Monday, October 2, 2017

"I Have Had Crime on the Brain"

"An Amateur Detective."
By William Westall (1834-1903).
First appearance: Short Stories, November 1892.
Short story (16 pages).
Online at Google Books (HERE) and (HERE).

Our author could have benefitted from this book.
"Love and hatred are the chief factors in this strange story, and with the aid of the amateur detective bring about a thrilling dénouement."
Being out of your mind, the insanity plea, is a recognized reason for not exacting the full penalty of the law in a case of murder; but what if the killer were totally sane and yet in somebody else's state of mind . . .

Comment: A promising premise for a detective story shot down with a very dissatisfying
and by no means "thrilling" dénouement.

- Wikipedia (HERE) tells us about William Westall: "Originally a businessman, he later became a journalist who also wrote about 30 pot-boiler romantic novels"; he also dabbled in SFF, as his presence on the SFE (HERE) and the ISFDb (HERE) would indicate. We have no idea how many other attempts at detective fiction he made, but judging from "An Amateur Detective" we hope they were few.
- A very different and actually effective crime-busting journalist was Jimmie Silverdale; go (HERE) for more about him.

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