H.R.F. Keating: The crime novel as fable

Based on Masters thesis, University of Sydney, 2010 The Puzzle Doctor was unamused by Inspector Ghote Plays a Joker. "Is there a great Inspector Ghote book that I must read?" he wondered. Probably, but not if he expects a detective story... Keating, a gentle, whimsical writer, was less concerned with plot and detection than with … Continue reading H.R.F. Keating: The crime novel as fable

Greetings, puny humans, from the space year 2020

Happy New Year, Terrans and other sentient lifeforms! And welcome to the future! I’m tired; I’ve just flown by jetpack from Mars Colony Five to my parents’ habidome halfway down the Mariana Trench. I’m telepathically dictating this with my cerebral augs while enjoying a revitalizing course of electro-stimulation. In the next room, I can hear … Continue reading Greetings, puny humans, from the space year 2020

The Mystery of the Peacock’s Eye (Brian Flynn)

First published: 1928 Available from Dean Street Press This may well be the most popular detective fiction release of the week. The Puzzle Doctor has prescribed a course of Brian Flynn, now available from Dean Street Press; half the criminous blogosphere has read it; and the verdict has been unanimously in favour. The 'eyes', to … Continue reading The Mystery of the Peacock’s Eye (Brian Flynn)

The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond (G.K. Chesterton)

The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond (1937), posthumously published, may not hit the heights of The Man Who Was Thursday or the Father Brown stories (say, the Insolence or the Incorrigibility) – but one sees great things from the valley; even lesser GKC towers over almost anyone else. In Borges' favourite story, "The Three Horsemen of … Continue reading The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond (G.K. Chesterton)

Dull British drownings

Murder Jigsaw (E. & M.A. Radford, 1944) An obnoxious fly-fishing colonel is drowned, apparently accidentally; "remarkably painstaking and meticulous examinations" prove that it was murder. The setting is a small fishing hotel in Cornwall.  I know nothing about fishing; wet flies or dry, it's simply dry. This is very much in the Austin Freeman line.  Dr. … Continue reading Dull British drownings

The Night of Fear (Moray Dalton)

By Moray Dalton First published: UK, 1931 Edgar Stallard, who combined writing about true crime with blackmailing practitioners, is stabbed during a Yuletide  game of hide-and-seek in the dark.  Suspicion falls on Hugh Darrow, a blind war veteran. Both Curtis Evans, in his introduction for the Dean Street Press reprint, and Barzun & Taylor call The … Continue reading The Night of Fear (Moray Dalton)

The Case of the Three-Ring Puzzle (Christopher Bush)

By Christopher Bush, 1962 Macdonald Labelled "a Ludovic Travers Mystery Novel", this has no mystery, no puzzle plot, and no real reason to exist. Travers ties together three seemingly unrelated cases.  Prelude: A photographer thinks his aunt is being swindled.  Five years later, an American impostor hires Travers to find one Harry Wale, and a … Continue reading The Case of the Three-Ring Puzzle (Christopher Bush)