William F. Deeck

CHRISTOPHER BUSH – The Case of the Platinum Blonde. Macmillan, US, hardcover, 1949. First published by Cassell, UK, hardcover, 1944.

   My copy of this novel is a previously owned one. One of the former owners wrote on the first page, “Good to the last suspect.” I quite agree with the anonymous reader that it’s a good mystery, but Ludovic Travers in this outing is not a very appealing detective. Perhaps the pain from his recently acquired war injury makes him irascible and thus rather irritating.

   Travers is convalescing at his sister’s home in the village of Cleavesham. In his rambles around the village he notices a man putting up a sign on another man’s house, a sign saying, among other things, “REMEMBER — THIS NIGHT SHALL THY SOUL BE REQUIRED OF THEE.”

   The next day Travers finds the occupant of the house in his living room with a bullet in his head. Because Travers loves “ironic situations and even creating them,” he toys with the evidence and does not reveal all to the police. And then he discovers that the wife of the Chief Constable, a man whom he admires, may be involved somehow.

   An interesting investigation by Travers, along with his friendly rival, George Wharton of Scotland Yard. But it would have been a better novel if Travers had been better behaved.

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 12, No. 1, Winter 1990.

Bibliographic Notes: Over a period of 42 years, from 1926 to 1968, Bush wrote over 60 detective novels under his own name, all with Ludovic Travers as the leading detective. Superintendent Wharton may have been his rival and ally in all of them as well, but this is not so indicated by Hubin. Bush also wrote a small numbers of crime and thriller novels as by Noel Barclay and Michael Home.