I’m signing up for Bout of Books 22. This runs from May 14 – 20. I tend to do badly on these. Too much time, I think. I lose focus. I was going to sign up via Twitter, but I don’t know what my status means, so I’m going with what I know. I will probably update at the time on twitter though, which you can see at PhinneaR, if you’re so inclined.
It helps with one’s total books read to read short ones. Hopjoy was Here by Colin Watson is that, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Back in the 70s, some of Watson’s books were filmed as a series called Murder Most English. I know I saw it, but probably not for a couple years after that, or maybe more. PBS tended to get things after a while, but I’ve not been able to figure out how long. Could have been the 80s. At any rate, long enough ago I didn’t remember what happened. They take place in the small, English town of Flaxborough and environs with a nosy neighbor sending an anonymous letter. The letter brings the police calling to the quiet house on Beatrice Avenue which two men shared as housemates, not lovers. Something nasty has gotten into the drains by being dissolved in the bath in sulphuric acid. Quite a grim and disgusting operation. But which of them is it? Neither Hopjoy, a cavalier, ladies’ man and spy, nor the tobacconist Periam, quiet, mama’s boy, has been seen for about a week. Either one could have melted the other, but which and why? Or was it some enemy of Hopjoy’s from his not-very-secret government work? Inspector Purbright is joined by two agents presumably from one of the MIs. They are investigating Hopjoy’s disappearance as a result of his work, but Purbright is not convinced.
They each run their own investigations in parallel. While there are a limited number of scenarios here, Watson lead me up the garden path and I did not see through it. I remember enjoying Coffin, Scarcely Used also, so I foresee more Flaxborough mysteries in my future.
As for Following the Clues, I have to go with Watson the author has the same name as Watson, Holmes’ assistant in Hound. If I could count Our Man in Havana, I would’ve used spies filing false reports, which is a much more interesting clue. And for Just the Facts, I’ll go with Book Made Into TV/Film/Play.