The Verdict of You All (Henry Wade)

By Henry Wade

First published: UK, Constable, 1926

Blurb (UK)

Wade - The Verdict of You All.JPG
Source: Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC

In Henry Wade, author of THE VERDICT OF YOU ALL, the large public of detective story readers will find a new and satisfying friend.

Mr. Wade believes that the interest of detective fiction lies in the closeness of its reasoning.  He is of the school of Freeman Wills Crofts, author of The Cask.

THE VERDICT OF YOU ALL is a murder mystery of which the complex plan is staged and unravelled with great accuracy and care.


Blurb (US)

Wade - The Verdict of You All US.JPG
Source: Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC

The large public that loves detective stories will find in Henry Wade, author of THE VERDICT OF YOU ALL, a new master of this type of fiction.  Mr. Wade belongs to the school of writers who believe that the chief interest in stories of this sort lies in the closeness of the reasoning applied to every phase of the stated problem and its solution. Mr. Wade adheres to this method in the present instance with marked success.  THE VERDICT OF YOU ALL is a murder mystery of which the complete plan is staged and unravelled with an intricate precision that recalls the ratiocination of Poe.

My review

The author’s first novel; his talents improved with later books. The construction isn’t bad, but some of the ingenious complications are left unexplained. The identity of the man who coshed the financier in his study is, however, as obvious from the beginning as his false alibi.

This is one of the earliest courtroom dramas written; and it is also the second of at least three novels published in the 1920s which hinge on SPOILER the fact that a murderer, once tried, cannot be retried. The others are by Agatha Christie and John Rhode.

Contemporary reviews

Times Literary Supplement (28th October 1926):

This is an exceptionally well constructed detective story, describing the patient investigation of an obscure crime by the professional police in the performance of their regular duty.  If the C.I.D. ever take a ’busman’s holiday by reading detective stories they will enjoy this one.  Beginning with the conventional episode of murder committed on the person of an elderly and wealthy man in his own study in the heart of London, it speedily introduces Inspector Dobson of Scotland Yard, and sets him to work.  The victim, who is found lying dead on the floor by the housemaid in the morning, has been killed by a blow on the back of the head some hours before; but there is no weapon or any other clue to help the inspector, who, after a methodical examination, goes off to lay the facts before his superior at Scotland Yard.  They go over them systematically and lay out a plan of campaign.  Gradually one thing after another comes out and they get on the track: on more than one track, of course, to heighten the interest.  It is very well done: the details are not too intricate or far-fetched, and the end is original and unexpected.


New Statesman:

The Verdict of You All is pure detective fiction.  Mr. Wade is extremely good at the game.  His clues are neatly wound up, his style is pleasant, his character-drawing sufficient.


H.C. Harwood in The Outlook:

Classical in beauty and austerity…Immediately puts Mr. Wade among the masters.


Edward Shanks in the London Mercury:

The publishers of The Verdict of You All do not exceed the bounds of discretion when they compare it to the work of Mr .Freeman Wills Crofts – and I do not know what higher compliment can be expected…Mr. Wade has written an admirable book.


Daily Express:

The best detective story for a long time.


Rose Macaulay in the Daily News:

A very competent, adequate, conscientiously set and carefully solved problem; the clues are well laid down and well picked up, the tracks well made and skilfully uncovered…In The Verdict of You All there are really no holes to pick; it is an English murder and does our country credit.