Ring for a Noose (Anthony Gilbert)

Gilbert is unpredictable and uneven; one never knows what one’s going to get, or even if it will be any good.  At first glance, this looks like a detective story: impostor Hungarian refugee (really a small-time crook) brained with brick in telephone kiosk, apparently by an idealistic young Police Brigadier.  Turns into a procedural: Crook questions taxi drivers and pimps, hunts for wallets and Burberrys, and gets bashed, too.  Whodunit is forgotten about; Crook’s concern is proving his client innocent, not being a “blackleg” and doing the police’s work by finding the real killer.  Switches back to detective fiction in the final couple of chapters; the culprit is well hidden, among an indistinguishable cast, but it’s a little too late in the game to really care.

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