- Plaster Sinners by Colin Watson
Eyre Methuen, 160 pp, £5.95, September 1980, ISBN 0 413 39040 3
- Photo-Finish by Ngaio Marsh
Collins, 262 pp, £5.95, September 1980, ISBN 0 00 231857 1
- The Predator by Russell Braddon
Joseph, 192 pp, £5.95, October 1980, ISBN 0 7181 1958 4
‘What is this but a Thirties detective story?’ asks the London policeman who finds himself in the thick of the latest Flaxborough murder. It’s a piece of miscalculated self-consciousness on Colin Watson’s part – almost the only miscalculation in the book. The Flaxborough Chronicles embody a great many of the virtues that make the golden-age detective story still one of the most widely read literary forms. They have their share of cosiness, with menace lurking underneath; they exploit class-consciousness – humorously, with none of that deadening Thirties snobbery; they use traditional humours, and gently mock traditional humours, and gently mock traditional mores.
The full text of this book review is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books.