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The Z Murders by J. Jefferson Farjeon
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The Z Murders (1932)

by J. Jefferson Farjeon

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» See also 37 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Recently, some pretty respectable institutions and publishers have taken to re-publishing
detective, crime and thriller novels from the ''golden age' of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.

The quality of these books (ie: the plot) is very variable.

This one is 'about average'. ( )
  captbirdseye | Oct 19, 2017 |
A man is shot dead in a hotel smoking room. The hero sees a woman exit the room and immediately falls in love with her because she is beautiful. Other than being beautiful, the woman hasn't a single redeeming quality and the only mystery here is why the hero didn't dump her within 5 minutes of meeting her.

Honestly, this is a god-awful book and Farjeon is an immensely boring writer. A good editor could have slashed the book by at least one-third, only then it wouldn't be a novel, would it?

The main contribution to the book's length is that the characters repeat everything the other person says. I'll give a made-up example. Suppose you have a line of dialogue that goes like this:

"Tell me what happened."
"I saw someone."

In Farjeon's hands, you'd get this:

"Tell me what happened."
"You want me to tell you what happened?"
"Yes, I want you to tell me what happened."
"Very well. I'll tell you."
"So what happened?"
"I saw something."
"You saw something?"
"Yes. I saw something."
"What did you see?"
"You want me to..."

On and on and on, circling about and going nowhere. Dash Hammett it isn't. Farjeon also has an annoying habit of throwing in little asides and observations that contribute nothing. It's all padding that fills space but adds nothing.

Maybe things were different back when the book was published. I can imagine reading it on a train where the confined space and monotonous rhythm might lull the reader into sticking with it. However for a modern reader I can't see the appeal and I do not plan on revisiting this author anytime soon. If ever. ( )
  jameshold | Jul 22, 2017 |
The Z Murders by J. Jefferson Farjeon was originally published in 1932 during the golden age of
British mysteries. Richard Temperley had returned from holiday on the overnight sleeper train to London and as it arrived in the wee hours of the morning, decided to stop into a hotel by the station to nap in the smoking room. He notices both a beautiful young woman and the older man who shared his train compartment there as well. All too soon, the old man has been killed and the mysterious woman has fled the scene.

One murder becomes more and Richard is embroiled in a series of murders due to his decision to help and protect this mysterious young woman. At the scene of each murder a small metal “z” is found near the body. A cat and mouse game carries all the participants across the width of England as the elusive serial murderer is hunted down.

I have mixed feelings about this story as I felt the reader was asked to accept a great deal of implausible elements. Why for example when having only glanced at this woman once, did Richard feel so responsible to look after her, and believe in her innocence even when she continued to refuse to give him any information. Also why did the police give him such freedom to head out on his own hunt for this very dangerous serial killer. But having decided to suspend my disbelief I went along for the ride and ended up having a good time with the story. While this book is far from being as clever as a well done Christie, or as literary as Josephine Tey, if the reader is willing to go with the flow, The Z Murders by J. Jefferson Farjeon is both lively and fun. ( )
1 vote DeltaQueen50 | Apr 20, 2017 |
Good Golden Age mystery/suspense book with the classic romantic subplot. My biggest complaint is that the ending was a bit abrupt. ( )
  leslie.98 | Sep 7, 2016 |
The Chase is On! The Z Murders is a Golden Age mystery being re-released by British Library Crime Classics and Poisoned Pen Press. One of the main characters, Richard Temperley, ends up in a cat and mouse chase after the man he boarded a train with ends up dead at the same hotel they both arrive at, after departing the train. Temperley sees a pretty girl leaving the scene but believes she is innocent so he decides to drop everything else he has going on to track her down and help her out.  Of course, she isn't very cooperative, she's secretive and leaves him hanging most of the time. If it were me, after the first brush off,  I probably would have left her to her own devices but hey I'm not a man or in love with her. Yeah, she was a little irritating to say the least but Temperley is set on chasing a skirt and a murderer. The prose and dialogue between characters had a Dorothy Sayers flare to it and for me, I have a hard time following her writing style so I had the same problems with this book. It gets easier to follow though, the more you read and get into the flow of it. The second half of the story revolves around a car chase and it was a lot more enjoyable then the first, I thought. I have also read Thirteen Guests by Farjeon and I really liked it a lot but if you're a fan of Sayers you should definitely like this one.
 
**I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press in exchange for an honest review.
( )
  EmpressReece | Aug 22, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
J. Jefferson Farjeonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Edwards, MartinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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