Saturday, July 19, 2014

"That Rare Thing, a Detective Tale with an Absolutely New Twist to It"

By Maurice Leblanc (1864-1941).
Doubleday, Page & Co.
1914. 490 pages.
Online HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.
Filmed in 1919 (IMDb).
Leblanc runs wild with his favorite character:
[Full review] Here is that rare thing, a detective tale with an absolutely new twist to it.
As for the mysterious imprint of teeth which gives the book its spectacular title and cover design, they really figure but little as a clue in solving a mystery, the elusiveness of which lies in the fact that of the four characters present at the first crucial scene, one of them is the victim, the other three are proved conclusively, one by one, to have been innocent, and yet the story does not disobey that first rule of all good detective stories, that the guilty party must be one of the persons first introduced to the reader.
To give anything like a detailed analysis of this complex tangle would be quite outside the purpose of this notice [thank you!].
But the initial situation may be briefly outlined. A much-excited man arrives at police headquarters and announces that he has reason to believe that he and his young son are to be murdered.
Two detectives volunteer to guard him through the night, and keep watch in the hall just outside his bedroom door. They hear no sound, yet in the morning he and his son are both dead, and the safe to which he alone had the combination has been opened and robbed.
And this is merely the introductory episode to a series of rather baffling problems which the author ultimately solves with his characteristic ingenuity. — "Novel Notes," THE BOOKMAN (February 1915)

Category: Detective fiction

No comments:

Post a Comment