Friday, 21 September 2012

Forgotten Book - No Fury

My Forgotten Book for today is No Fury by Francis Beeding, a name which concealed an interesting writing duo who both worked for the League of Nations (and no doubt enjoyed name-checking the League a time or two in this book.) The book first appeared in 1936, and features the rather likeable youngish Inspector Martin, who starred in the earlier, and excellent, The Norwich Victims.

Like the earlier book, this one starts with the inclusion of several photographs, although this time, they are not quite as crucial or as cleverly integrated with the story as a whole. That story opens with a popular novelist, Valerie Beauchamp, who proves to be a very unpleasant individual, corresponding with a secret admirer. But it turns out that she is the victim of a rather cruel hoax perpetrated by a group of "friends".

Soon Valerie is found battered to death and so disfigured that she can only be identified by her dental records. The murderer is not found, but soon the hoaxers start to be murdered, one by one. The pace is fast, and Beeding uses multiple viewpoints very effectively, not least in a pretty good court scene which ends with a hung jury.

I found this novel entertaining and very readable. There were, however, a couple of major flaws which meant that it falls well short of being the classic it might have been. I can't say more without really spoiling the story, as the flaws concern the otherwise ingenious twist in the tale. But Beeding, who mainly wrote thrillers, had the knack of pacing a story well, and in comparison with many Golden Age mysteries, this one zips along so well that the failings were pretty well compensated for. Worth looking out for, but not easy to find, and not as good as The Norwich Victims..


Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Never read this one Martin, thanks very much. DEATH WALKS IN EASTREPPS is one of my favourites and I'm just about to read their HOUSE OF DR EDWARDES for the first time, being only familiar with the Hitchcock adaptation SPELLBOUND, which i bet made a lot of changes.

Christos G. Makrypoulias said...

Good evening, Martin! I must say (I should have said so earlier) that I love yor Forgotten Book posts. Being an historian myself (although working on a period very far removed from the Golden Age!), I quote enjoy these little forays into uncharted waters. You might be interested in the following link, which contains a number readable (but not downloadable) books by Saunders and Palmer. Hope you find it useful:

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Sergio. I haven't compared the two, but I bet you are right! I'm a big Eastrepps fan too.

Martin Edwards said...

Christos, thanks very much. The link is fantastic - I see they have Murder Intended, which I have not been able to find. Excellent stuff - I'm most grateful.