#682: In Whose Dim Shadow, a.k.a. The Tau Cross Mystery (1935) by J.J. Connington

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In the comments of my review of The Sweepstake Murders (1931) by J.J. Connington, TomCat pointed out that the author’s sole impossible crime novel was among my recently-acquired bundle, and here we are.  In Whose Dim Shadow, a.k.a. The Tau Cross Mystery (1935), however, begins with a shooting in an unlocked room in an unlocked flat that also has a set of footprints leading away from the open French windows and which forms the basis of the majority of the narrative.  And a very entertaining narrative it is, too, only falling down when Connington shanghais pace for exposition, and struggling in the final straight due, in all likelihood, to external concerns.

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#652: The Sweepstake Murders (1931) by J.J. Connington

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You may have missed the subtle hint I put up recently about buying some J.J. Connington books, but, with 18 to choose from, where to start?  Well, if there’s a GAD touchstone I enjoy almost as much as a “no footprints” murder it’s a tontine, so The Sweepstake Murders (1931), which sees nine associates win £241,920 (or £16 million in today’s money) to be divided among them is a great place to reattempt Mt. Connington.  Because £241,920 spilt nine ways is less each than when it’s split eight ways, which would be less than splitting it seven ways, which would be less than splitting it six ways…you can see how someone starts to think, can’t you?

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#414: The Four Defences (1940) by J.J. Connington

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I had only read one previous novel by J.J. Connington — The Case with Nine Solutions (1928) — about which I remember one clever piece of misdirection and little else.  I’ve had The Four Defences (1940) for ages, but his fellow-Humdrummer Mr. Freeman Wills Crofts captured my heart and swept me off my feet, so amends were here to be made.  Thus, we have the remains of an unidentified body in a burned-out car, an obstreperous coroner insisting on felo de se, and a mystery on our hands.  Cue an amateur detective — with the delightfully pleonastic name of Mark Brand, whose job seems to be giving relationship advice on the radio — to break the case…

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