ANDREW GARVE – A Press of Suspects. Collins Crime Club, UK, 1951. Fontana, UK, paperback, 1956. US title: By-Line for Murder. Harper, hardcover, 1951. Paperback reprints: Dell #765, 1954; Lancer 72-715, 1964.

ANDREW GARVE A Press of Suspects

    I happened upon this early Garve by chance, and as he is a writer I have always wanted to read more of, I picked it up and got straight to it.

   Set in a Fleet Street newspaper office — a setting familiar to Garve who was, in real life a journalist — it concerns the Assistant Foreign Editor who, annoyed at being overlooked for promotion, yet again, decides to wreak revenge on all those he considers to be looking down on him by the indiscriminate use of cyanide.

    Don’t worry (those of you who get concerned at the possibility that I reveal too much in my summaries), this is a procedural not a whodunit and we are made aware of the villain’s actions right from the start. We share the thoughts and actions of many of the main protagonists including Inspector Haines, the man from Scotland Yard called in to investigate after the first death.

    At one stage Haines describes his methods as humdrum, and in a way that’s what the book is as the story unfolds in a very matter-of-fact way, but it retains the attention and I found myself engrossed until, with a sigh of satisfaction, the final page was read.

    I shall certainly be looking for more of Andrew Garve while I am browsing the shelves of the dwindling number of second-hand bookshops that I get to visit.

     Previously on this blog —

A Hole in the Ground   (reviewed by Ray O’Leary)
A Touch of Larceny, a film based on The Megstone Plot   (reviewed by David L. Vineyard)

Editorial Comment:   According to Al Hubin, this was the only case solved by Inspector Haines to have appeared in print.