- By Glyn Carr
- First published: UK: Bles, 1954
Which is louder: a grenade explosion or a trained Shakespearean actor? Glyn Carr’s detective is an enormous, booming ham who climbs mountains for fun. His name:
BRIAN BLESSED Abercrombie Lewker.
Death Under Snowdon finds
BLESSED Lewker in Wales, shortly before he and two other men are to be knighted. One of them, odious politician David Webhouse, is killed in an explosive booby-trap. Everyone, it seems, had motive to loathe Webhouse. His second wife was in love with another man; her cousin could profit by Lewker’s death; his former mother-in-law is a religious maniac who blames him for her daughter’s suicide; and a local landowner wants to stop his hydroelectric development. A surfeit of suspects for the stentorian sleuth.
Glyn Carr knows the proper ingredients of a detective story: a larger-than-life detective; a household of suspects, all with motive and opportunity; a chapter where the three sleuths build cases against ‘their’ murderers; and a hopefully surprising solution. (Carr boasts that Lewker could not recall a similar solution to a murder problem in all his experience of crimes factual or fictional. I can think of a couple.) Several passages are funny (Clare’s startling remark in Chapter VIII, for instance); and there’s a delightfully clever, outspoken little girl, who becomes Lewker’s pal.
Frankly, I expected to enjoy this more. I found it long-winded and difficult to get into. Barzun and Taylor spoiled the solution – which takes away most of the fun. The book desperately needs a map; Carr presumes his readers know Snowdon. This is the kind of mystery written for handymen, revolving around three-eighths drill bits, detonator holes, steel rules, and wooden cylinders. Death Under Snowdon is less beknighted than benighted.
Ch. XIV: Allingham’s Campion and Ngaio Marsh’s Alleyn in green-backed Penguins