Ludovic Travers

Created by Christopher Bush
Pseudonyms include Noel Barclay and Michael Home

“And that’s not all. Somers is dead too … He poisoned himself … in the lounge!”
—from Murder in Fenwold

LUDOVIC TRAVERS, a tall, skinny, bespectacled and introspective economist and amateur sleuth, eventually turns pro when he becomes the owner of the Broad Street Detective Agency of London.

This seemingly endless series by British novelist Christopher Bush evolved right along with Travers, moving away from the original elaborate puzzle plots (Travers’ initial speciality was breaking “unbreakable” alibis) and other beloved tropes of the Golden Age of British detective fiction (there was even a Scotland Yard detective, Superintendent Wharton, hanging around during this era, serving as Travers’ chief rival and sometime-ally) and towards a style tilting slightly more towards the American “hard-boiled” school, his cases taking on a decidedly more random and violent nature, with Travers even occasionally encountering organized crime.

Still, while “Ludo” may have been now working as a professional detective, he was still “posher than the rest,” while the “whimsically escapist ‘death as a game” aesthetic of Golden Age detective fiction,” was strictly adhered to, according to Travers expert Curtis Evans, who wrote the introduction to the 2022 Dean Street Press reissue of the final book in the series, The Case of the Prodigal Daughter, originally published in 1968.

So don’t be fooled–while the cases may have leaned towards “hard-boiled” territory, they don’t lean very far. It would be kind to say the series hasn’t aged well, but even in its prime the reviews were sorta meh, at least on this side of the pond. Kirkus called The Case of the Corner Cottage “slowpoke but solid,” while The Saturday Review suggested the “story moves amiably without exceeding speed limit.”

Still, enough folks on both sides of the Atlantic must have liked these books — Bush pumped out sixty-three of the suckers. Sometime in the 2010s, the Dean Street Press began an ambitious reprinting of the entire series, including digital editions.


Born Charlie Christmas Bush in Norfolk in on Christmas Day, 1885, Bush’s father was a farmhand and his mother a milliner. As a young child, he was sent off to live in London with his aunt and uncle in London, but returned home at the ripe old age of seven, and later won a scholarship to Thetford Grammar School. As an adult, Bush worked as a teacher for 27 years (pausing only to fight in World War One), writing mystery novels on the side, finally retiring in 1931 to write full time (pausing once again, to fight in World War Two), and was a member of the prestigious Detection Club. Besides the Ludovic Travers series, all published under the author’s own name, Bush also wrote a small numbers of crime and thriller novels under the pen names of Noel Barclay and Michael Home.


  • When Dean Street Press reprinted The Case of the Flying Ass (originally published in 1939) in 2018, they changed the title to The Case of the Flying Donkey, possibly to protect delicate modern sensibilities (Shades of Christie’s And Then There Were None!). More troubling is the large number of these reprints listed on Amazon with “Quality issues reported” warnings. Are these “typos” actual typographical errors, or simply British spellings?



Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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