THEY WOULDN'T BE
Fiction of A.E.W. Mason
“Amid the sunshine, the
business of the
vintage and Mr. Ricardo’s personal interest in his food and his wine
presents murder, mutilation, passion, hatred, cruelty, dark iniquity, a
in the nick of time, a strange arrest followed by a suicide which is
execution and a variety of episodes which are full of mystery as they
fit in to an intelligible and convincing whole which makes as thrilling
uncomfortable a story as one could well wish to read.”
– Times Literary Supplement, 10th January 1929
an artist in story-telling is Mr.
Mason, who can make the least satisfying of his Hanaud plots into the
readable of his Hanaud stories.”
Torquemada, Observer, 21st July 1935
I have to confess that, until August this
year, I had little liking for Mason. Having
read The Prisoner in the Opal, I dismissed
him as a rather silly and melodramatic writer incapable of constructing
detective story. That changed when I read
– in rapid succession – The House of the Arrow
and At the Villa Rose, both of which
are as fine detective stories as anyone could wish for.
Their atmosphere is sinister, with suggestions
of something truly diabolical in the background; the characters are
mere puppets, but, as the title of one of his novels suggests, move and
as they choose, not merely to suit the author’s plot; the detection is
often turning on such small points as a clock seen in a mirror or the
pouring from a chimney; the solutions are genuinely surprising but also
credible; and the detective team of Inspector Hanaud and the dilettante
Ricardo is one of the best double acts in the genre.
These pages copyright Nicholas Lester Fuller,
2000--2010. Created 5th December 2004.