In January of last year, I read my first R. Austin Freeman novel, little suspecting that it was to be the first step along a road of sheer delight. And so, to mark the end of Series 2 of In GAD We Trust, today I’m discussing Freeman and the Thorndyke stories with author and fellow R.A.F. fan Dolores Gordon-Smith.
I find Freeman and Thorndyke fascinating for all manner of reasons, not least because they seem to me to be the first genuine evolution of the Great Detective beyond being merely a Sherlock Holmes facsimile. Since Dolores read every single one of the Thorndyke mysteries last year, she’s in a great position to be able to discuss this, and to look at the development Freeman brought to the emerging GAD genre that he would go on to propogate in his later novels. And, of course, no discussion about Freeman is complete without mentioning his somewhat dubious personal perspectives, such as his support for the eugenics movement — we’re mainly here for his detective fiction, you understand, but it’s interesting to reflect on how a man who wrote such intelligent books could also be so blinkered.
Plus, Doctor Who gets a mention. Of course.
Thanks to Dolores for taking the time to talk about one of my favourite new old authors, to Jonny Berliner for the music, and to you for continuing to listen. IGWT will take a bit of a break now, and may be back later in the year.
R. Austin Freeman on The Invisible Event:
The Red Thumb Mark (1907)
John Thorndyke’s Cases, a.k.a. Dr. Thorndyke’s Cases [ss] (1909)
The Eye of Osiris, a.k.a. The Vanishing Man (1911)
The Mystery of 31 New Inn (1912)
The Singing Bone, a.k.a. The Adventures of Dr. Thorndyke [ss] (1912)
A Silent Witness (1914)
The D’Arblay Mystery (1926)
The Magic Casket [ss] (1927)
As a Thief in the Night (1928)
Mr. Pottermack’s Oversight (1930)