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.
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an age where detection is eschewed in grown-up circles — with unreliable narrators prevailing, and amnesia conveniently repealed at the 85% mark to hurry in a conclusion because clewing has failed — it heartens me to know that younger generations are being raised with access to the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.
Tuesdays in March were dedicated to YA detective fiction from the Golden Age — justhere on thisblog, I mean, you didn’t miss a memo or anything — and Tuesdays in May will be YA detective fiction from the 21st century. First up are Tanya Landman’s first two Poppy Fields novels, Mondays Are Murder and Dead Funny (both 2009).
Good heavens, it’s practically the end of the month already, and so this is the final week of the reforming Tuesday Night Bloggers (we’ll be back, I’m sure) in their exploration of the great detectives of fiction.
The Tuesday Night Bloggers — an autonomous collective of GAD bloggers who unite around a common theme — have returned! To tie in with the release of The 100 Greatest Literary Detectives in a few weeks, a compendium to which our very own Kate Jackson has contributed an entry, everyone is picking and writing about their own favourite sleuths this month.
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.