William F. Deeck

Q. PATRICK Cottage Sinister

  Q. PATRICK – Cottage Sinister. Roland Swain Co., hardcover, 1931. Popular Library #386, paperback, 1951.

   In the village of Crosby-Stourton in a charming cottage called Lady’s Bower lives Mrs. Lubbock with one of her daughters, a nurse. Two other daughters are visiting and die of hyoscine poisoning. A fair number of people had the opportunity, several had the means, but a motive is difficult to find.

   Archibald Inge, better known as the Archdeacon because of his resemblance to a Hound of Heaven rather than an earthly sleuth, is brought down from Scotland Yard to investigate. The Archdeacon is “an expert at psychological crimes because he never used his imagination — an adept in motiveless murder because he firmly believed that there was no such thing.” Thus, he was adroit at solving mysteries because he never thought anything mysterious.

   Two more deaths occur after the Archdeacon arrives in the village. It is obvious to him near the end of the investigation who did it. Unfortunately, he is mistaken. Still, he should have realized that the motive he attributed to the suspect was nonsensical.

   A well-written and amusing mystery, though the clues leave something to be desired. The Archdeacon is a fascinating character.

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 11, No. 1, Winter 1989.

Q. PATRICK Cottage Sinister

  Bibliographic Notes:   The tangle of names behind the “Q. Patrick” pen name is as bad as the mess of cables hidden behind my computer. Most of the books written under that byline were by Richard Wilson Webb and Hugh Callingham Wheeler. Cottage Sinister, along with one other, was written by Webb and Martha Mott Kelley. Two other books were done by Webb in collaboration with Mary Louise Aswell.

   At another time and another day, an explanation of where Patrick Quentin and Jonathan Stagge also fit into the picture would be well worth doing, but for now, I’ll let Google do what it does best. While I haven’t checked it for completeness, here is a website that comes up early in the search, is organized very well, and should prove to be helpful to anyone who’s new to the author.

   Unless something has slipped by Al Hubin, this was the only appearance of Archibald Inge, the “Archdeacon.”