Murder at the Bookstall

By Henry Holt

Lord John and the Private Matter was a washout, and one that came at a particularly inopportune time, namely the first leg of the train journey from Deventer to Paris. The prospect of having to travel for four or five hours by train without anything decent to read is something that makes the staunchest man flinch and blanch, and while not being particularly staunch, I blanched, and flinched with the best. Fortunately succour was at had, in the form of Murder at the Bookstall, which Irina had bought for 50 cents just before our trip and which she had prudently placed in her bag. This book tided me over to Paris.

It is a puzzle detective pur sang. Nothing very inspired, but written with that command of English that seems to be the usual far at the time but is rare now. There are some interesting twists to the puzzle, too. The detective is a particularly irritating young man, though, and the description of the first love interest is only remarkable because it is the perfect description of a Cluedo token.

Still, I’m grateful to the author for having written this book, because otherwise I would have been stuck with Diana Gabaldon.