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Old July 3rd, 2011, 01:18 PM
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Ask a Policeman (1933)

Well, it's been a while since I have done one of these one-man book-club threads, but I think the story currently under investigation, The Detection Club's Ask a Policeman, warrants a thread – and the opening immediately put me in the right mood.

It's a brief exchange between Milward Kennedy and the plotting machine known as John Rhode, in which Kennedy asks Rhode's help in coming up with a plot that goes with a title he came up with and what follows is a novella-length opening detailing the death of a newspaper mogul at his country retreat. The rag king was an expert in attacking the establishment and on the morning of his death three representatives of institutions under siege by his papers, the government, police and the church, visited his retreat, but was it one of them who soiled their hands on this much despised man?

Mrs. Bradley, Sir John Saumarez, Roger Sharingham and Lord Peter Wimsey are going to attempt to answer that question. By the way, am I the only who's unfamiliar with the stories by Helen Simpson?
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Old July 3rd, 2011, 01:23 PM
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Re: Ask a Policeman (1933)

Nope- neither am I.
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Old July 4th, 2011, 06:25 AM
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Re: Ask a Policeman (1933)

The novella-length chapter that was written by Helen Simpson, in which she dispatches Gladys Mitchell's Mrs. Bradley to the scene of the crime, was interesting but on a whole rather unsatisfactory. I think she went for the most evident solution, however, she captured the essence of the character of the cackling, witch-like sleuth – while also touching upon nearly all the familiar Mitchell staples (more on them in the full-length review). And props for alluding to Wimsey's involvement in the case!

Gladys Mitchell is up next and she has Helen Simpson's Sir John at her disposal, but I won't be able to judge how accurate her treatment of her colleagues sleuth is – as I have never read any of Simpson's detective novels.

I think, however, that the main event of this book will turn out to be the Berkeley/Sayers combo. They were also kicking all kinds of ass in their previous round-robin novel, The Floating Admiral.
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Old July 4th, 2011, 01:10 PM
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Re: Ask a Policeman (1933)

I still have more than half a book to go before arriving at the final page, but I went ahead and wrote the introduction for the full-length review – and I'm afraid I was being too-cute-for-school there. Let the reader before!

Hope to advance at least two more chapters tomorrow!
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Old July 6th, 2011, 11:07 AM
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Re: Ask a Policeman (1933)

I once again completely deserted a thread like this. Oh well... to sum up the book: Ask a Policeman is not the success that The Floating Admiral was, but there's more than enough pleasure to be derived from watching Mrs. Bradley, Wimsey, Sir John and Sheringham investigating the same murder and hounding the same suspects.
Full review: Swapping Sleuths
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anthony berkeley, dorothy l. sayers, gladys mitchell, john rhode, the detection club


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