The surly, slovenly Shame of Scotland Yard — Detective Chief Inspector Wilfred Dover — is back on his best murder case yet, with the reluctantly loyal Sergeant MacGregor at his side. When the body of a pregnant young woman is found in an alley, Dover is uncharacteristically eager to pursue the case rather than sleep in the back of his car. A large industrial firm is looking for a new Security Chief and he wants to be that man. Why? For that most solemn of reasons: there’s more money in it.

But first he needs a resounding success with which to dazzle his prospective employers. The murder of this unknown, unimportant girl doesn’t look very promising, but Dover flings himself into the investigation with a verve and enthusiasm that brings tears to the eyes of his long-suffering sergeant.

In the process of tracking down murderer and motive, insulting the local constabulary, and dining to excess in the village inn, Dover and MacGregor run roughshod through the neighborhood where they uncover secret drinkers, perverts, heiresses, and demagogues with skeletons in their closets. The solution emerges through an atypically astute bit of detective work which Dover attributes to genius and Sergeant MacGregor to dumb luck. DEAD EASY FOR DOVER is a witty, unpredictable, and uproarious murder mystery of the highest order.

JOYCE PORTER is a British mystery writer who has written many times before of Dover’s misadventures. British critics are unanimous in their praise of Ms. Porter’s talents:

“Ms. Porter’s irrepressible inventiveness fizzes the story along, with some wickedly three-dimensional characterisations.”

—Evening Mail

“. . . reminiscent in parts of Wodehouse at his best.”

—Evening Citizen

“Black farce, written with loads of zip.”


Also by Joyce Porter

Dover One

Dover Two

Dover Three

Sour Cream with Everything

Dover and the Unkindest Cut of All

The Chinks in the Curtain

Dover Goes to Pott

Neither a Candle Nor a Pitchfork

Rather a Common Sort of Crime

It’s Murder with Dover

Dover Strikes Again

Only With a Bargepole

A Meddler and her Murder

The Package included Murder

Dover and the Claret Tappers

Who the Heck is Sylvia?





a novel by



Mary and Harry Brazier,

with much affection

Copyright © 1978 by Joyce Porter

First printed in the U.S.A. in 1979 by

St. Martin’s Press

All rights reserved. For information, write:

St. Martin’s Press, Inc.,

175 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y. 10010.

Manufactured in the United States of America

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Porter, Joyce.

Dead easy for Dover.

I. Title.

PZ4.P8464De         1979         [PR6066.072]         823'.914

ISBN 0-312-18492-1                                                78-3970


The inhabitants of Frenchy Botham were not best pleased one blustery March morning to find that they had got a murder on their hands. The few remaining ‘real’ villagers (those with the peeling paint and the front gardens full of rotting cabbages) didn’t want packs of bloody bobbies poking about for any reason whatsoever, while the townees hadn’t spent all that money on their country retreats just to have dead bodies dumped in their well-kept shrubberies.

The Chief Constable gazed despondently at the tarpaulin-covered bundle at his feet and slapped his swagger stick anxiously into a leather-gloved palm. ‘Are you sure there’s no identification on the body?’ he asked for the fifth time.

Detective Inspector Walters was a big man with a matching supply of patience. He stuck placidly to the formula which had served him well on four previous occasions. ‘Nothing we’ve been able to find so far, sir,’ he said. ‘Mind you, we haven’t been able to strip her yet, but there’s nothing in the pockets and there’s no sign of a handbag.’

‘But you’re still looking?’

‘For the handbag, sir?’ Inspector Walters indicated a posse of policemen who were meticulously examining every square inch of the garden, the drive and the roadway outside. ‘Yes, we’re still looking.’

The Chief Constable gnawed industriously at his bottom lip. ‘Damn and blast!’ he said.

f You’ll be calling in Scotland Yard, sir?’ The Inspector already knew the answer and accepted the implied slur on his capabilities with admirable resignation.

‘I rang London before I came out here,’ muttered the Chief Constable, a man who avoided responsibility like other people avoid the plague. ‘They should be here in a couple of hours.’

‘Oh, well, we can’t move the body till they’ve seen it, I suppose,’ observed Inspector Walters, talking as much to save embarrassing pauses as for any other reason. ‘I’ve already commandeered the Memorial Hall for use as a Serious Incidents Room. It’ll all be properly fitted up and staffed by the time the Murder Squad chaps get down here.’

‘If she’d been a local girl,’ said the Chief Constable miserably, ‘I wouldn’t have hesitated for a moment. We’d have tackled it ourselves. But she isn’t.’

‘Apparently not, sir,’ agreed Inspector Walters stolidly.

‘It’s well on the cards that Frenchy Botham’s connection with this murder is purely accidental. The girl was probably just dumped here from a passing car or something and there’ll be ramifications stretching way beyond our area of jurisdiction. It’s got all the hallmarks of being the sort of case that Scotland Yard can cope with standing on its head.’

‘Quite so, sir.’

Inspector Walters’s tone was soothing but the Chief Constable was still in the grip of an overwhelming need to justify himself. ‘We just don’t have the facilities,’ he pointed out. ‘Nor the experience. Nor the man-power. This flu epidemic has really hit us, you know. I see our overall strength figures every morning and, believe me, they’re frightening. Quite frightening.’ He lashed out at a nearby rhododendron bush with his swagger stick and sought for a change of conversation. ‘How long did you say she’d been lying here?’

Inspector Walters shook his head. ‘I didn’t, sir. But, going by the state of her clothing, it’ll be days rather than hours. Doctor Maxton thought it could be weeks, but that was after only a superficial examination. We’ll have a bit more of an idea, perhaps, after the p. m.’

‘Had she been ..?’

‘Didn’t look like it, sir. The clothing isn’t tom or even disarranged, come to that. And those jeans she was wearing are

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