I was inspired to read Cut Throat by Christopher Bush by a couple of recent reviews: JJ was not keen on it – https://theinvisibleevent.com/2018/05/10/385/ Tomcat – http://moonlight-detective.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/timing-is-everything.html – enjoyed it a lot more. So, I thought I’d see what I thought about it.
Christopher Bush wrote like Christie from the 20s and on until the late 60s. He had enough of a following that he was able to publish for decades, but then was pretty much completely forgotten. I had never heard of him and was hoping I would enjoy him enough to want to read the entire oeuvre, which would keep me busy for years. I found Bush’s style a little difficult to adjust to, but after a few pages that eased up. There’s rather too much about British politics at the time, which is irrelevant. It was thanks to Tomcat’s review I learned that ‘dumping’ referred to exporting goods at lower prices than selling them domestically. This was a problem at the time and apparently something that Sir William Griffiths, newspaper magnate, was concerned about. We don’t know if that’s true as we never see him alive. He shows up in a hamper at the Albert Hall with his throat cut. Fortunately for Lord Zyon, another news magnate, he had the hamper brought to his house so the big reveal did not take place in front of many people in a public venue, but at his house with Ludovic Travers, roaming economist and amateur detective, on hand. There is humor in the book, but I could have used some more. There wind up being four suspects, which is really not enough, especially as motives are few and far between. You might think a rich, cheap, newspaper magnate would have more enemies, but apparently not. Maybe it would be enough if they all had strong motives. The first half goes along fairly well with cars being discovered at the bottom of cliffs and burnt out in fields, but that all gets cleared up quickly and leaves not a lot. Three people have ridiculously precise timelines for their evenings which don’t match. Travers and the police go over this six ways from Sunday apparently ruling out suspects by simply finding them credible. I don’t recall, though I might have slept through it, any evidence actually exonerating them.
How Travers figures out what the guilty person did and how they did it is simultaneously very clever and absolutely stultifying. I only had a few pages to go and yet, at what should be the most exciting part of the book, could not keep my eyes open. I’m not sure if there’s a way to use this clever device, but somehow make the reveal more interesting, or if the nature of the device will always make it seem like a dull lecture in a class you don’t enjoy. I will probably give Bush another shot as I think I bought another one by him, but maybe not for a while.
The most exciting thing is that both this book and Hopjoy was here feature a stolen pig. Is that not the best Follow the Clues clue ever? I will probably never top it. It also fits Author I’ve Never Tried Before on Just the Facts.