‘The Mystery of a Butcher’s Shop’ isn’t too bad in this respect; it’s odd but entertaining (I particularly liked the absent minded vicar with kleptomaniac tendencies) but what I really like about Mitchell is this:
...’She thinks the Church Catechism is immoral.’
‘So do I,’ Said Aubrey feelingly. ‘I can’t stick learning stuff by heart. But what’s her objection?’
‘The bit about your betters. She says the village children are led to believe it means the squire and the people who go fox hunting and the factory owners who pay women about half what they would pay men for doing exactly the same work.’
It goes on for a little bit more in much the same way but what gets me about it is that it was written in 1930 and we’re still fighting the same battle for equal pay now. Mitchell was a prolific writer – she also had a long career as a teacher. She was clearly a woman with ideas and opinions that she wasn’t shy of expressing and compared to her contemporaries (Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers etc) she feels much more subversive. Mrs Bradley does and says outrageous things but crucially she has a career – she doesn’t just stumble on crimes she’s called in to consult and is no Miss Marple who has to conceal her intelligence. I’m so pleased that Vintage have started reprinting these books – there are another three due out in October this year which I look forward to as a welcome post summer/pre Christmas treat.