I must say that I love these covers! They are so atmospheric and contain these tiny clues to the content which actually make a lot more sense after the reading. This is a new author that I saw some pretty good reviews of towards the end of the year. I am always willing to try something new in these reprints of older lesser-known classic mysteries. I must say my foray with these was so good that I read both back-to-backs in a long almost single sitting today. I must say my foray with these was so good that I read both back-to-back in a long almost single sitting today.
Everything about the introductions here was entertaining, from the discovery of the dead, the state they find her in, and our lead protagonist Dr Basil Willing. He is in a discussion about how people leave information inadvertently by both their action and even inaction. Into this situation comes the information about the unknown female found under the snow.
The deduction process begins almost immediately, but the case does not get enough traction until a crucial witness makes a statement that shakes the whole thing up. At this point, I thought I might actually be looking at a psychological thriller, but it moves back to a slightly eccentric version of the classic detective novel. There are suspects, alibis and even motives under scrutiny. Each part comes with its own difficultly, but I got to the solution just as Dr Basil did. This is always a treat because I feel more in sync with the author.
Some explanations may have gone on longer than I am accustomed to, but on the whole, I enjoyed the book.
In this second instalment, we are fully immersed into the convoluted setup in progress on a University campus before Dr Basil Winning comes into the scene. The policeman introduced in the previous book, Chief Inspector Foyle is on campus and intercepts a curious note. This leads him to investigate further, and he ends up having inside information about the shenanigans that the psych department was involved in. Things turn deadly (as Foyle expects) but with unexpected results. People change their statements as often as they change the degree to which they are willing to cooperate in the investigation. There are many discussions about how people might think given their status in life and their life experiences, this takes up a lot of the conversations (especially given the fact that it is our protagonist’s speciality). I enjoyed the constant changes that were thrown entirely believably at the reader whenever new information was discovered. I did not see the ending coming given the political/personal machinations involved in the tale’s entirety.
I liked all the people we are supposed to like and even sniggered at the diversion caused by the experiments one professor was willing to put his own children through (I was laughing at the man’s pomposity and not the fear the poor child must have been labouring under).
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.
2 thoughts on “The Basil Willing Series #1,#2 By Helen McCloy”
I have read the first half of your review, as I have not read the second book yet. I enjoyed Dance of Death too. The setup of the crime is very intriguing.
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I look forward to your take on the second 😀
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