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Fair murder by Nicholas Brady
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Fair murder

by Nicholas Brady

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Reverend Ebenezer Buckle solves his second case. Noteworthy in the halls of macabre Golden Age detective fiction. I would love to find all these books but only two were published in the US and the remaining five or six were only in UK editions. All of Turner/Brady books are hard to find. Buckle is a lively amateur sleuth who reminds me of Dr. Fell and Henry Merrivale. He's a brilliant man with lots of knowledge of criminal behavior, is well read in psychology and is an avid amateur botanist and gardener. In fact it is usually while doing some gardening task or examining a certain species of flower that he gets his "Eureka!" moment and all the pieces of the puzzling crime fall into place. This is considered one of the most bizarre and gruesome of the Brady novels all of which tend to incorporate the bizarre. Although not listed in Robert Adey's bibliography of impossible crime detective fiction (Locked Room Murders, Crossover Press) I would definitely nominate this book for consideration. A murder is committed at the freak show Midway of a traveling carnival - the fat lady is found stabbed in the neck in a tent surrounded by muddy ground. No footprints anywhere outside the tent or near her body indicating a possible assailant and the only approach seemed to be by someone on his knees stabbing upward. But how the murderer got into the tent is a mystery. One of the freaks in the sideshow is considered as a primary suspect because of his skill in throwing knives -- with his teeth since he has no arms! Also worth mentioning is the seemingly miraculous transformation of the previously shapely Martha into the immensely fat Sandra. How and why did that happen? Martha/Sandra was also discovered to have been in the adoption racket sending several children born to unmarried young mothers to a sinister doctor's "orphanage" in Eastern Europe. The unveiling of the culprit and the reasons for Sandra's transformation are part of the horrifying elements of what is definitely a nightmarish crime novel. I was reminded of The Cadaver of Gideon Wyck - a sci-fi horror novel by American writer Alexander Laing.
2 vote prettysinister | May 9, 2008 |
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