Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Right reasoning, Wrong man.

This once-upon-a-time whodunitphile happened to read fairly recently a vintage detective (Peter Duluth) novel by Patrick Quentin that intrigued him no end. Set in a virtual asylum in the post Wall Street crash period, the alleged detective is a Broadway producer who drinks himself to this place of confinement for fools and drunks. While recovering from his ailment, he falls for a fellow inmate, nearly solves the mystery http://bit.ly/IFfbYU but fails to pick up the right suspect. That honour goes to the head of the “institute” modelled in the Freud mould. The milieu is very country manorish as in Agatha Christie. The writing is quaint. For example, I had never come across the usage “the heel of Achilles” prior to reading A Puzzle for Fools (Penguin, 1986; originally published in 1936, the year I was admitted to the world). Quentin also uses a lot of sleight of hand stuff in the Christie vogue. It is a fairly engrossing debut for Peter Duluth, an about-to-become amateur sleuth in a somewhat Lord Peter Wimsey/Ellery Queen vein minus the scholastic and/or autocratic pretensions.