Thursday, June 28, 2007

G D H and M Cole

The fun part about reading The Floating Admiral is that the authors’ different styles come across, in some cases quite strongly. Dorothy Sayers’ sardonic humour is in full evidence in her chapter, and Ronald Knox writes what must be the longest chapter, full of detail, and wit. In it he takes every single point that has appeared so far and has the chief character, a police detective, go through them one by one and make comments and notes about them. It’s a great way of keeping the reader up with the play, because it’s become an immensely complicated book as far as I’m concerned! Of course, I’m never much good at discovering whodunit in murder mysteries. I miss most of the clues, and the ones I pick up I don’t always know what to do with.

Next on my list of lesser-known detective writers are the husband and wife team: G D H and M Cole. The Times Literary Supplement of 8th Sept, 1927 wrote: “Mr. and Mrs. Cole are among the most remarkable and efficient of English detective writers… There is room in their stories for extraneous and intellectually, but not aesthetically, irrelevant things; in some of their stories for excellent satire, and in this for the business of a pure novelist.”

Their plots are apparently highly ingenious, and their retired policeman/detective has ‘both a conscience and a brain (his favourite author is Chesterton).’

There’s an excellent bibliography of their books at this link. (Thank God for people who are enthusiastic for things I know nothing about!)

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