JONATHAN GASH – The Judas Pair. Lovejoy #1. Harper & Row, US, hardcover, 1977. Dell (Scene of the Crime #30), US, paperback, 1981. Published earlier in the UK by Collins Crime Club, hardcover., 1977. TV Adaptation: “The Judas Pair.” Lovejoy, BBC, UK, 07 Feb 1986 (season 1, episode 5) starring Ian McShane).

   The Judas pair in is the thirteenth pair of flintlock dueling pistols made by a master craftsman named Durs. Their existence is purely a legend, or so believes Lovejoy, noted antiques dealer, until he’s commissioned to locate them by the brother of the man killed by one.

   Those also afflicted by the mania known as collecting will best understand the killer’s motive and will watch with fascination as Lovejoy explains the world of antiques while methodically turning it upside down. The style is determinedly high-key, too much so for the long haul, and when the mood abruptly becomes serious, it leads to a melodramatic ending more notable for the many gaps in its wake.

–Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 2, No. 3, May 1978.