William F. Deeck

E .R. PUNSHON – Information Received. Ernest Benn, UK, hardcover, 1933; Penguin Books, UK, paperback, 1955. Houghton Mifflin, US, hardcover, 1934.

   In his first recorded case, Bobby Owen (B.A. — pass degree only — Oxon) is a police constable patrolling a dull suburb. The suburb livens up when mysterious strangers start swarming and an alleged apple thief makes his presence felt.

   All this leads to the discovery of the body of Sir Christopher Clark, shot twice near the heart in his billiard room at the same time his safe in the study was being emptied by a burglar.

   With a fair number of suspects and an almost equal number of motive — embezzlement, ruination, inheritance, lovers denied — the case is a complex one. It isn’t helped by a couple of the suspects claiming that it wasn’t murder when it obviously was. A conspiracy of silence, except for an occasional odd remark, doesn’t assist in clearing things up.

   While the novel is about Owen and his role, the real brains of the investigation is Superintendent Mitchell, a canny and amusing policeman. Enjoy Mitchell and hope that Owen matures quickly if he’s going to be on his own.

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 11, No. 3, Summer 1989.

Editorial Comment:   Bobby Owen was the leading protagonist in a whopping 35 detective novels by Punshon, beginning in 1933 and continuing on to 1956. I have no record of the number of Superintendent Mitchell’s appearances, but it’s easy to imagine he was on hand more than just the once.