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Rynox

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 8 months ago

MacDonald, Philip - Rynox (1930)

 

MacDonald's Rynox (1930), also known as The Rynox Murder Mystery, is a novel without a series detective. Indeed, it is a novel without any detective at all. There is a brief initial investigation by the police, but mainly the crime is solved when the culprit confesses at the end. Instead, much of the book is taken up with vaguely comic vignettes, telling the story of the events leading up to the crime and its aftermath. These often make entertaining reading. They are full of cameo portraits of working class members of Britain, a group of people usually featured less often in Golden Age fiction. Even the more middle class characters are businessmen here, being members of the Rynox company, and are not the upper class people of leisure one often finds in this era. Bailey and Allingham also sometimes featured sympathetic working class characters in their tales. While considered as a puzzle plot, the book is very slowly paced - Agatha Christie would have packed all this into a short story - the puzzle is well constructed, and managed to surprise me at the end. The solution has elements which recall the work of R. Austin Freeman, although it has no medical or scientific aspects. The sheer methodicalness of the culprit, and his willingness to put an elaborate, logically thought through and very detailed scheme into place over many months, seems Freeman like, as do many details of that scheme. The book is divided into Reels, like a movie, and the first two Reels are much better than the third - the reader can skip from the end of Reel Two right into the Prologue which ends the tale without losing any plot.

 

Mike Grost

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