Greenmask

I can’t remember where I read about Jefferson Farjeon, nor if anything besides cheap availability caused me to choose Greenmask as my first Farjeon (and possibly my last.)   Published in 1944, it tells the story of a young man named John who’s going hiking in Wales.   He picked a random town to start from and has no notion of where he’s going, but strangely this does not result in him getting hopelessly lost and dying in the middle of Wales.   Before he can do that he runs into Suspicious Characters.    A mysterious short man tells him there’s no hotel around there.   A quarter of a mile later, there’s an inn, complete with hostile innkeeper who tries to talk him out of staying there by saying they’re full.   But in butts this chick he met on the train and says yes, they do have a room and apparently the innkeeper is then powerless to send John on his way.   Why John won’t take no for an answer, I’m not sure, except there’d be no story.   More suspicious characters act suspiciously and John goes over every incident in his mind after it happens.   Sometimes multiple times.  Yes, we know.   We just read it.   Then he meets a new, unsuspicious character and he tells him everything.   It is very fortunate for John that all the crooks act like crooks and the non-crooks don’t.   Because John has a way of telling people he trusts absolutely everything.   He’s a real dope.

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So, there’s no real mystery about whose committing the crime(s).   For quite a while there’s a mystery about what crimes are being committed, but that gets solved about halfway through.   It takes until the end to figure out the reason for these crimes and it feels like a very long hike indeed.   Why did I read it?  It was in my purse and I’d pull it out and read a few pages when I had to wait somewhere.   Eventually I got far enough in I wanted to finish.   Presumably Mystery in White is better.   I might try that one, but I think maybe I’ll wait a bit.

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