William F. Deeck

SELDON TRUSS – Always Ask a Policeman. Doubleday Crime Club, hardcover, 1952. Hodder & Stoughton, UK, hardcover, 1953.

SELDON TRUSS Always Ask a Policeman

   What does Goodge’s dreadful lodging house have to do with the pompous Cosmo Almond, soon to be candidate for Member of Parliament? It harbors, if that’s the word I want, the ineffable Miss Dysart, who is in love with Romance, finds invisible bugs on her clothing, and may or may not be threatening Cosmo’s life, such as it is.

   The lodging house also contains Miss Pym — no, not our Miss Pym; this one is a clergyman’s daughter who poses nude at a dubious art studio patronized by Cosmo’s male secretary — an odd medical student who keeps getting picked up by the police to “assist their inquiries,” and the loathsome Goodge himself.

   Since Miss Dysart has appealed to the Yard to find Cosmo, Inspector Gidleigh of Scotland Yard — who talks like John Appleby but without the wit — is keeping an eye on this situation. Mr. Horace of the well-read but not respected Daily Snapshot both helps and hinders the investigation. But what and who are being investigated?

   Certain aspects of the novel will be clear to the experienced mystery reader, but this is still an engrossing investigation. If only all the characters had not spoken as though they had been educated at Oxford…

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 11, No. 2, Spring 1989.

Bibliographic Data:   Inspector Gidleigh appeared in 24 of the author’s detective novels, published over a period of time ranging from 1936 to 1965. Truss’s full list of mystery fiction appeared between 1928 and 1969, well over 40 years, approximately 45 novels, including three as by George Selmark, but he’s almost assuredly unknown to any but the most serious collector today.