Frank Jennings was a keen murder-mystery fan, but no one was more surprised than he to find himself mixed up in a murder mystery in real life, and that the victim was the wife of one of his own neighbours.
Paul Murray was the sort of man who ought to have hanged for murder. There everybody who knew him was agreed. It was on the question of whether he was responsible for the murder of his wife, Brenda, that they disagreed.
The case is not made any easier for Inspector Knollis because of the attempts of Roy Palmer and Peter Fairfax to incriminate Murray by interference and careful lies. And, of course, there is Jennings, the spare-time criminologist who is a voluble nuisance but with some occasional bright ideas; and the kippers of which Fairfax makes red herrings. A difficult case, but the genial Inspector will not be beaten.
The Sleeping Island was first published in 1951. This new edition includes an introduction by crime fiction historian Curtis Evans.
"Francis Vivian skips all tedious preliminaries and is commendably quick off the mark; we meet his characters with lively pleasure." Observer
"Mr. Vivian neatly fits everything in its place." Times Literary Supplement
Francis Vivian was born Arthur Ernest Ashley in 1906 at East Retford, Nottinghamshire. He was the younger brother of noted photographer Hallam Ashley. Vivian laboured for a decade as a painter and decorator before becoming an author of popular fiction in 1932. In 1940 he married schoolteacher Dorothy Wallwork, and the couple had a daughter. After the Second World War he became assistant editor at the Nottinghamshire Free Press and circuit lecturer on many subjects, ranging from crime to bee-keeping (the latter forming a major theme in the Inspector Knollis mystery The Singing Masons). A founding member of the Nottingham Writers' Club, Vivian once awarded first prize in a writing competition to a young Alan Sillitoe, the future bestselling author. The ten Inspector Knollis mysteries were published between 1941 and 1956. In the novels, ingenious plotting and fair play are paramount. A colleague recalled that 'the reader could always arrive at a correct solution from the given data. Inspector Knollis never picked up an undisclosed clue which, it was later revealed, held the solution to the mystery all along.' Francis Vivian died on April 2, 1979 at the age of 73.