Monday, November 25, 2013

Monkey Business

By R. Austin Freeman.
Dodd, Mead.
1938. $2.00
Ray O'Leary revisits a novel (MYSTERY*FILE, 21 October 2009):
. . . [Freeman] also takes some amusing pot-shots at what was then Modern Art. The plot twists won’t come as much of a surprise to readers who have read a lot of classic detective stories, but it was an enjoyable re-read.
From THE SATURDAY REVIEW (February 25, 1939):
Murder and jewel theft in rural England have deadly aftermath in artistic London circles, as erudite Dr. Thorndyke discovers. - Masterly handling by G.O.M. of mystery writers of not entirely opaque problem made specially enjoyable by sly jabs at modern art. - Verdict: Perfection.
From SCRIBNER'S (March 1939, by S. S. Van Dine):
The Rhadamanthine Doctor Thorndyke is at his magisterial best in 'The Stoneware Monkey.' Although the book is made up of several narratives by different people, the sum total is satisfactory, and the puzzle is excellent.
There is considerable skulduggery afoot in its pages, with the remains of one victim turning up in the shape of a calcined finger bone and some bits of porcelain teeth salvaged from a potter's furnace.
The ultimate, and startling, discovery clears up two murders and elucidates the mystery of the hideous simian from which the story takes its name.
All details are painstakingly worked out, and though there are few pyrotechnics, the story marches.
More on the GAD Wiki. See also Mike Grost's Freeman page here.

Category: Detective fiction

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