Policeman's Lot (1933)
of stories which demonstrate that, whatever Wade’s strengths as a
novelist, he wasn’t at all as adept with the short story.
Without a full-length puzzle to get one’s
teeth into, without the room to develop characters, Wade is lost, and
reader receives only an impression of drabness and dullness. Only two of the stories are really good: the
first, “Duello,” in which Poole’s reconstruction of a modern duel / murder is coupled
presentation of modern decadence, the product of “war-time adolescence
post-War demoralisation”; and the penultimate, “The Amateurs,” a most
pastiche of Raffles with an excellent twist.
For the rest, the Poole stories vary greatly in quality, ranging
the quite reasonable “Wind in the East” and “Sub-branch” to the
“Baronet’s Finger” and “Missing Undergraduate” (far too silly
to be believed); the Crofts pastiche, “The Three Keys,” is
ingenious but utterly incomprehensible without pen and paper to hand,
Real Thing” is, as the title suggests, a rather violent and sordid
police procedure, really only interesting for its possible influence on
Gilbert. The rest of the book is taken
up with inverted stories of little or no account, with the exception of
to One—Bar One,” a story so atrocious it could have been written
the Henry Wade Page.
Grandest Game in the World.