Sat 1 Jun 2013
William F. Deeck
MURRAY THOMAS – Buzzards Pick the Bones. Longmans Green, UK, hardcover, 1932.
Five years earlier Tom Carr, on holiday in Wales and walking the Cader Idris range, had come upon a man apparently deranged. One year after that he had been told that a skeleton had been discovered at the point he had encountered the man. Now he has read that another skeleton has been found at the same spot. Neither of the skeletons has been identified.
With the hope of getting more information about the skeletons, Carr and his friend Stephen go to Wales. In so doing they are probably responsible for yet another corpse, this one freshly made.
A fairly interesting beginning, with some fine writing about the Welsh mountains, but the murderer, though not his motive, is evident early on and Carr’s falling in love slows down what was never a fast pace. The main saving grace to be found is Rumbold, Carr’s valet, who is not the detective in the novel but definitely could have been. As Rumbold puts it:
Stephen, who is a poet, theorizes that when historians seek England’s mentality in the early 20th century they will turn to Edgar Wallace and the “fourpenny bloods — the Sexton Blakes and the like.” While I would dispute that, there is something to another of his contentions: “Death is the preoccupation of great minds, a death its relaxation — when served up in stories of detection and mystery.”
The Inspector Wilkins series —
Buzzards Pick the Bones. Longmans, UK, 1932.
Inspector Wilkins Sees Red. Jenkins, UK, 1934.
Inspector Wilkins Reads the Proofs. Jenkins, UK, 1935.