Tuesday, 27 February 2001

Delano Ames: She Shall Have Murder (1948)

Edition: Chivers Press, 1995 (Buy from Amazon)
Review number: 769

Delano Ames' series of detective novels featuring Dagobert Brown has been one I have enjoyed for many years, though they are quite difficult to find and this is only the fourth I have read. She Shall Have Murder is the very first one, and it sets the tone for the whole series, if perhaps in a slightly more self-conscious manner than the later novels.

Jane Hamish, Dagobert's girlfriend, works at solicitors Playfair and Son, and has begun a novel which is a thriller set at her workplace in which one of the clients is murdered. This suddenly becomes less than amusing when the particular elderly lady she has chosen as the victim dies, especially when Dagobert proves that this cannot have been the accident it appears to be.

The idea of writing a novel which turns into reality means that Ames has the opportunity to poke fun at some of the clich├ęs of the crime genre. This is occasionally too self-conscious, but is generally amusing. Compared to the remainder of the series, it is not as accomplished; Dagobert is sometimes an annoying character rather than being as charming as he is meant to be.

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