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The Red Thumb Mark

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 10 months ago

Freeman, R Austin - The Red Thumb Mark (1907)


This seems very different from the early trilogy of novels. It does not have a complex puzzle plot, but instead deals with a scientific issue: can fingerprints be faked? The doctor narrator of the tale does not have an independent existence from Thorndyke, but instead is his assistant in crime solving. There is no adventure plot for him to be involved in, or hardly much of any kind of plot at all. As Norman Donaldson has pointed out, in many ways it seems like a short story, enormously enlarged to novel length. This book does establish Thorndyke as a full scientific detective, however, complete with lab and portable detective case. Despite its fame, and a certain charm, this seems like a relatively minor work. Freeman exaggerates his readers' interest in the question of faking fingerprints - at least, this reader is not gripped by it, whereas the novel treats it like the Central Question of Our Times.


Mike Grost

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