in real danger. It will take their combined analytical skills to get them free of that terrible boat ride.
Detective Chief Superintendent Henry Tibbett and his wife, Emmy, have escaped the London winter to bask in the Caribbean sunshine. They have an ulterior motive for the trip, though—to try to help their elderly friend who says she’s being targeted by a cocaine ring. While keeping up the pretense of being clueless, wealthy tourists, the couple pokes around amid the palm trees—and goes to dangerous lengths to find the truth, which will involve Henry himself posing as a drug runner . . .
What could be more delightful than a long-forgotten relative who dies and leaves you a tidbit in his will? How about if that tidbit is in fact a charming country pub, and that pub is now yours—lock, stock, and barrels of beer?
Susan Gardiner is delighted, even when it becomes clear that the establishment has a line-up of regulars, not all of them as endearing as one might perhaps prefer. No, she doesn’t love all her new customers, but she certainly didn’t intend for one of them to be poisoned by a bad batch of mushrooms! The outlook is dire for both Susan and the Blue Moon…until Inspector Henry Tibbett steps in. He and Emmy just want a spot of lunch, but they are, as ever, willing to take on more than they had bargained for.