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Trial and Error by Anthony Berkeley

Trial and Error (1937)

by Anthony Berkeley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Ambrose Chitterwick (2)

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1333135,783 (3.91)4



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Fascinating conceit. Underwhelming execution. ( )
  mmyoung | Jun 23, 2013 |
Trial and Error is a re-issue of Anthony Berkeley's 1937 novel. It fits fairly neatly into the 'classical puzzle' pigeon hole of crime fiction in that it's the mystery itself that takes centre stage, as opposed to the psychological elements that are more the hallmark of contemporary examples of the genre.

Mr Todhunter is a late middle aged fussy bachelor who, when given a diagnosis of a terminal illness, decides to commit a murder (as you do!). The first half of the story concerns his motivations (such as they are) for the murder and then the selection of his victim. It's a clever story and the puzzle is complex and satisfying, but I had to read this with increasing amounts of disbelief and frustration at its preposterousness. None of the characters or their behaviour were in any way believable and the fussiness and preciseness of the writing were another distraction.

A book for diehard officionardos of crime fiction only, I would suggest.

© Koplowitz 2013

( )
  Ant.Harrison | Apr 29, 2013 |
A very fine confection that keeps challenging the reader even after the last page is read. ( )
  jburlinson | Apr 2, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Berkeley, Anthonyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jaskari, JuhaniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"'The sanctity of Human Life has been much exaggerated,'" quoted Ferrers.
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Non-descript, upstanding Mr Todhunter is told that he has only months to live. He decides to commit a murder for the good of mankind. Finding a worthy victim proves far from easy, and there is a false start before he settles on and dispatches his target. But then the police arrest an innocent man, and the honourable Todhunter has to set about proving himself guilty of the murder. Beautifully presented with striking artwork and stylish yet easy-to-read type, avid readers of crime will love reading this gripping, well-written thriller. The appetite for traditional crime fiction has never been stronger, and Arcturus Crime Classics aim to introduce a new generation of readers to some of the great crime writing of the 20th century - especially the so-called 'golden era'.… (more)

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