Friday, April 4, 2014

"The Plot Is an Excellent One"

By Victor MacClure (1887-1963).
1933. 252 pages. 7s. 6d.
"Victor MacClure," says the GAD Wiki, "was the creator of Chief-Inspector-Detective Archibald Burford, who has intelligence, money, and a talented scalp."
Mr. Victor MacClure is one of those astonishingly versatile people; he is equally at home on the stage, with a paintbrush in his hand, or at the novelist's desk. He has written not a few readable books, but nothing to beat "The Counterfeit Murders."
In the present craze for the eccentric detective it is refreshing to find a real, honest-to-goodness fellow like Inspector Burford, of decent manners, modest outlook and jolly good common sense.
The plot is an excellent one, concerning the linking up of certain strange murders with a very convincing scheme by the Bolsheviks to upset the financial system of this country.
The writer of this note is able to hazard a shrewd guess at the highly reliable sources from which Mr. MacClure has evidently drawn the information on which to base what is certainly one of the best crime stories published for a long time. — "The Bookman's Table," THE BOOKMAN [U.K.] (March 1933)
Some other MacClure titles (with reviews where possible):

By Victor MacClure.
Houghton Mifflin.
1933. $2.00
Wakeling's death looked accidental to casual eye but Inspector Burford scented murder though he couldn't prove it. - Capital battle of wits between Scotland Yard man and "well-intentioned" killer. Invisible ink rings main clue. - Verdict: Good. — "The Criminal Record," THE SATURDAY REVIEW (August 26, 1933)
By Victor MacClure.
1933. 287 pages.
By Victor MacClure.
1934. 254 pages. $2.00
Corpse in blackened ruins of British inventor's workshop brings Insp. Burford (whose scalp is wriggly) to scene. - Every little footprint has a meaning all its own in this extra-carefully worked out and slightly mechanical affair. - Verdict: Good hunting.  — "The Criminal Record," THE SATURDAY REVIEW (September 22, 1934)
By Victor MacClure.
1934. 252 pages.
Filmed (rather badly, it seems) in 1935 as DEATH ON THE SET, later retitled MURDER ON THE SET.
SHE STANDS ACCUSED [nonfiction].
By Victor MacClure.
1935. $2.50
Six factual cases of lurid ladies who slew and slew and slew. - A grisly book of murderesses. For those who find the horrible truth about killing more fascinating than fiction. - Verdict: Shuddery. — "The Criminal Record," THE SATURDAY REVIEW (June 29, 1935)
This book is a portrait-gallery of celebrated women criminals. Jean Livingstone, who had her husband poisoned and was executed for the crime; Anne Turner, known all over England for her shady deeds, and who was finally ex-ecuted for her part in the conspiracy to kill Thomas Overbury; Sarah Malcolm, a char-woman who did away with three people in one night; Sophie Dawes, suspected of killing her lover, the Duc de Bourbon; Helene Jegado, the woman who murdered more than two dozen people over a period of twenty years, but who betrayed herself in the end by a careless slip of the tongue; and the merry widows - Mmes. Bouisier and Lacoste - who also had husbands who died mysteriously of poisoning - these are the ladies whom the author has chosen for his subjects.
Unfortunately, the book, as a whole, is disappointing. From such an array of criminal notables as these, more, certainly, should have been made. Mr. MacClure, one feels, has approached his material much too seriously; he informs but he does not entertain. — "Checklist of New Books," THE AMERICAN MERCURY (September 1935). [SHE STANDS ACCUSED is available on Project Gutenberg HERE.]
By Victor MacClure.
1936. 269 pages.
Like the only other MacClure mystery I've read, The Clue of the Dead Goldfish, much of the investigation centres on tracking the movements of people at the crime scene through the use of footprints and other physical clues. These clues, along with re-enactment of the game of hi-spy-kick-the-can, soon prove that not everyone in the game has been forthright about their movements that night and it's up to Burford, who strives to be genial, fair and not given to premature theorizing, to discover what really went on during the game. — Darrell, THE STUDY LAMP (6 February 2012)
By Victor MacClure.
Hodder and Stoughton.
1937. 320 pages.

Category: Detective fiction

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