Saturday, May 3, 2014

"A Psychological Study, Interesting Enough, but with Elements Not Wholly Convincing"

By Rupert Croft-Cooke.
The Macmillan Co.
1940. 359 pages. $2.50

If you like crime fiction without even a hint of mystery, then this one's for you:
THE parlor game of "Murder," in which a player in a darkened room pretends to strangle a fellow-player, has dramatic possibilities which have been used in more than one detective story. It has psychological possibilities too, which Mr. Croft-Cooke sets out to explore in this novel.
He assembles a comfortable, conventional pair of parents. Colonel and Mrs. Macauley, and their less conventional children, and includes in the party young Geoffrey Macauley's mistress, whom he can do neither with nor without.
When it is Geoffrey's turn to be murderer, he puts his hands around her neck; she screams with the hysteria he has learned to hate; he irritably tightens his fingers—and finds himself with a dead woman on his hands, not quite sure himself how far he was guilty in intention. . . — Basil Davenport, "The Game of Murder," THE SATURDAY REVIEW (January 20, 1940)
Not a mystery story, but it should have some sale for that market. It is the story of a murder, of which everyone first on the scene is aware, but which is adjudged Accidental Death by the jury. The whole story is the build up within the family—and people connected with them one way or another—the decision as to what shall be said—the attempt to make the twin sister of the guilty youth "unsay" what she has already confessed. A psychological study, interesting enough, but with elements not wholly convincing. There's a good deal of love on the side. — Kirkus Reviews

Category: Crime fiction

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