Death and the Professor (1961) by E. and M. A. Radford

Normally, if I don’t like a book I won’t blog about it, but this one really got my goat!

The Dilettantes’ Club meet on the first and last Thursdays of each month, which is then incorrectly rephrased as being every fortnight. Made up of leading men in their respective fields, including an assistant commissioner of Scotland Yard, they are joined by a new member, the logician, Marcus Stubbs. With his help they start to solve cases that have baffled the police, some of them “impossible”.

This sounded like a good premise to someone who enjoys the discursive mysteries found in Christie’s “The Thirteen Problems” and Asimov’s “Tales of the Black Widowers”. Unfortunately most aren’t very good and, which is worse (safe in the knowledge from the Ustinov film of “Death on the Nile” that you can’t libel the dead), one takes the central idea from a short story that I have read recently and another plagiarises an entire novel. There was nothing revolutionary in the other solutions, which mostly felt familiar, but I can’t put my finger on specific works from which they might have been lifted.

I am willing to give the Radfords another go and, based on its subject matter, I can’t not read “Murder Isn’t Cricket” but I urge you not to buy this book! However much the picture of the cat on the cover, which bears no relation to the contents, might tempt you to do so!











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