William F. Deeck


VALENTINE WILLIAMS – The Curiosity of Mr. Treadgold. Houghton Mifflin, US, hardcover, 1937; Grosset & Dunlap, US, hc reprint, no date stated. Hodder & Stoughton, UK, hc, 1937, as Mr. Treadgold Cuts In.

   Following up on his success in Quebec in investigating what were known as “the Saint Fiorentin murders,” chronicled in Williams’s Dead Man Manor, H. B. Treadgold, head of Bowl, Treadgold, and Flack, bespoke tailors of Savile Row, London, and East Fiftieth Street, New York, continues dabbling in crime investigation by solving ten cases of theft, blackmail, or murder.

    “In Tristram Shandy [from which Treadgold quotes on all occasions], as I’m sure you’ll recollect, it says that body and mind are like a jerkin and its lining: rumple one and you rumple the other. Ill-fitting clothes mean an ill-fitting mind: which is rather a roundabout way of saying that a tailor who takes any pride in his job has to be a bit of a psychologist.”

   The cases here are not fair play, by any means, but that does not make them any the less enjoyable. Treadgold is a capable detective and an interesting character.

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 11, No. 4, Fall 1989.

  Editorial Comment:   Bill’s review is too short, alas, to learn very much about the stories themselves, but it’s certainly long enough to be intriguing. There’s no question that Valentine Williams falls into the category of a Forgotten Writer, but if you’d like to know more, there’s a long essay about him on Mike Grost’s Classic Mystery and Detection website. Recommended!

The Mr. Horace B. Threadgold books

      Dead Man Manor. Hodder 1936.    [novel]


      Mr. Treadgold Cuts In. Hodder 1937; published in the US as The Curiosity of Mr. Treadgold.    [story collection]
      Skeleton Out of the Cupboard. Hodder 1946.   [novel; no US edition]