CAROLYN WELLS – The Furthest Fury. J. B. Lippincott, US/UK, hardcover, 1924.

   After over a half-dozen attempts I have finally found a Carolyn Wells mystery I like. It’s called The Furthest Fury. Character drawing is adequate to good, Wells’ “transcendant detective” (as he is called here) Fleming Stone is present for about half the book — actually detecting — and the solution is acceptably fair to the reader.

CAROLYN WELLS The Furthest Fury

   David Stanhope’s visit with friends in the Connecticut hill country village of New Midian soon plunges him into mystery as two comparatively recent citizens of the village, a man, Nevin Lawrence, and his widowed sister, are murdered in their own house, both shot to death.

   Potential suspects include the hotheaded son of Stanhope’s wealthy friends, who was running for country club president against Nevin Lawrence on a “wet” platform; the son’s girlfriend, a mere daughter of the local dressmaker; the peppery maid, who inherits under the wills; the local spinster music teacher, a gossip and busybody of the first order; the strange, white-faced man Stanhope noticed on the train to New Midian; and possibly even the landlord and landlady and various summer residents of the local genteel boarding house, “Gray Porches.”

   Along with the far-too-bumbling local police, Stanhope investigates the brutal crimes; but he finally is compelled to call on Fleming Stone, who answers all questions after some genuine detection. Stone leaves his theory of the crime in a sealed envelope early on during the course of his investigations — and he was dead-on accurate, of course!

   The atmosphere of the once-peaceful little New England village is fine — it’s a convincing sort of American Mayhem Parva. Additionally, there’s some well-portrayed generational conflict between a father and son, an appealing (not cloying) lower-class damsel, a fine “character” of a maid, and a memorable gossipy spinster. The solution is quite interesting, and the reader may well deduce it.

   All in all, The Furthest Fury is a fine book, well worth reprinting. The silliness omnipresent in so many of Wells’ post-1920 books is not present, nor is the book stilted and dated in the Victorian manner like many of her earlier mysteries. And, best of all, the tale is fully fair play, the first such, actually, that I have read by Ms. Wells. Well worth reading!