It has been more than two weeks since I posted a review on the same day/time as having written it. I have been binging on books and then ignoring them and when I realised I could do a better job of spacing these posts out, I made it a habit. All the posts that have been on the blog the last two weeks were not written on the same day as the day it went live. It felt good to randomly get a notification about it from WordPress and then the reactions from people without having done anything in particular in that direction all day!
This, however, is a present-day post. I finished reading these books yesterday and decided to put them together because it makes a lot more sense.
I can add this to my #BritishCrimeClassicsChallenge
Now, I remember reading the Scarlet Pimpernel and enjoying the surprise it contains. There is no question of the writing skills of the author and the fact that a large chunk of the narrative is timeless.
These are a collection of short stories. The first volume has it being narrated to a woman called Polly Burton, but considering that it ends with ‘never saw him again’, the listener in the second volume should have been someone else. Each short story is told by an old man in the corner who likes to pit his intelligence against crime in the country, by visiting the location, the inquest and so on. He carries around photographs as props to provide ambience to his tales. He fidgets with making knots in a rope to keep his thoughts straight. This is the common factor in all the stories as is the teashop in which the discussion occurs.
Each tale has interesting characters, some slightly familiar while others were quite unique. My problem with the collection is entirely personal. Each story was an indication of how a crime took place and how the Old man found a solution to it, but this solution only rests with him and the listener! The criminals are never brought to justice and the wronged never find out. In some pettier cases, it seems to be beside the point but for someone like me who likes a complete tale, it seemed more than unfair when it involved murder. I have liked reading classic crime mysteries because usually there is a complete arc whereas here it was only showmanship. I am actually tempted to dust off my old Sherlock Holmes book (it does need some dusting) just because this triggered that nostalgia.
I recommend this to people who like reading about small twisted cases set in the time before forensics and should be at ease with the format.