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Ask a Policeman

Page history last edited by Jon 11 years, 1 month ago

Lorac, ECR - Ask A Policeman (1955)


Whatever happened to Ralph McAmboine? His aunt went to the house he claimed to live at, but nobody there has ever heard of him. Three months later, an unknown corpse is found in the Thames, leading Superintendant MacDonald to unfold a (too much) complicated affair with roots in a dark past. “Ask A Policeman” evidences both Lorac's virtues and flaws. Characters are well - drawn and post - war social context is carefully detailed. On the other hand, plot ruins an interesting premise by getting into excessive and pointless complication. Maybe Ms. Lorac (another female author with an anything - but - female pseudonym) chose the wrong road as a novelist, picking mystery while her place was in mainstream with social concerns. ***


Xavier Lechard


Detection Club, The - Ask a Policeman (1933)


John Rhode wrote the opening section of The Detection Club's round robin, Ask a Policeman (1933). This novella length chapter covers the murder and its initial investigation. It is splendidly imagined, with much social satire, and a sly sense of humor running throughout. The satirical element also extends to a spoof of detective stories, with the Golden Age formula of murder among the social elite stretched to its absurd breaking point. The basic setup, the murder of an influential millionaire press baron, evokes E. C. Bentley's Trent's Last Case (1912). It is deliberately absent a solution: Rhode left that to his Detection Club colleagues, 5 of whom provided their own solutions to the case. Anthony Berkeley's is the best of these: it has some logical analysis, as well as a funny spoof of Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey.


Mike Grost


See also: http://moonlight-detective.blogspot.com/2011/07/swapping-sleuths.html


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