The D’Arblay Mystery (R. Austin Freeman, 1926)

By R. Austin Freeman

First published: UK, Hodder & Stoughton, 1926

My review

Freeman - D'Arblay Mystery.jpgOne of Freeman’s best. It is the tale of a murdered millionaire and a ditto waxwork modeller, a dying man and his coffin, and a forged coin—narrated by the usual young physician. The detection is fascinating: new facts are always being discovered, and the emphasis on logic exhilarating. The reader is thoroughly puzzled to the end, and the dénouement is amazingly ingenious. The lore of waxworks and coining is fascinating, and the scene (a Dickensian London) is first-class. The waxworks are surreal , and the attacks on the hero and heroine actually increase suspense.

(Me, aet. 16.  I still agree with the sentiment, but find my youthful enthusiasm amusing.)

Contemporary reviews

Lit R (J. Hawk, 25th September 1926, 300w):

A reader of ordinary perspicacity will make a shrewd guess as to the murderer before he has read much over one-sixth of it.  This may or may not be considered a weakness in a mystery yarn; in this book it is not.  For the second half of The D’Arblay Mystery is far more exciting and piquant than the first.


Boston Transcript (13th October 1926, 150w):

The D’Arblay Mystery baffles detective and readers in an equal degree.  And its solution satisfies the demands of literary unity and of the more than average human intelligence.


Books (NY Herald Tribune) (Carty Ranck, 7th November 1926, 100w):

Admirably conceived, cleverly written and filled with a suspense that steadily mounts to a crescendo of thrill cords, The D’Arblay Mystery will give you an interesting and exciting evening.  It is ‘good to the last drop’.