Reviews by Allen J. Hubin.

   British author John Arnold perpetrated five mystery novels during the golden age of the detective story, but The London Bridge Mystery (Jenkins, 1932) is not detection at all. It’s a thriller, almost from end to end a chase story – on foot, by car, by motorcycle, in the water, instalment after instalment.

   There’s very little credibility in any of it, but it is possible to get caught up in the continuous action. David Royle, an innocent accountant, is taking the underground home one evening when a girl, pursued by “toughs,” gives him a cloakroom ticket, whispers an assignation, and bolts. The toughs turn their malevolent attentions on our hero, who also takes to his heels.

   Various comic and perilous episodes ensue as several groups seek the booty (fabulously valuable Chinese statuettes stolen from the British Museum). At length Royle finds someone who believes his story (an attractive and unattached young woman, would you believe?), and together they scramble for a way out of the maze, with Scotland Yard also at their heels.


   Elliot Bailey, a 1930s British author never published here, wrote several novels featuring Detective Inspector Geoffrey Fraser of New Scotland Yard.

   The second of these, following Death in Quiet Places, is No Crime So Great (Eldon, 1936). Here we find him wedded to Mary, whom he rescued from a killer’s clutches in the first book, and attending to a curious series of murders. Someone is taking deadly offense to England’s athletic heroes: one by one they are shot, just as the light of public acclamation shines most brightly.

   They all seem without personal enemies; what twisted motive could be at work? Fraser fastens his eye on a lame newsman who seems always nearby when bodies are produced, but there are other possibilities… No Crime is typical stuff of its day, satisfactorily readable but not outstanding in narrative style or plot or unexpectedness of denouement.


   They don’t come much more obscure than The Glory Box Mystery (Angus & Robertson, 1937) by G. W. Wicking. Aside from the obscurity of the author (apparently an Australian, who did indeed write other books), what’s a glory box?

   It proves to be a dower chest. I gather a dower is a widow’s life portion of her husband’s lands and tenements. There’s some irony in this, for when a clerk shows the box to a prospective purchaser in Melbourne’s Home Furnishers Emporium, it contains the corpse of one of the owners.

   Enter detective Dick Greenwood of the Criminal Investigation Branch. What follows is a fairly routine affair, with gradual revelation of the murderer and a final resolution that’s a bit surprising for the 1930s.