#388: Inspector French and the Cheyne Mystery (1926) by Freeman Wills Crofts

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I wasn’t sure I wanted to dive into another complex alibi problem so soon after Cut Throat (1932) by Christopher Bush.  But if anyone can convince me of the joys of alibi-breaking it’s Freeman Wills Crofts, and so off I went in hope of some fiendish minutiae to get the brain cogitating with possibilities.  As it happens, I need not have worried — there is no complex alibi-breaking here.  Sure, there’s a grand mix of ratiocination and weighing the odds on the way to intelligent deductive work, but this is decidedly a ‘wrong man on the run’-style thriller before it’s a novel of routine.  Were pithiness my forte, I’d probably make an ‘Alfred Hitchcrofts’ reference.

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#387: Minor Felonies – Alice Jones: The Ghost Light (2017) by Sarah Rubin

I am aware that some (many/most/all?) of my readers do not share my fascination with the current Young Adult detective fiction scene, and to a certain extent I sympathise.  But in an age where detection is eschewed in grown-up circles — with unreliable narrators prevailing, and amnesia conveniently repealed at the 85% mark to hurry in a conclusion because clewing has failed — it heartens me to know that younger generations are being raised with access to the rigorous principles that delight so many of us.

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#362: Minor Felonies – The Clue of the Phantom Car (1953) by Bruce Campbell

Clue of the Phanton Car

An orphaned young man who lives with his red-haired best friend’s family, all the while having adventures…yeah, okay, no, the Harry Potter similarities stop (and indeed, don’t even start — he’s not an orphan, his father’s just away a lot) there.  But it’s interesting to reflect, as these YAGAD novels are making me do, on the format that adventures for younger readers take and how little the classic tropes have needed to change in the intervening decades.

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