The Red Thumb Mark and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Start reading The Red Thumb Mark on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

The Red Thumb Mark [Paperback]

R. Austin Freeman
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 11.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Usually dispatched within 2 to 3 weeks.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Book Description

29 Jan 2010
This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Frequently Bought Together

The Red Thumb Mark + The Mystery Of 31 "New Inn" (Dr. Thorndyke)
Price For Both: 18.07

One of these items is dispatched sooner than the other.

Buy the selected items together

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: HardPress Publishing (29 Jan 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1407611712
  • ISBN-13: 978-1407611716
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description


'This man Austin Freeman is a wonderful performer' -- Raymond Chandler --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

R. Austin Freeman is the doyen of the scientific division of detective writing, is best known for his character Dr John Thorndyke. A close and careful investigator and the outstanding medical authority in the field of detective fiction, R. Austin Freeman not only tested the wits of the reader but also inspired many modern detective forensic methods. Much of his long life was spent as a physician and surgeon at the Middlesex Hospital, London. He also held posts in West Africa and later was a medical officer at Holloway Prison. The most famous of the Edwardian detective writers, he rescued the detective story from "thrillerdom" and made it acceptable to a more discerning class of reader. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Explore More
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

4 star
2 star
1 star
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Detective Rediscovered! 27 Mar 2014
By Jak
Format:Kindle Edition
R. Austin Freeman started writing detective novels and stories in the golden age of mystery writing at the beginning of the 20th Century. Like Conan Doyle he was a qualified medical practitioner but unlike Sherlock Holmes, Freeman's super sleuth Dr. Thorndyke is not a name many of us are familiar with today.

And that's a pity, since for sheer ingenuity and brilliance of forensic detective work Dr Thorndyke is hard to beat. Freeman was a prolific author (and widely acclaimed both in Britain and the USA). Between 1907 when this book was published and his death in 1943, Freeman published two dozen novels and 40 short stories featuring Dr Thorndyke. And that was in addition to other fiction and non-fiction works.

About five years after publishing "The Red Thumb Mark" he invented the form known as the "inverted detective story," where the crime and criminal are described in detail at the outset. Then the way in which the crime is solved (in Freeman's case with Dr Thorndyke displaying remarkable and apparently scientifically accurate forensic methods) is what absorbs the reader for the rest of the tale.

I'm so glad to have come across this work. This book is gripping and fascinating, the characters well drawn and interesting, the well selected photographs and drawings enrich the story, and the formatting is really good for reading on a Kindle.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great read 27 Mar 2014
By Jim..
Format:Kindle Edition
This was really a fun read. I am a sherlock holmes fan, and this is a bit like that with a bit more medical science thrown in
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Freeman revival 15 Jan 2013
By slyall
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
period piece like all the Freeman stories you can understand why Conan Doyle was so popular
Have read quite a lot of his work but don't think I'll bother again.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic By Any Standards 21 Aug 2000
By A Customer - Published on
The Red Thumb Mark is the novel that introduces to the world one of the greatest "scientific" detectives in all literature: Dr. John Thorndyke. It is rightly regarded as one of the all-time classics in mystery fiction. Raymond Chandler, for example, who typically hated British detective fiction for its consistent implausibilities, found Austin Freeman's work and The Red Thumb Mark highly entertaining and readable.
The novel concerns Thorndyke's attempts to clear the name of a young man accused of stealing diamonds from a safe. A thumb mark (finger print) near the scene of the crime is the only evidence against the young man, but it is decidedly damning. Add a little romance, a sinister villian lurking in the background, and you have the ingredients that make up this story.
I found the work to be wonderfully exciting. Watching Thorndyke break down the evidence against the young man is a fascinating expereince. Though a person could argue that too much detail is given to the "science" aspect, you have to understand that these scenes are the backbone of this type of detective story.
In a day and age of corporate villiany, brutal crime bosses and hideous serial killers, The Red Thumb Mark might seem to some readers as painfully old-fashioned. Freeman's writing is similar (and often compared with) Conan Doyle, and there's little doubt that Freeman found inspiration from the Holmes canon. However, the novel's old-fashioned flavor is the very reason to recommend it. It's fun to walk the streets of Edwardian England, to see the sights, to hear the gentlemanly discussions, to share the thought processes of one of the great detective minds. This is the real magic of the novel.
Sadly, most of Freeman's work has long, long been out of print. I would recommend hunting among the used book stores for his other great mysteries, especially The Silent Partner, The Eye of Osiris, and my all-time favorite Mr. Pottermack's Oversight. These great novels are as highly recommended as The Red Thumb Mark. Someday, I hope the world rediscovers this highly talented writer and that he is placed along side with the other great names where he belongs.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Raciocinative Classic 16 Feb 2000
By Christina P. Branson - Published on
Freeman's Dr. Thorndyke is frequently compared to Sherlock Holmes, and I like to think the two characters would appreciate each other. I personally have a slight preference for Thorndyke because he has more conscious respect for logic and the scientific method and is a warmer person.
In this tale, Dr. Thorndyke, who is primarily employed as a medical expert witness, is asked to mount the defense for a young man accused of the theft of diamonds from his uncle's safe. The evidence against Mr. Reuben Hornby--his bloody thumbprint inside the safe--is so compelling that even his own solicitor is convinced of his guilt. Thorndyke, however, is equally confident that the thumbprint is a forgery and, with the assistance of Dr. Jervis and Thorndyke's resourceful servant Polton, sets out to prove it. He makes quick progress, too, because he soon finds himself the target of several cleverly engineered assassination attempts.
While I was quite certain early in the book as to who was responsible for the theft, I liked how Freeman made the point that it is one matter to know who did or did not do a thing, but it is yet another matter entirley to prove your knowledge in a court that is not only not ready to believe you but is governed by policies in direct conflict with your methods.
Dr. Jervis played an interesting role in the case, at once keeping the reader apprised of key facts and insights and distancing the reader from Thorndyke's speculations. He also had an internal conflict regarding his interest in the lovely Miss Gibson that provided even more confusion for the reader. Freeman did an admirable job of making me wonder till the very end about Miss Gibson's level of involvement in the crime.
I had sought this book out after enjoying one of Freeman's short stories, and I was not disappointed. Freeman introduces interesting characters and an intriguing puzzle against the backdrop of turn-of-the-century London to great effect. I'd think any fan of Sherlock Holmes would be delighted to discover Dr. Thorndyke.
(adapted from a "Skullduggery" review)
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch Your Evidence Closely 20 Oct 2010
By Anne Wingate - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition

One of R. Austin Freeman's favorite topics is the use of fingerprint evidence in crime solving. His opinion is that it isn't worth much. I'm a fingerprint expert from way back (I was a CSI before it was fashionable), and I think it's worth a lot. But he's right in this: Fingerprints can be forged, and have been forged. The specific device he used in this fascinating book would no longer work because of DNA evidence, but during the entire time I was involved in fingerprint examination it could have worked. His method of proving that it did not prove what it purported to prove was very similar to what I would use to make the same discovery. It was this: If you have two fingerprints that are EXACT duplicates of one another, at least one of them was forged.

But when Freeman wrote this novel, nobody knew that axiom. So his originality is such that I was extremely impressed. In fact, after reading all of Freeman's works as I have done, I would say that he would have made an extremely good CSI himself, using no more scientific methods than those he used, up until the late 1970s. That puts him way ahead of the game, in the same way that Arthur Conan Doyle's late 19th century Sherlock Holmes novels were ahead of the game.

This is a very impressive novel, and I cannot imagine anyone with any interest in either crime fiction or criminalistics of any type who would not want to read everything s/he could find by this brilliant author.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An Edwardian Detective Novel - What Makes Something Evidence 20 Aug 2000
By Peter Flanagan - Published on
Edwardian London: a city of squalor, pea-soup fogs, and primitive detective work. Into this city, is introduced Dr John Thorndyke, a pathologist, who appears as an expert witness in court cases for both the defence and prosecution. He is also a detective who seeks to solve cases.
In this first Thorndyke story by R Austin Freeman (the first of many in the series), Thorndyke takes on a new assistant Dr. Jervis. Dr Jervis is the foil to Thorndyke, just as Dr Watson is to Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. Thorndyke also explores more than just the case, by having Jervis fall in love. Dr Jervis' love affair is an interesting diversion in how it reveals middle-class values at the turn of the century.
The basis of this story is interesting: can forensic science be wrong; can you fake fingerprints on evidence ? The book is not a 'who dun it' in the conventional sense. Most readers will identify the obvious villain early on. The challenge is to work out how the crime was done and then to prove that it was done that way. Of course, Thorndyke frees the innocent man in the end.
Thorndyke is a more scientific detective than Holmes and achieves surprising results, even within the primitive knowledge and techniques of his day.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highest praise for a marvellous book 3 Mar 2005
By nohmn - Published on
At one point in my life I worked 'troubleshoting', solving problems that often were descrbied as 'unresolvable' - usually because people believed that when you eliminated the impossible you ended up with the necessary. But I was struck how easy it is to 'hypnotise' oneself into mistakes as to what is 'impossible'. The liklihood of error from mistakenly acceepting false equivalences seemed to me the root of almost all the problems that stumped or misled the really talented, often brilliant, and skilled people I helped. This is the first book I have read that made me feel the author had 'been' there or at least caught 'how it was' to be at the heart of solving such puzzles. I really feel the French expression, chapeau, is merited - in spades. I also found this book first published almost a century ago astonishingly undated in how it felt to me.
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category