Friday, 10 February 2012

Forgotten Book - Murder in the Maze

For today's journey into the past of detective fiction, I'm again looking at a book by J.J. Connington, a writer who continues to grow on me. This time, the spotlight is on Murder in the Maze, which introduced Sir Clinton Driffield and his chum Wendover, a likeable 'Watson' figure.

Two equally unpleasant brothers are found dead in the maze of the country house where they live, and Driffield leads the hunt for the killer. Off-hand, I can't think of any other series where a Chief Constable is the main sleuth, but I'd be glad to learn of any I've forgotten or ignored.

Driffield here is just 35 years old (something I hadn't realised when reading his later adventures) and a pretty dynamic - and tough - character. The story is a very good exercise in "fair play" detection, and my admiration for Connington continues to increase. I first read his most famous book, The Case With Nine Solutions, many years ago, and felt a bit let down. I must try it again, to see whether I ought to revise that judgment.

A maze is a great, if obvious, image to use in mystery fiction. I used it myself in Eve of Destruction, and I must say I find mazes fascinating. Connington makes good use of the setting here, and the finale in the maze is quite chilling. A notable book, which helped establish him in the top tier of detective novelists.

6 comments:

Kerrie said...

Sounds an interesting one Martin

John said...

Martin, you ought to try to find THE SWEEPSTAKES MURDERS by Connington. It has one of the most involved instances of true scientific detection of any book I've ever read form this period. In that book as the suspect pool diminishes with each murder the culprit is more and mroe obvious, but the actual detection in the book is impressive, almost mind-boggling in its intricacy.

avidreader said...

Another author I have not heard of, but now must look out for. love your books already, so will most likely enjoy your recommendations!

Martin Edwards said...

Kerrie, I did like it and think you might too.

Martin Edwards said...

John, many thanks. You have made me zoom that one up the TBR list - sounds good!

Martin Edwards said...

Avidreader, great to hear from you. Naturally, I'm delighted you like my books!