No, this is not a review of Cain’s Jawbone (1934) by Torquemada, a.k.a. Edward Powys Mathers. In order to review it, I must first read it, and reading it presents a difficulty as many of you will be aware…
For those who don’t know, Cain’s Jawbone was a literary puzzle of sorts published in The Torquemada Puzzle Book (1934) — which self-identifies as A Miscellany of Original Crosswords, Acrostics, Anagrams, Verbal Pastimes and Problems Etc. — written by Mathers under the nom de plume via which he would regularly taunt readers of the Observer newspaper with his cryptic crosswords. The premise of Cain’s Jawbone is that a mystery novel has been written but, on the way to the printers, the pages were dropped and had to be printed out of order. It falls to you, dear reader, to read the pages in the supplied order and to figure out the solutions to its various mysteries.
Be assured there there is an inevitable order, the one in which the pages were written, and that, while the narrator’s mind may flit occasionally backwards and forwards in the modern manner, the narrative marches on, relentlessly and unequivocally, from the first page to the last.
Please note: this puzzle is extremely difficult and not for the faint-hearted.