‘One of those rare gems that comes to the reviewer out of the blue . . . enough twists to shame a cobra . . . the story fairly rips along, defying the reader to put the book down . . . Christine Poulson should be heralded as the fine entrant to the world of crime fiction she most certainly is.’ [Stage Fright]


Crime novels that are worth reading twice

Posted on Oct 14, 2014 in Robert Player | 4 Comments

imagesTo be worth rereading a crime novel has to have a little extra something other than the plot. If the puzzle element is uppermost, then once is enough, unless of course you have managed to forget whodunit.

The plot twist was about all I remembered of The  Ingenious Mr Stone by Robert Player, which I first read a very long time ago, but it turned out to be well worth revisiting. Moira over at brought it to my attention and commented on how few people have read what she felt was a crime classic. I agree.

It is dark, funny, and highly original. A large part of it is narrated by Miss Sophie Coppock, bursar of a dreadful second-rate girls’ school and a wonderfully Pooter-like figure, blissfully unaware of the effect she is having on other people. The novel was published in 1945, but there is something rather contemporary about the way the different viewpoints are handled, and perhaps above in all the character of the person who finally gets to the bottom of mystery, one of the most unlikely sleuths in crime fiction – and one of the least attractive.