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Re: Detectives condoning murder?

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  • alanjbishop1
    This is an interesting point. Fictional detectives - mainly private or consulting - is in the hard position of being judge and jury in many cases. They are
    Message 1 of 14 , Aug 9, 2010
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      This is an interesting point. Fictional detectives - mainly private or consulting - is in the hard position of being "judge and jury" in many cases.
      They are employed to solve a case. Unravel the mystery, find the criminal, job done.
      Poirot "disapproved" of murder, on many occasions ranting at length on the murderer's arrogance in feeling that they had the right of God to decide who lives or who dies. However, as pointed out, on rare occasions he "allowed" murderers to escape official justice, especially in "Murder on the Orient Express". In this case, he had the luxury of choice.
      Peter Wimsey, on the other hand, suffered crises of conscience whenever he was personally responsible for bringing a murderer to justice ... and the rope!
      Marsh's Inspector Alleyn hated the idea of the death penalty but, constrained as a policeman, realised that murder was a crime that couldn't go unpunished. He felt that, like a bounty hunter, his job was to capture the criminal and put them in the judicial system - he didn't have the luxury of choice.

      Perhaps authors use the semi-official status of their sleuth to explore the concept of killing, murder and the idea that motives are not enough to "excuse" the taking of anothers life. As long as the investigator behaves consistent with his personality, it shouldn't affect a story - it cleverly poses the moralistic question to the reader ... is there ever a situation where the unlawful killing of a living, healthy human being is considered acceptable?
    • watch_carefully
      Fortune also saw to it that the villain drank poison (intended for Reggie himself) in The Archduke s Tea --the first Fortune story. That hooked me; I ve been
      Message 2 of 14 , Aug 10, 2010
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        Fortune also saw to it that the villain drank poison (intended for Reggie himself) in "The Archduke's Tea"--the first Fortune story. That hooked me; I've been a huge fan of HC Bailey & Fortune since.

        I'll try to recall other instances of this. I cannot recall details, but Fortune was often chastised by Scotland Yard for publishing police information in order to spur the criminals into action. This sometimes resulted in fearful villains killing off their accomplices--an eventuality Fortuned usually claimed to have expected (and tacitly condoned).

        --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, Nick Fuller <nicodemus_au@...> wrote:
        >
        > Well, let's see:
        >  
        > Reggie Fortune, of course, as Curt pointed out.  He commits the murder in "The Dead Leaves", for one.  Clunk, as well, will often get the murderer off, notably in Sullen Sky and Slippery Ann, although I can't recall him actually killing anyone.  He does, however, manipulate other people into committing murder - c.f. Clunk's Claimant.
        >  
        > Philo Vance also "executes" several villains, e.g. in Bishop and Scarab.
        >  
        > Condoning criminals:
        >  
        > Dr. Thorndyke in Mr. Pottermack's Oversight, "A Matter of Premeditation", etc.
        >  
        > Superintendent Wilson: The Blatchinton Tangle.  (Possibly because he wasn't on very good terms with the then Home Secretary.)
        >  
        > Rhode's Dr. Priestley, in several books.  Certainly Death in Harley Street, for one.  The Secret Meeting is another.  Also The Davidson Case (although the murderer is a dying man).  Doesn't the villain go free in The Paddington Mystery, as well?  The murderer is tried and acquitted in Shot at Dawn.  (Curt?) 
        >  
        > Roger Sheringham in Layton Court, Poisoned Chocolates, Jumping Jenny, and Panic Party.
        >  
        > Dr. Fell in - well, several of his cases, in fact!  Mad Hatter, Arabian Nights, Crooked Hinge, Man Who Could Not Shudder, TCOT Constant Suicides, and Seat of the Scornful.  HM: Punch & Judy Murders.
        >  
        > Mrs. Bradley commits the murder in Speedy Death, and organises the execution of the villain in Saltmarsh, Saxon Wall and Groaning Spinney, among others.  Murderers go free in Butcher's Shop, Death at the Opera, Come Away, Death, St. Peter's Finger, Brazen Tongue, Dance to Your Daddy, Gory Dew, Lament for Leto, Noonday and Night, and Nest of Vipers.
        >  
        > Nigel Strangeways in Thou Shell of Death, The Beast Must Die, and TCOT Abominable Snowman - although the culprit effectively commits suicide in all of these.
        >  
        > There aren't any crimes condoned in Henry Wade's books, although the police do have a habit of driving suspects to suicide to hush up scandals, and, in one case, it's arguable that the police let an innocent man be hanged to avoid arresting an aristocrat.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      • Jon Jermey
        Dane, Clemence and Simpson, Helen -- Enter Sir John (1929) I had been looking forward to reading this famous book for
        Message 3 of 14 , Aug 10, 2010
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          Dane, Clemence </Dane%2C-Clemence> and Simpson, Helen
          </Simpson%2C-Helen> -- Enter Sir John (1929)

          I had been looking forward to reading this famous book for some time.
          It's interesting and entertaining, providing some insight into the
          provincial drama profession as it was in the 1920s, though its detective
          elements are very weak and its motive scarcely credible. But as an
          inspiration for Strong Poison </Strong-Poison>, amongst other stories,
          the book is worth reading.

          The Druce repertory company is appearing at Peridu when their most
          promising young actress, Marcella Baring, quarrels with the manager's
          wife, Edna Druce. They make up, and celebrate their reconciliation with
          a dinner at Marcella's boarding-house rooms; but by the end of the
          evening Edna Druce has had her head bashed in with a poker.

          There is a trial, and Marcella, with nothing to say in her own defence,
          is found guilty. The news comes to the ears of prominent actor-manager
          Sir John Saumarez, who many months ago recommended Marcella for the job.
          He attends the trial, and with the aid of the company's stage-manager
          Nello Markham and his wife Doucie, he sets about trying to save her from
          the gallows.

          Saumarez is well-drawn, and there is a good deal of humour in the way
          his efforts are depicted. The underlying message of the book, though --
          the only way to ensure justice is to have a wealthy patron prepared to
          spend large amounts of money -- is one I found hard to take. The fact
          that Sir John needs several remarkable coincidences to solve the case,
          and the desperately implausible incompetence of the police in the
          initial investigation, also make this a hard book to suspend one's
          disbelief in. It also contains one of the most embarrassingly awkward
          proposals in English literature.

          Jon.



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Jon Jermey
          Andrews, Horace J -- The Indian Idol Mystery (1942?) Not so much a book, more of a frozen moment in social history. From the inside front cover, with its
          Message 4 of 14 , Aug 10, 2010
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            Andrews, Horace J -- The Indian Idol Mystery (1942?)

            Not so much a book, more of a frozen moment in social history. From the
            inside front cover, with its advertisements for nerve tonic and Dr. J.
            Collis Browne's Chlorodyne, to the inside back cover which Reveals the
            Secret of Personal Influence, it is clear that /The Indian Idol Mystery/
            is the British equivalent of pulp fiction -- cheap, subsidised by
            advertising, and turned out rapidly in great numbers for an
            undiscriminating public. Also on the inside front cover we have a 'LIST
            of TITLES PUBLISHED UNIFORM with this VOLUME' (why the odd
            capitalisation?) which shows that this is merely the
            seven-hundred-and-thirty-second(!) book in a long series. All these
            titles -- 'The Blue Mandarin', 'The Amateur Boxer', 'The Vanishing Clue'
            -- are attributed to different authors, all with good Anglo-Saxon names
            which have never been heard of since, strongly suggesting they were
            churned out by house writers.

            What of the story itself? Colonel O'Grady, returning from India, is
            killed in a London hotel. Ace reporter Dick Hendle discovers the man was
            the long-lost step-brother of Malcolm Gordon, the father of Hendle's
            fiancee Elaine. Gordon inherits the man's effects, and soon afterwards
            he is killed and his house searched. Hendle calls in the Great
            Detective, Derwent Austen, and his two chums Fred Mulby and Jim Tickner,
            who discover a strange Indian idol among O'Grady's possessions...

            And at this point the detection, which has been reasonably well done,
            ceases, and the case becomes a thrilling struggle between Derwent Austen
            and the nameless Indian fanatic who has come to London to retrieve the
            gem. For dealing with weak-willed women like Elaine, the fanatic has his
            mesmeric powers, but for men like Austen who are made of sterner stuff,
            his preferred method is to shut them in a room with a deadly cobra. This
            makes possible the best moment in the book. When Jim Tickner, peering
            through a first-floor window, sees a cobra menacing his boss, he
            remembers that cobras like milk, and so he climbs down the drainpipe,
            runs to the nearest dairy, buys a pint of milk, and runs back again in
            time to pour the milk into a saucer, distract the snake and save Austen!
            Perhaps the English weather had slowed it down a bit...

            More bizarre still is what happens after Chapter 17 (page number? No
            idea -- there are no numbers on the pages) when Austen has brought the
            case to a successful conclusion. The author apparently realised -- or
            was told -- that he had another thirty or so pages to fill, and so he
            has the idol re-stolen by a completely different and even more
            implausible criminal who is a master of disguise and the head of a gang.
            Despite his 'bold, determined, but sinister cast', however, the wicked
            Paul Kane is soon apprehended, and Dermot Austen can relax again.

            The style of the book is intriguing. Despite the sinister subject, much
            of it is written in a kind of breezy Basic English clearly aimed at
            less-educated readers. There are times when the author wavers, however,
            and produces something much closer to standard prose -- especially
            towards the beginning, when he presumably felt less rushed. Purists may
            shudder, but this book and its seven-hundred-and-thirty-three
            counterparts had important roles to play in encouraging literacy in
            Britain and its Empire.

            Jon.



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Mike Blake
            Posted by: watch_carefully ... ... At the end of one story (the name of which I cannot recall) Fortune and his chauffeur attack a pair of kidnappers on the
            Message 5 of 14 , Aug 11, 2010
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              Posted by: "watch_carefully"...
              > Fortune also saw to it that the villain drank poison (intended for
              > Reggie himself) in "The Archduke's Tea"--the first Fortune story.
              > That hooked me; I've been a huge fan of HC Bailey & Fortune since.
              >
              > I'll try to recall other instances of this.

              At the end of one story (the name of which I cannot recall) Fortune and
              his chauffeur attack a pair of kidnappers on the beach about to make off
              with a child.

              Or at least the chauffeur does, he manages to grab the kid but the
              crooks get away in their rowboat. Watching them pull away in the rough
              seas, he asks what Reggie was doing during all this. Reggie shows him a
              hatchet and tells him to watch. Out in the sea, thanks to the hole he
              chopped, the boat sinks and the criminals drown.

              Mike Blake
            • watch_carefully
              Good call, Mike. That sounds like the end of Mr Fortune Finds a Pig ...one of the WWII novels. I recall the villains attempted to meet a German u-boat but
              Message 6 of 14 , Aug 11, 2010
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                Good call, Mike. That sounds like the end of 'Mr Fortune Finds a Pig'...one of the WWII novels. I recall the villains attempted to meet a German u-boat but Fortune thwarted their escape.


                --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, Mike Blake <MJB@...> wrote:
                >

                >
                > At the end of one story (the name of which I cannot recall) Fortune and
                > his chauffeur attack a pair of kidnappers on the beach about to make off
                > with a child.
                >
                > Or at least the chauffeur does, he manages to grab the kid but the
                > crooks get away in their rowboat. Watching them pull away in the rough
                > seas, he asks what Reggie was doing during all this. Reggie shows him a
                > hatchet and tells him to watch. Out in the sea, thanks to the hole he
                > chopped, the boat sinks and the criminals drown.
                >
                > Mike Blake
                >
              • Douglas G.
                If it s of any interest, the book was published in 1938 by Modern Publishing Company. Doug G
                Message 7 of 14 , Aug 11, 2010
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                  If it's of any interest, the book was published in 1938 by Modern Publishing Company.

                  Doug G

                  --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, Jon Jermey <jonjermey@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > Andrews, Horace J -- The Indian Idol Mystery (1942?)
                  >
                  > Not so much a book, more of a frozen moment in social history. From the
                  > inside front cover, with its advertisements for nerve tonic and Dr. J.
                  > Collis Browne's Chlorodyne, to the inside back cover which Reveals the
                  > Secret of Personal Influence, it is clear that /The Indian Idol Mystery/
                  > is the British equivalent of pulp fiction -- cheap, subsidised by
                  > advertising, and turned out rapidly in great numbers for an
                  > undiscriminating public. Also on the inside front cover we have a 'LIST
                  > of TITLES PUBLISHED UNIFORM with this VOLUME' (why the odd
                  > capitalisation?) which shows that this is merely the
                  > seven-hundred-and-thirty-second(!) book in a long series. All these
                  > titles -- 'The Blue Mandarin', 'The Amateur Boxer', 'The Vanishing Clue'
                  > -- are attributed to different authors, all with good Anglo-Saxon names
                  > which have never been heard of since, strongly suggesting they were
                  > churned out by house writers.
                  >
                  > What of the story itself? Colonel O'Grady, returning from India, is
                  > killed in a London hotel. Ace reporter Dick Hendle discovers the man was
                  > the long-lost step-brother of Malcolm Gordon, the father of Hendle's
                  > fiancee Elaine. Gordon inherits the man's effects, and soon afterwards
                  > he is killed and his house searched. Hendle calls in the Great
                  > Detective, Derwent Austen, and his two chums Fred Mulby and Jim Tickner,
                  > who discover a strange Indian idol among O'Grady's possessions...
                  >
                  > And at this point the detection, which has been reasonably well done,
                  > ceases, and the case becomes a thrilling struggle between Derwent Austen
                  > and the nameless Indian fanatic who has come to London to retrieve the
                  > gem. For dealing with weak-willed women like Elaine, the fanatic has his
                  > mesmeric powers, but for men like Austen who are made of sterner stuff,
                  > his preferred method is to shut them in a room with a deadly cobra. This
                  > makes possible the best moment in the book. When Jim Tickner, peering
                  > through a first-floor window, sees a cobra menacing his boss, he
                  > remembers that cobras like milk, and so he climbs down the drainpipe,
                  > runs to the nearest dairy, buys a pint of milk, and runs back again in
                  > time to pour the milk into a saucer, distract the snake and save Austen!
                  > Perhaps the English weather had slowed it down a bit...
                  >
                  > More bizarre still is what happens after Chapter 17 (page number? No
                  > idea -- there are no numbers on the pages) when Austen has brought the
                  > case to a successful conclusion. The author apparently realised -- or
                  > was told -- that he had another thirty or so pages to fill, and so he
                  > has the idol re-stolen by a completely different and even more
                  > implausible criminal who is a master of disguise and the head of a gang.
                  > Despite his 'bold, determined, but sinister cast', however, the wicked
                  > Paul Kane is soon apprehended, and Dermot Austen can relax again.
                  >
                  > The style of the book is intriguing. Despite the sinister subject, much
                  > of it is written in a kind of breezy Basic English clearly aimed at
                  > less-educated readers. There are times when the author wavers, however,
                  > and produces something much closer to standard prose -- especially
                  > towards the beginning, when he presumably felt less rushed. Purists may
                  > shudder, but this book and its seven-hundred-and-thirty-three
                  > counterparts had important roles to play in encouraging literacy in
                  > Britain and its Empire.
                  >
                  > Jon.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                • Nick Fuller
                  The Woman in Wood . ... From: Mike Blake Subject: [GAdetection] Re: Detectives condoning murder? To: Golden Age Detection
                  Message 8 of 14 , Aug 11, 2010
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                    "The Woman in Wood".

                    --- On Wed, 11/8/10, Mike Blake <MJB@...> wrote:


                    From: Mike Blake <MJB@...>
                    Subject: [GAdetection] Re: Detectives condoning murder?
                    To: "Golden Age Detection" <GAdetection@yahoogroups.com>
                    Received: Wednesday, 11 August, 2010, 2:42 PM


                     



                    Posted by: "watch_carefully"...
                    > Fortune also saw to it that the villain drank poison (intended for
                    > Reggie himself) in "The Archduke's Tea"--the first Fortune story.
                    > That hooked me; I've been a huge fan of HC Bailey & Fortune since.
                    >
                    > I'll try to recall other instances of this.

                    At the end of one story (the name of which I cannot recall) Fortune and
                    his chauffeur attack a pair of kidnappers on the beach about to make off
                    with a child.

                    Or at least the chauffeur does, he manages to grab the kid but the
                    crooks get away in their rowboat. Watching them pull away in the rough
                    seas, he asks what Reggie was doing during all this. Reggie shows him a
                    hatchet and tells him to watch. Out in the sea, thanks to the hole he
                    chopped, the boat sinks and the criminals drown.

                    Mike Blake










                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • watch_carefully
                    Yes, Nick. You have the right story; it sounds quite similar in a quick description to the end of Pig . Here s an excerpt frmo Woman in the Wood:
                    Message 9 of 14 , Aug 12, 2010
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                      Yes, Nick. You have the right story; it sounds quite similar in a quick description to the end of "Pig". Here's an excerpt frmo Woman in the Wood:

                      [Sam:]"...Funny the boat doing 'em down like that. They had it all so neat, you'd think they made sure their boat was all right."

                      [Fortune:]"I daresay it was. Till we came along."

                      "What, you mean it was broke in the turn up on the beach?"

                      "Well. I got one in with their wood-chopper on the bows. I had hopes."

                      "You 'ad 'opes!" Sam gasped.

                      "Yes, I thought it might start a seam or so."

                      "You sent 'em off to drown!" Sam let the girl's arms go and sat back on his haunches.

                      "I didn't make 'em go, you know," said Reggie mildly. "But if they would go. I had to do what I could."


                      --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, Nick Fuller <nicodemus_au@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > "The Woman in Wood".
                      >
                      > --- On Wed, 11/8/10, Mike Blake <MJB@...> wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > From: Mike Blake <MJB@...>
                      > Subject: [GAdetection] Re: Detectives condoning murder?
                      > To: "Golden Age Detection" <GAdetection@yahoogroups.com>
                      > Received: Wednesday, 11 August, 2010, 2:42 PM
                      >
                      >
                      >  
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Posted by: "watch_carefully"...
                      > > Fortune also saw to it that the villain drank poison (intended for
                      > > Reggie himself) in "The Archduke's Tea"--the first Fortune story.
                      > > That hooked me; I've been a huge fan of HC Bailey & Fortune since.
                      > >
                      > > I'll try to recall other instances of this.
                      >
                      > At the end of one story (the name of which I cannot recall) Fortune and
                      > his chauffeur attack a pair of kidnappers on the beach about to make off
                      > with a child.
                      >
                      > Or at least the chauffeur does, he manages to grab the kid but the
                      > crooks get away in their rowboat. Watching them pull away in the rough
                      > seas, he asks what Reggie was doing during all this. Reggie shows him a
                      > hatchet and tells him to watch. Out in the sea, thanks to the hole he
                      > chopped, the boat sinks and the criminals drown.
                      >
                      > Mike Blake
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                    • Mike Blake
                      ... I must be misremembering, because I thought in that one Reggie made arrangements for a British destroyer to show up and *they* sank the sub. Though I guess
                      Message 10 of 14 , Aug 14, 2010
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                        > Good call, Mike. That sounds like the end of 'Mr Fortune Finds a
                        > Pig'...one of the WWII novels. I recall the villains attempted to
                        > meet a German u-boat but Fortune thwarted their escape.

                        I must be misremembering, because I thought in that one Reggie made
                        arrangements for a British destroyer to show up and *they* sank the sub.

                        Though I guess no reason both could not have happened: Reggie sabotaged
                        the speedboat, the destroyer finishing the job against the sub.

                        Don't know how everyone else did, but it was VERY easy to figure out the
                        whys and wherefores of the pigs, if folks can remember ({[SPOILER]})...
                        .sgip fo ygoloib eht tuoba laiceps s'tahW

                        Mike Blake
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