Death at Hallows End

by Leo Bruce, © 1965 – Academy Chicago Publishers, 2008 trade paper – a Carolus Deene mystery

This is the 28th in my series of Friday Forgotten Books

After reading and enjoying both the novel Case for Three Detectives and the short story collection Murder in Miniature, I decided to try one of Bruce’s Carolus Deene mysteries. Bruce wrote more stories and novels featuring this amateur detective school master than any other character.

in Death at Hallows End, Deene is asked to look into the disappearance of Duncan Humby, an attorney and one of two partners in a law firm. The other partner is a long time friend of Deene. It seems Humby set out for Hallows End one morning and never arrived.  His car was found by a passing local, on the road to the small town, with a man hunched over the steering wheel. The man didn’t look too closely, but reported to the local constable. When the constable arrived, the car was empty and there was no sign of Humby.

As is usual in this kind of mystery, it is the piecing together of small bits of knowledge, blended with insight into human nature, that allows Deene, methodically, to interview the locals, most of whom are suspicious of this man from the big city, and eventually solve the puzzle. I saw the solution well before it was presented, but some details I missed. I just had a feeling who the guilty person was.

A light, fast (221 page) read, traditional in every sense. Deene may be remind you slightly of Christie’s Poirot, but without the eccentricities, or at least with some different ones. There are touches of humor in the book as well. I liked this one and will read more.

Academy Chicago Publishers has several of these in print, and readers of the traditional British mystery might well find a visit to their website rewarding.

~  ~  ~  ~

Series organizer Patti Abbott hosts more FFB reviews at her own blog,
and a complete list of today’s participating blogs.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Friday Forgotten Book, mystery, Personal Opinion, Review and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Death at Hallows End

  1. Patti Abbott says:

    A new name. Thanks, Rick.

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Good choice. I thought I’d read one of the Bruce titles years ago, but apparently not. The only one I’ve read was the shorts.

    When I sold British books, the Bruce titles usually went pretty well, as most of them were not published in this country until recent decades.

  3. Richard says:

    I’m glad Chicago Academy is publishing some of these, Jeff, they are well worth reading.

  4. I’ve read a couple of Leo Bruce books, but not this one, Rick. I’ll have to seek it out.

  5. A name I’m not familiar with, so I think this one goes on my list. I keep a running group of interesting titles from these Friday lists. I likely willnever be able to get them all, or even read all the ones I do get, but one tries….(sigh)

  6. Richard says:

    I know, Randy, so many books, so little time and all that. Plus this Friday Forgotten Book thing has cost me money and the TBR has grown like mad. But it’s books, so it’s all good, right?

  7. R. T. says:

    Because of your recommendation, I’m off to my library website (and if that comes up empty, I’m off to online markets) to find a copy of Bruce’s book. Thanks for sharing an author and title with which I am unfamiliar. Now, it’s off to the library!

  8. Richard says:

    Good luck with the hunt, R.T. If you come up empty, Chicago Academy has several of them to buy.

  9. Evan Lewis says:

    Don’t know about Carolus as a detective’s name, but Humby is a swell name for a victim.

  10. Richard says:

    Ah, yes, but when we call him Professor Deene, we begin to see the humor of it…

  11. Carl V. says:

    Any kind of comparison to Poirot, even without the eccentricities, peaks my interest. Sounds like an interesting character.

  12. Steve Lewis says:

    Leo Bruce certainly falls in the category of a forgotten author, all right. But as Jeff said, his books sell well. He’s something of a cult author, one appealing mostly to fans of traditional British mysteries.

    Once you read one of his books, you can get hooked. You have to hunt down and read all of them — and there are lots of them!

  13. Pingback: Best Left Unforgotten | Crime Blog

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