Whee–kind of fun! This is an old mystery novel published in 1932,
before you were born, and yet it’s pretty good! Poisoned Pen Press is
reprinting a few of Farjeon’s mysteries and I plan to read more of them.
In the 1930s Agatha Christie was writing—and pretty stiff competition
for anyone else. Farjeon knew it and makes a little point of mentioning
The book begins with Richard Temperley arriving in London at Euston Station
at five in the morning (!) –too early to arrive at his sister’s place where he’ll
be staying for a few days.
Passing the time at a nearby hotel, he accidentally witnesses a murder and
is curious about an attractive young woman who leaves the scene quickly.
So! we’re off—with a train and London and a crime. I don’t think I’m
giving too much away by telling you there will be more murders . . . and
some car trips all over England. Ha–during those car trips the driver is
always consulting road maps (no GPS). And, one of the few areas where
the book is dated, is the use of an “aeroplane” by the detectives.
You’ll like the aide to Chief Inspector James–a young man named
Dutton. He writes his notes with his special pen–blue on one end, and
red on the other. He writes the facts in blue, and his conjectures in red.
Farjeon uses a nice ploy to advance the plot by giving Temperley a page or
or two now and then to have a monologue –discussing the what-ifs and the
different prospects of his own suspicions. Gives us a chance to review the
case, too. Does he use foreshadowing a teensy bit? Yes, but can’t compare
to the old Mary Roberts Rinehart’s trick of “We didn’t know then that . . .”!
The book moves quickly and enjoyably –what more do we want? and keeps
the reader wondering what is going to happen. And sometimes Farjeon
“Now the sky above was a black sheet sewn with spangles.”
I liked the book and you might, too. Two button review.