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.
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