on 9 March 2014
This is one of the most ingeniously plotted mystery novels I have ever read. I have read several of Anthony Berkeley's novels, but this is definitely the one I have enjoyed the most. Strongly recommended, and I also enjoyed the other two Ambrose Chitterwick novels, The Piccadilly Murder and The Poisoned Chocolates Case. There is nothing in modern detective fiction to equal these, or even come close!
The book is subtitled, "How can a murderer prove his guilt?". As a dedicated follower of Golden Age, this seemed an even more preposterous premise for a crime novel than usual. Yet slowly but surely it all falls into place.
There has to be a degree of tongue-in-cheek, black humour as the story does have several holes in it. Thankfully, these can be gleefully overllooked. Our hero/villain Mr Todhunter is quite a benign little soul, a fusspot with a little head that sticks out like a tortoise. He has 'a large private income' (don't they all in 'Golden Age'?!?) and resides in the swishest parts of London.
Mr Berkeley has a delicious satirical attack on the exalted British Judicial system that doesn't seem to have progressed much further than Jarndyce v Jarndyce. This book is upper quartile in this genre as is this author. By the end you will regard the subtitle as perfectly sensible rather than preposterous. Surely, someone could turn this into a top quality film?
on 4 November 2015
Fantastic. I figured it out, then decided "No that person wasn't the killer", then "Yes, that is the killer" - talk about keeping me guessing !! The only part of the book that got a bit dull was some of the court room dialogue - other than that I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be checking out more of his work. Love the style, the story and the lovely twist at the end.