A series to pay tribute to the golden age mystery authors, by attempting to provide reviews on some of their books which I highly admire. Golden age of mysteries is generally defined by that period where the mystery stories had a central, strong puzzle plot and the detective/police/amateur investigator goes through all the clues, the suspects and finally solves the mystery (murder/theft/disappearance). More often than not, the big “reveal” is in a closed setting with all the suspects around. Readers then express, “Oh, that was so clever, I did not see this coming”! Authors from UK and USA generally dominated this period.
Book : Case of William Smith
Author: Patricia Wentworth (UK)
Original Year of Publication : 1948
About the Author: Patricia Wentworth (born Dora Amy Elles) was a British crime fiction writer, born in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India (then the British Raj). Wentworth wrote a series of 32 crime novels in the classic whodunit style, featuring Miss Maud Silver, a retired governess and teacher who becomes a professional private detective, in London, England. Miss Silver works closely with Scotland Yard, especially Inspector Frank Abbott, and is fond of quoting the poet Tennyson. Source : Wikipedia
Plot: This is a story of a man who goes off to war, is injured, and loses his memory. He is called, ‘William Smith’ by everyone and eventually comes home from the concentration camp with a new talent: carving toy animals and birds for children. But actually, who was William Smith? And why were few people so horrified to see him? For many years, William had worked as a woodcarver for the local toyshop, ignorant of his true identity. So when he took his work to Evesleys Ltd, why was his life in danger?
Suspense: This is a very smooth flowing story with many interesting and strong characters. The pace of the story is fast and full of interesting plot points. The memory loss angle is handled expertly, and the reader is always curious to know the real identity of William Smith. Though it is not a major surprise as to who is behind all the attempts to kill William Smith, still Wentworth paints the story with vivid descriptions of places and events. Especially strong is her description of colors throughout the story, be it for clothes or objects. I do wish that there could have been a few more twists and turns in the storyline, in some places it was more of a straight novel than a mystery one.
Climax: At the finale of the novel, the story sort of slopes downwards with no major twists or turns. Still, I would say, this is a nice read and Wentworth manages to hold the attention of the reader by the sheer beauty of her prose and writing style, more than the actual mystery of the story.
My Rating and Recommendation: 3.5/5. Recommended for readers who like a descriptive light mystery with interesting characters. Not recommended for readers who like deep, suspenseful and classic mystery plots.
About the Reviewer :
Born and brought up in New Delhi, Abhishek Goswami did his graduation in Science from the Delhi University and later on did PGDBA in HR. He has 17 years of work experience in reputed MNC firms and is currently working in Gurgaon. He has a keen interest in reading suspense/mystery books and mythological fiction. He has won the “Top 100 Inspiring Authors” and “Swami Vivekanand Seva Youth Guild” award for his first book, “The Lonely Drummer and Other Poems”. His poems have been a part of Asian Literary Society and United by Ink anthologies and also published in newspapers like The Hans India and News Now. Available as free shipping on Amazon, Flipkart and Notionpress.com
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