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Fallen Into the Pit (An Inspector George Felse Mystery) [Mass Market Paperback]

5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Felse's first murder investigation April 7 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.
- Psalms 7:14 - 15
In these days after WWII, England is no longer the place the young men left when they went away to fight. The mining industry has been nationalized, and even Comerford's old slapdash efforts at opening up its shallow coal deposits are about to be reopened, with a flood of new faces coming in to operate the new machinery. The men who went away, of course, aren't those who came back: Jim Tugg, the hired man at the Hollins farm, with daring exploits as a paratrooper; Chad Wedderburn, the pacifist classics master who spent years in guerilla fighting; even Charles Blunden, son of Selwyn Blunden of Harrow, fought all the way across North Africa and Sicily.
Expatriates from all over Europe are common enough, even ex-POWs who still slip and say 'Heil Hitler!' if they forget. (And get beaten up, maybe, by somebody whose brother died in a Stalag.) Helmut Schauffler, though, has been asking to be murdered by going far beyond that.
Gerd Hollins had lost her entire family in the concentration camps. Haunted by memories of horror that won't stay suppressed, she asked her husband to hire Helmut, because if she could learn to see one German as a human being, it would help her to let go of her nightmares. Unfortunately, Helmut is a creep - an actual Nazi who enjoys psychological torment (though he's not stupid enough to try it in front of her husband or hired man). When he's fired and takes a job at the quarry, he still harasses her in a slimy way, while causing discord everywhere else he goes.
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By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was one of the best mysteries I have ever read. I came upon it by accident, not even knowing if it were a mystery or not. It is a wonderful successor to the great writers of the original English mystery. George Felse ranks up there with Poirot and Holmes, but shows a bit more humanity. The other characters, also, show qualities that make you forget that you're reading. The plot, I'm sure, will perplex you and will have you back for more Ellis Peters. I will say that after reading most of the Felse mysteries and a few Cadfael that Felse is better, but this one is the best in the lot.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great modern English mystery, best she's written. Feb. 3 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was one of the best mysteries I have ever read. I came upon it by accident, not even knowing if it were a mystery or not. It is a wonderful successor to the great writers of the original English mystery. George Felse ranks up there with Poirot and Holmes, but shows a bit more humanity. The other characters, also, show qualities that make you forget that you're reading. The plot, I'm sure, will perplex you and will have you back for more Ellis Peters. I will say that after reading most of the Felse mysteries and a few Cadfael that Felse is better, but this one is the best in the lot.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep, insightful, and brilliant Aug. 23 2003
By phantomfan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
After reading almost all of Ellis Peters' Cadfael mysteries, I decided to give her other works a try, just to see if they could possibly compare. Well, to say I was surprised at what a fantastic novel this is can only be appreciated by those who have read and marveled at the brilliant Cadfael series.
Peters has created not only a very suspenseful and intriguing whodunnit, but a work of great depth, warmth, humor, and tragedy, full of complex character studies and profound insights into human nature, the effects of war, and how the murder of a man whom everyone hated anyway still rips apart the fabric of a small, close-knit community. And above it all emerges a playful, lighthearted banter between a precocious 13-year-old and his loving parents which is absolutely delightful to read. Somewhere around the middle of the book, after she has painted a vivid picture for us of the people, place, and times, young Dominic becomes central as the book's primary protagonist, and I cannot think of a more well-suited character to carry this novel.
As for the mystery itself, it was simply ingenious, better than many of the Cadfael mysteries, some of which are fairly easy to solve. This one had me on my toes until the very end, and threw some whopping surprises in along the way.
This is truly a work of genius, many-layered, lovingly crafted, and brilliantly well-told. Good luck finding another modern author who can come close to this level of accomplishment. Peters' work deserves much more acclaim than it has received.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Felse's first murder investigation April 7 2002
By Michele L. Worley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.
- Psalms 7:14 - 15
In these days after WWII, England is no longer the place the young men left when they went away to fight. The mining industry has been nationalized, and even Comerford's old slapdash efforts at opening up its shallow coal deposits are about to be reopened, with a flood of new faces coming in to operate the new machinery. The men who went away, of course, aren't those who came back: Jim Tugg, the hired man at the Hollins farm, with daring exploits as a paratrooper; Chad Wedderburn, the pacifist classics master who spent years in guerilla fighting; even Charles Blunden, son of Selwyn Blunden of Harrow, fought all the way across North Africa and Sicily.
Expatriates from all over Europe are common enough, even ex-POWs who still slip and say 'Heil Hitler!' if they forget. (And get beaten up, maybe, by somebody whose brother died in a Stalag.) Helmut Schauffler, though, has been asking to be murdered by going far beyond that.
Gerd Hollins had lost her entire family in the concentration camps. Haunted by memories of horror that won't stay suppressed, she asked her husband to hire Helmut, because if she could learn to see one German as a human being, it would help her to let go of her nightmares. Unfortunately, Helmut is a creep - an actual Nazi who enjoys psychological torment (though he's not stupid enough to try it in front of her husband or hired man). When he's fired and takes a job at the quarry, he still harasses her in a slimy way, while causing discord everywhere else he goes.
Sergeant Felse isn't surprised when Helmut finally turns up floating in the brook, head bashed in, although he's less than thrilled that his 13-year-old son Dominic found the corpse. Despite George's best efforts, Dominic gets interested in the case, especially since his classics master is a suspect.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My First George Felse Mystery Aug. 29 2004
By S. Schwartz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read and loved all Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael mysteries, and for that reason I had been reluctant to start her equally well-known George Felse series. I am very glad that I did decide to begin this series. It's been awhile since I actually read a Brother Cadfael, and I had forgotten what a marvellous writer Ms. Peters was. Her characters in this series are just as well-rounded and realistic as the ones in the Cadfael series. The time and place are much different, but Ms. Peters' wonderful plotting and story-telling are the same. I truly believe that Ms. Peters is still in a class of her own when it comes to authorship. In this book the main sleuth is not George Felse himself, but his protege of a son - Dominic, who is 13 years old. Ms. Peters has written a coming of age mystery book here with her usual great skill. Dominic and his sidekick Pussy are two youngsters that readers will not soon forget. Also, George's wife Bunty is another wonderful character that I can't wait to read more about. They mystery too is ingenious and such a pleasure to uncover. Can't wait for more George Felse.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Inspector Felse July 9 2005
By Gary F. Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Best known for her "Brother Cadfael" series, Ellis Peters (1913-1985) was also the author of thirteen novels featuring Inspector George Felse. Published in 1951, FALLEN INTO THE PIT is first novel in that series--and easily the best.

Most of the Inspector Felse novels run approximately two hundred pages; FALLEN INTO THE PIT runs over three hundred. To a certain extent this is due to Peters' establishment of the main characters and locales--but in simple fact the novel is much more densely written than her other Felse novels, so much so that at times it has an almost poetic quality.

Set in England following World War II, the plot focuses on a young German prisoner of war named Helmut Schauffler, who has remained in England after his release. Unfortunately, Helmut is a nasty bit of goods: a bully who attacks only when reasonably certain that there will be no retribution. Needless to say, he makes enemies right and left--and no one is greatly surprized when he is found with his head crushed in and thrown into a country stream.

Peters' plots are typically contrived, and although handsomely written and more than usually entertaining this is no less true of FALLEN INTO THE PIT than it is of her other works; long-time mystery readers will likely spot the killer through the way the author draws out her plot and sets forth the characters. Even so, this remains a particularly fine title in the Felse series. Recommended.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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