Wednesday, May 4, 2016

An Odd Assortment from '28 (finale)

As we've noted before, the year 1928 saw the publication of some classic mystery books—plus a few that have fallen into (perhaps deserved, perhaps not) obscurity.

~ Rogues Fall Out by Herbert Adams (1874-1958):
   Contemporary reviews:
   The Outlook, October 24, 1928 by Walter R. Brooks (online HERE):
   "For the first chapter we suspected that Herbert Adams was a doting mother, so lovingly did he dwell on the curls, and so carefully did he recount the bright sayings, of the kidnapped Bobbie. But fortunately Bobbie dropped out of the picture after a time and permitted us to be entertained by Jimmie Haswell, the amateur snoop, Snoad the sinister male nurse of old Reuben Maitland, Valerie Cartwright who disguised as a man took Snoad's place after that gentleman was mysteriously bumped off, Plum Duff, the parson who was in love with Valerie and served no fictional purpose otherwise until in Chapter 28 he threatened the villain with a chair, and others too numerous to mention. This tale gets off to a bad start and is rather confused, but there's some excitement at the end. Rated at C plus."
   The Saturday Review, December 8, 1928 (HERE):
   "Once more the exuberant London barrister, young Jimmie Haswell, essays the role of amateur crime investigator, a part in which, compared with the regulars, he seems a mere tyro. Little Bobby Maitland vanishes into the clutches of kidnappers, while his sick, wealthy grandpa is being craftily bled by swindlers. These villians contrive the killing of two men in the bedroom of an inn, for interference with their plans, the misled police affirming the crimes to be a murder and a suicide. But Jimmie thinks otherwise, and makes it his business to discover what hidden relationship the abduction of Bobby has to the dual murders. Jimmie demonstrates the futility of entrusting the responsibilities of Sherlock to a fellow of ordinary mental calibre instead of to an intellectual super-man."

   Resources: Wikipedia HERE - GAD Wiki HERE - The Locked Room Mystery HERE.

~ The Net Around Joan Ingilby by A. Fielding (?-?):
   No contemporary reviews available.

   Resources: GAD Wiki HERE - Mystery*File HERE - The Passing Tramp HERE - ONTOS HERE.

~ Werewolf by Charles Swen (?-?):
   No contemporary reviews available.

~ The Slip Carriage Mystery by Lynn Brock (1877-1943):
   Contemporary review:
   The Outlook, December 5, 1928 by Walter R. Brooks (HERE):
   "Who slew Sir William Ireland with a jack-knife in the first-class compartment of a railway carriage? The first half of the story is taken up by the evidence given by all the witnesses who had even the most remote connection with the case; the second, by the activities of Colonel Gore, in his effort to solve it. That first half is slow reading for any but the most tireless mystery fan, but the second is exciting, and the cleverness of the good Colonel, in sifting false and contradictory evidence until the truth is visible, is amazing. We have met Colonel Gore before, and he may always be counted on to provide a well knit and interesting tale."

   Resources: GAD Wiki HERE - ONTOS HERE and HERE.

~ Not at Night! by Herbert Asbury (1889-1963):
   Contemporary reviews:
   The American Mercury, February 1929 (HERE):
   "This is a collection of tales of horror, and was first printed in England. The stories are almost bare of literary merit, but they are at least sufficiently shocking. There are twenty-five of them. The editor supplies a preface."
   The Outlook, November 7, 1928 by Walter R. Brooks (HERE):
   "Creepy tales for horror addicts and shudder lovers. In his introduction, Herbert Asbury says: 'Critics will look in vain for evidences of the skill and erudition displayed by such masters of the horror story as Poe, Bierce and Blackwood. But any such comparison would be manifestly unfair, for the only criteria applied in selecting these tales were shock and gruesomeness.'  Nevertheless, we don't feel that such a comparison is unfair. We found in our youth that a badly constructed firecracker wouldn't explode. Neither will a badly constructed and badly written horror story horrify. A very small horror, well handled, will give you more cold shudders than all the man-eating plants, boneless girls, vampires, giant leeches, slimy sea monsters and pseudosurgical experiments in this book. Some of them aren't bad, it is true. But a horror story that merely isn't bad hasn't much to recommend it. The trouble is that in practically all of these tales the authors have put the emphasis in the wrong place, on the physical details of blood and ugliness and monstrosity. They have plowed up the dictionary. 'His mordacious propinquity casts a reviling sensation of obscenity about me,' says one. But consider 'The Monkey's Paw,' one of the best horror stories every written. Nothing horrible about the paw itself. The creepiness is all in the handling—the suggestions, the suspense. No, these stories just won't jell."

   Resources: Sweet Freedom HERE - Wikipedia HERE - IMDb HERE.

~ Tiger Claws by Frank L. Packard (1877-1942):
   No contemporary reviews available.

   Resources: Wikipedia HERE - GAD Wiki HERE - ONTOS HERE.

~ The Wrist Mark by J. S. Fletcher (1863-1935):
   Contemporary review:
   The Saturday Review, December 1, 1928 (HERE):
   "Colonel Martin James Engleden, archaeologist and ex-governor of Southmoor Convict Prison, is found dead, murdered, at Barrowsburg. Barrowsburg is a Yorkshire town equipped with all the antiquities of which Mr. Fletcher is fond, including some of those secret pas-sages so plentifully begot by the wars in Charles the First's time. The probabilities are that Colonel Engleden has been done in by a former tenant of Southmoor. The murdered man's nephew brings an ex-warden to Barrowsburg to hunt for ex-convicts. The ex-warden is promptly murdered. More people are murdered before the mystery is cleared up. None of it is as exciting as it should have been, though the book will no doubt do well enough for con-firmed Fletcher addicts. A typographical error—the transposition of nine and eight in a five-pound note's number—hashes up one of the minor clues."

   Resources: Wikipedia HERE - GAD Wiki HERE - Promoting Crime Fiction by Lizzie Hayes HERE.

~ Redwood and Gold by Jackson Gregory (1882-1943):
   No contemporary reviews available.

   Resource: Wikipedia HERE.

- The first two parts about the Mystery Class of '28 are HERE and HERE.

Category: Detective fiction criticism

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