The Surprising Experiences of Mr. Shuttlebury Cobb (R. Austin Freeman, 1927)

By R. Austin Freeman

First published: UK, Hodder & Stoughton, 1927

My review

Freeman - Shuttlebury Cobb.jpgEntertaining cock-and-bull story about a lawyer who is mistaken for various criminals and twice wrongfully arrested—once by Russian secret policeman—and who retrieves a 17th century treasure from under the nose of the policeman who first arrested him.  As Catalogue of Crime says, this is influenced by Stevenson (The Wrong Box?).  Note the clue in the Japanese magic mirror, used in one of the Thorndyke short stories.

Contemporary reviews

Times Literary Supplement (19th May 1927):

In this story of hidden treasure near Canterbury Mr. Austin Freeman has reverted to that lighter vein of narrative in which he recorded the adventures of Danby Croker, and details his hero’s misfortunes and final triumph with restrained but effective humour.  There are rogues in the story, and the accumulated loot of a gang of international jewel-thieves, but instead of the Law being upheld by Dr. Thorndyke’s grave and inexorable efficiency we have the empirical acquisitiveness of Sergeant Burbler and the obstinate, authoritative, and blundering incompetence of some foreign police officials.  But if Burbler comes into the story in connexion with the stolen jewels, he remains in it in order to intrude in the matter of the hidden treasure, the discovery of which turns upon the position of a mermaid and the interpretation of a cryptic message partly inscribed upon the frame of a seventeenth-century mirror and partly concealed within its depths in the Japanese manner.