ROBIN FORSYTHE – Missing or Murdered. John Lane/The Bodley Head, UK, hardcover, 1930.

   Not having access to the current CD-Rom edition of Al Hubin’s Crime Fiction IV is a problem at the moment, as I cannot tell you how many detective or thriller novels Robin Forsythe may have written, or whether either of the two primary protagonists in Missing or Murdered ever made another appearance.

   The missing or murdered man is Henry Darnell, Lord Bygrave, the head of some unnamed department in the civil government. He’d gone to a country inn outside of London for a short stay — the White Bear Inn in the village of Hartwood — gone for a walk the next morning, and disappeared.

   Investigating on behalf of Scotland Yard is Inspector Heather. Also on the case in an artist named Algernon Vereker, a “somewhat eccentric young gentleman” who happens to be a trustee and executor of the missing man’s will.

   The book, in its solid old-fashioned way, is full of detective work and nothing but detective work. Most amusing is how Heather and Vereker each tackle the case in their own particular way, and then regale each other with wild reenactments of the crime, some more fanciful than others, some spot on, other far less so.

   All so very fine and good, but tales of detection need to be solidly clued, and if I’m not mistaken (and I did go back to look) one vital clue is not provided to the reader when one of the two detectives took notice of it.

   This violates one of Father Knox’s Rules of Detection, and so does the killer’s identity, or very close to it.

   I’d read another book by Robin Forsythe, if one ever came along again, for otherwise I enjoyed this one immensely, so much so I hate pointing out its flaws, but needs must.