"Of course, it's rotten having a murder in the village, and especially in what was once my own house, but I'm not sorry that he's gone."
Inspector Gordon Knollis heads from Scotland Yard to the village of Bowland, investigating what initially appears a trivial mystery. Mrs. Frederick Manchester's life centres on her husband and her two pets. Entering her boudoir after breakfast on Sunday morning, she finds her budgerigar lying dead, its neck broken, a blue silken cord tied loosely round it. On the Monday, in the cactus house, she finds her cat lying amongst the plants. A blue silken cord is looped round its neck--which is broken.
But Knollis soon sees the case as far from trivial, an opinion confirmed when the partly-decapitated body of Fred Manchester is found in the Green Alley early on the Tuesday evening--with a blue silken cord crushed into his outside breast-pocket.
Knollis goes to work in his own determined way. There are many difficulties, and many setbacks, but he presses on in spite of them all, eventually solving the grim joke that lies behind the mystery of the three cords.
The Threefold Cord was originally published in 1947. This new edition features 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.