Tuesday, December 16, 2014

"A Brilliant Bit of Investigation and Deduction"

By Vernon Loder (1881-1938).
1929. 304 pages. $2.00
[a.k.a. WHOSE HAND?]
Sometimes authors need a "gimmick" to keep their stories going; Vernon Loder (real name: John George Hazlette Vahey) came up with one for this novel, something that TV viewers might find familiar. See John Norris's review below for more about that:
[Full review] SUICIDE or murder? Nine guests of the persuasive Mr. Cupolis, who had invested in his stupendous project, learn of their host's untimely death and all are suspected. A brilliant bit of investigation and deduction by Superintendent Cobham solves the apparently impenetrable mystery. A well-constructed story with human interest, action, and romance. — "Notes on New Books," THE BOOKMAN (October 1929; Jump To page 234, bottom left)
[Full review] That most familiar of detective story openings—the group of guests assembled for the week end in an English country house—appears again here, but with the attendant circumstances radically differentiated from the customary. The host is Cupolis, a crooked Greek financier and drug addict, the guests nine of his investors whom he has diddled for the loss of some 200,000 pounds.
Feigned illness confines the rogue to his room and he fails to appear, but on the night of the company's arrival dies, whether by murder or suicide is the question. The embezzled capital has vanished, none of the guests is long suspected, and the mystery of Cupolis's death persistently defeats all efforts of the local police.
Toward the end, however, in a remarkable spurt by Cobham, the indefatigable sleuth, the killer is apprehended and the missing funds recovered. Most of the story drags rather tediously, and Cobham seems to the reader, as to the characters, a blunder, but in the end he proves himself a master. — "The New Books," THE SATURDAY REVIEW (October 12, 1929; Jump To page 274, bottom right)
. . . Superintendent Cobham is on the case in Between Twelve and One (1929) by prolific (but sadly overlooked) Golden Age detective novelist Vernon Loder. Cobham is a likable detective who does an early form of what Columbo did — he misleads suspects into thinking he's absent-minded or less than intelligent. He also has the habit of humming operatic arias and music hall tunes while puttering about the crime scenes or waiting for suspects to be show into his office. He's one of the more human and eccentric characters I've come across in a long time.  . . . — J. F. Norris, PRETTY SINISTER BOOKS BLOG (May 25, 2013)
- The GAD Wiki has more about Loder HERE.
- See also J. F. Norris's reviews of Loder's The Mystery at Stowe (1928) HERE, The Shop Window Murders (1930) HERE, and The Death Pool (1930) HERE on his Pretty Sinister Books weblog.

Category: Detective fiction

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