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.