William F. Deeck

SELDON TRUSS – Where’s Mr. Chumley? Doubleday Crime Club, hardcover, 1948. Hodder & Stoughton, UK, hardcover, 1949. Reprinted in Two Complete Detective Books, No. 59, November 1949.

SELDON TRUSS Where's Mr. Chumley?

   Where indeed is the Reverend Mr. Chumley, curate at Charwell? The police suspect that he is off with an illicit lover, but those who know the good man are dubious, perhaps incredulous. As well they might be, for the unfinished letter to his “lover” turns out to be a forgery.

   Under the guise of a commercial gentleman, Chief Inspector Gidleigh, C.I.D., takes charge of the investigation into Chumley’s disappearance and has also to contend with a possible abortionist, a seeming suicide, and the odious Mr. Twigg. Nobody’s fool, Gidleigh gets part of it right.

   While Truss is not in the top rank of mystery writers, he (she?) is certainly high in the second tier. Humor, interesting and sympathetic characters, if one does not count the child Maisie of the marbly eyes, and a splendid plot make this novel, as well as others by Truss, worth trying to find.

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 11, No. 4, Fall 1989.

Bio-Bibliographic Data: If (Leslie) Seldon Truss (1892-1990) is not male, I hope someone will leave a comment to let us know. His (I am presuming) writing career extended from 1928 to 1969, and included some 40 crime novels, including one written as by George Selmark.

   Inspector Gidleigh appeared in 22 or 23 of these (when one non-Gidleigh book was reprinted, Gidleigh showed up in it as the detective in charge), while Detective Inspector Shane appeared in six and Inspector Bass in yet another three.

[UPDATE] 11-07-10.   From Victor Berch comes the following note about Seldon Truss:

    “Here is what I’ve managed to gather from a variety of records:   Leslie Seldon Truss was the son of George Marquand, an agent for a produce company, and Ann Blanch (Seldon) Truss on August 21, 1892 in Wallington, Surrey, England.

    “According to his enlistment record in WW I, he had previously been a film producer for Gaumont Film Co. On the record dated Oct 8, 1915, he lists his age as 23 years and 2 months. He served with the 2nd Scots Guard during WW I.

    “He died Feb 5, 1990 at Hastings and Rother, East Sussex, England. He was a member of the Society of Authors and the Crime Writers Association. I think this should clear up his sex gender once and for all.”