The Detective Fiction of Cyril Hare

“That the red riband should go, in a week which gives us that too rare treat, a J.J. Connington, to a newcomer, to Mr. Cyril Hare…shows that there is excellent ‘new stuff coming along’…  Mr. Crofts must look to his alibis.”

– Torquemada, Observer, 28th March 1937

“The late Cyril Hare’s stories were always remarkable for their dry humour, their legal mischievousness and their sound craftsmanship.”

Times Literary Supplement, 18th December 1959

Cyril Hare is rather like Edmund Crispin: both wrote only a handful of detective stories towards the very end of the “Golden Age” and finishing in the early 1950s, but are widely recognised as being of a very high quality.  In Hare’s case, his reputation rests on his ability to construct an interesting plot revolving around an obscure legal point (insurance in Suicide Excepted, marriage laws in When the Wind Blows and inheritance in An English Murder) and to take the reader behind the scenes of an institution or way of life (the judges’ circuit in Tragedy at Law, bureaucracy in With a Bare Bodkin), but also in one of the more believable detectives of fiction: the lawyer Francis Pettigrew who has little liking for detection but finds himself involved with murder time and again.


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These pages copyright Nicholas Lester Fuller, 2000--2010. Created 5th December 2004.