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Clues of the Caribbees

Page history last edited by Jon 14 years, 12 months ago

Stribling, TS - Clues of the Caribbees (1929)


A few months back I wrote and asked if someone knew or had heard of T.S. Stribling.  A Southern author who won a Pulitzer, and also wrote  mysteries.  The book's sub-title is "Being Certain Criminal  Investigations of Henry Poggioli, Ph.D."   The year is 1929.


Poggioli is a professor of psychology at Ohio State University, and "most proficient of psychological detectives."  In the book, he is spending hissabbatical year in the Caribbean and solving mysteries as he visits several of  the islands..


I found all of the stories interesting and depictive of the views, including those of class, colonialism and the racism that existed at the  time. Since I'm finishing a WIP set  on the Caribbean island of  Antigua in 1934, I was interested in how the author presented island life, etc.,  in the Caribbean (West Indies).


Stribling sets the stories on islands as disparate as Curacao, Dutch West Indies, to the formerly French colony of Halite, as well as  British Barbados, Port of Spain, Trinidad and others.  As a  caveat, the author uses racial slurs and stereotypes of the time, which might  offend some readers.  However, Stribling also captures the then state of  colonialism and the after effects of empire domination by European  nations.


I found the story, "A Passage to Benares," fascinating.  It takes  place in Port of Spain, Trinidad and includes a murder that takes place in a  Hindu temple located on the island.  At first, I found that curious,  unexpected.  An island discovered by the Spanish, but with East Indians in  large numbers on it?  But they did do business and trade on the  island.  And so the author used that potential conflict of mores and customs to create a plausible murder, investigation and solution that took into  account both Hindu customs and Trinidadian traditions.  Very  interesting.


Just sharing a good read.


Pat Harrington




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