Monday, March 28, 2016

Edgar Wallace, The Daffodil Mystery

Edgar Wallace, The Daffodil Mystery
Originally published  in 1920.
Currently available as an ebook and from used book sellers.

I read positive comments on this book and, realizing that it was available (free) as an ebook, and noting that I had never read a book by Edgar Wallace, I decided to give it a shot.

Thomas Lyne, owner (through inheritance) of a major retail establishment in London, has asked Jack Tarling (English, but famous for his work as a detective in China) to investigate a possible on-going embezzlement in his firm.  However, when Tarling arrives, Lyne instead asks him to find evidence that Odette Rider has been stealing from the firm.  (His actual suspicions are of the day-to-day manager of the firm, Milburgh.)  Tarling turns him down.  In rather quick order, Lyne is found dead in a London park and Rider has apparently vanished.

The story moves smoothly and quickly between a number of incidents, and, although Rider’s innocence might seem to be clear, things may not be as they seem.  In fact, there might be good reason to think Tarling himself is the killer—it was his gun, and he just happens to be Lyne’s cousin and heir.  (Can you say coincidence?  I thought you could.)

This is the first of Wallace’s books I have read, and it may have been a bad starting point.  When we reach the denouement, the actual culprit is uncovered, it is not as a result of Tarling’s efforts, or those of Scotland Yard.  The killer, for reasons we need not go into here, is suspected by no one of Lyne’s murder.  And his confession is, essentially a death-bed confession (frankly, a cheap way to resolve things).  I’d prefer my detectives actually to detect something.

No comments:

Post a Comment