I’ve been keeping an eye on The Invisible Event’s list of fairly-clued mysteries and since I’ve only read the Christie and one of Carr’s (hated it), I thought I’d give some others a try. Having pretty much finished with Dame Agatha, for now anyway, I need something else to fill the time and so the first of these I’ve read is Anthony Berkeley’s The Poisoned Chocolates Case in a great old acidified, flaking, genuine Pocket book.
It’s highly contrived even for Golden Age Detective novel — 6 people have formed a crime club. They meet regularly and, I assume, discuss crime. We have no idea what they do in their regular meetings because this is a special meeting from the start. Scotland Yard have admitted they are stuck and are willing to get some amateur assistance. The case of Mrs. Bendix poisoned by chocolates that actually burn when you bite them and numb your lips — she should’ve known better, but she didn’t. Her husband got the chocolates from a member of his club. So, we not only don’t know who the murderer is, we don’t know who the intended victim is either. But these six highly confident amateur detectives are ready to show Scotland Yard up. They will meet every night for the rest of the week and offer their solutions. So right off you know that the first five are going to be wrong.
If you like a lot of action, or any action, this is not a book for you. It is mostly made up of meetings. It is not without humor and I guess it’s fair-play. I’m not sure how early one can guess. I guessed after the fifth person did their bit. It really became, I thought, completely obvious at that point, though whether it was obvious earlier to others, I don’t know. Moderately entertaining, though naturally somewhat dated, I might try other Berkeleys. Not sure it would make my top 100 of mysteries, but then no one seems to please me all that much except Christie and Sayers, so perhaps I’m just too picky to even have a top 100.
Summer is approaching and 746books is hosting the #20booksofsummer challenge (or winter if you’re on the southern side of the world.) I think I tried 10 or 15 last year. I think I failed. Onward and upward. I’m going for 20, though which 20, I’m not sure. It runs from 1 June to 3 Sept. Not sure why third of September. Perhaps it’s a holiday over there. Or maybe school starts the next day. I don’t know. But who am I to argue over an extra 3 days? But then if she were American it would probably run from Memorial day weekend which for most of us starts tomorrow which would mean even more days… oh, well, maybe I can finish something before the 20.
Wish me luck as I wish anyone joining us! (Join us)