Saturday, 4 July 2015
Resorting to Murder [books]
Resorting to Murder is another in the British Library Crime Classics series. I enjoy short stories, so thought this collection could be a real winner, but something about it left me flat. There are fourteen stories in the book, including some by some very famous writers, but many of them didn't really grip me. None of them were bad, but none of them were really exciting. ('The Adventure of the Devil's Foot' is not Sherlock Holmes' finest moment.) I have some collections of pulp stories from magazines like Black Mask, and they're great, so I reckon the problem with these stories is that they're very British, and that polite dance of manners and personalities that's so enjoyable in Golden Age British crime fiction needs more space than a short story allows. When you lose those subtle interactions and layered hints at possible motives, you're left with something fairly bland.
'The Hazel Ice' by HC Bailey was my favourite story, and pretty good. In it, an English surgeon on holiday in Switzerland takes an interest in the case of a scientist killed in a rock fall. It's got all the classic Golden Age elements - rich people, a pretty girl, a couple of possible suspects - in a tidy package, feeling in essence like a cut-down Agatha Christie. I'm afraid GK Chesterton's 'The Finger of Stone' was my least favourite because of its truly dreadful science!