Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Foe Outstretch'd Beneath the Tree: Review

My Foe Outstretch'd Beneath the Tree by V. C. Clinton-Baddeley is one of my many academic mystery acquisitions. This series features Dr. R. V. Davie a distinguished professor from Cambridge. Elderly and inherently lazy, he still manages to find himself in the most extraodinary circumstances and adventures. This particular mystery revolves around a gentleman's club, a women's college and the opera.

Morris Brent had good looks, good luck, a beautiful mistress and a membership in the exclusive Chesterfield Club. But it seemed that someone thought he might have too much of a good thing....And so, one morning, Dr. Davie with his knack for spotting trouble found Brent facedown in the club's well-kept, members-only garden. Brent was very still and quite obviously murdered. Two copies of a tape recording lead Davie from the club to a women's collge and finally to the opening night at the opera. All the suspects were on hand for the gala event.... and the solution was waiting in the wings.

Overall this is a delightful mystery--but definitely a comfort read rather than an intense puzzle. Written in 1967, it is a definite tribute to the Golden Age of mysteries and Clinton-Baddeley makes a good effort at detective story fair play. The dialogue is witty and while there is a fair amount of quotation it is not over-played or pretentious. A good choice for a night when you want something fun, intereseting, but not too taxing. Three and a half stars out of five.

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