on 1 August 2001
When his childhood friend and companion dies tragically young of consumption, barrister Rupert Mayfield goes to Canada to put the past behind him. Three years later he decides to return to England and is welcomed back by his friends and colleagues. Then one of them dies, and it appears he did not die of a degenerative disease, but was poisoned. As a web of suspicion begins to tighten round his circle of friends, Mayfield is determined to clear them, and asks the renowned medical lawyer Dr John Thorndyke to investigate. The story of that investigation is told by Mayfield himself and, through his innocent eyes, we see Thorndyke piece together a complex chain of events that, in the end, bring Mayfield personal tragedy. I first read As a Thief In the Night as a child of perhaps 12 and it began a lifelong addiction to detective fiction. It stayed in my memory, and for years I have scoured secondhand bookshops to try to find a copy. I am overjoyed to find this reprint from Stratus. In the intervening years I must have read many hundreds of detective stories. Re-reading As a Thief in The Night today confirms my belief that this is one of the best detective stories ever written, What a fortunate child I was to come across it. If you do not know the work of R Austin Fereeman and his incomparable investigator Dr Thorndyke, I urge you to begin here. And, lucky us, there are another thirty five R Austin Freeman titles now available.