Robert Barnard

Robert Barnard Professor of English at the University of Tromsø in Norway, is the author of several crime novels, and of a book about Agatha Christie, A Talent to Deceive, reviewed in this paper in the course of the summer. A new crime novel, Mother’s Boys, will be published by Collins in February.

Great Tradition

Robert Barnard, 18 December 1980

‘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.

Clues

J.I.M. Stewart, 5 May 1983

In the opening chapter of A Study in Scarlet Dr Watson is introduced to Sherlock Holmes. Holmes says, ‘How are you?’ and adds: ‘You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.’...

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Us and Them

Robert Taubman, 4 September 1980

‘Sometimes this town remembers its past,’ says Agnes in The Secret Servant, pausing in the gun-play to quote Wordsworth’s ‘Westminster Bridge’. This thriller is...

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