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Death Takes a Detour

Page history last edited by J F Norris 8 years, 6 months ago Saved with comment

Rhode, John writing as Miles Burton - Death Takes a Detour (1958)


The late-period Death Takes a Detour operates more as a police procedural -- that is, law officials gathering information and conducting interviews, with events happening in place of deductions -- than as a classic GA mystery story. At the beginning and end of the book, the author builds scenarios that are promising but then fails to deliver on their unique potential. As the river flowing through the town of Brensford rises, the inhabitants must cope with dangerously high flood waters. A trio of travelers abandons their mired car, but one of them is anxious to get to the manor home of a man named Carswell. The stranger disappears from the group in the middle of the night, and Carswell is found strangled in his home, a box containing counterfeit money in the room with him. As the flood waters recede, so does the tale's originality, with Inspector Arnold (using Desmond Merrion as a soundboard, per usual) investigating with a routine efficiency. A further weak point, the character of the murderer and the pivotal clue leading to the identity are not presented to the reader until the final two chapters of the book, with little setup provided to promote fair play. Principally for Rhode/Burton completists. -- Jason Hall


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