Monday, July 23, 2018

Some Beasts No More: Spoilery Review

Detective Harry James comes back from medical leave to find that a hoped-for position on a new squad has passed him by while he was recuperating from a nasty run-in with some ruffians in a warehouse. Instead, he has been assigned to help Superintendent Hawker who has a bee in his bonnet over a list of people who have all died recently. All of them are, according to Hawker, unconvicted murderers. Those who the police suspected of murderer and were quite sure of, but they could never get the evidence necessary for an arrest. And apparently someone is doling out justice on their own.

Hawker wants James to track down connections between the victims so they can find the murderers' murderer. The trail leads James to the village of Bradshaw where he encounters an eccentric collection of suspects--falling in love with one of them along the way--as well as a baffling set of clues. Another corpse is discovered, things get very murky indeed, and more suspicion is heaped on his lady-love before James gets to the bottom of the murders.


VERY SPOILERY SECTION AHEAD!



So.........either I was sleep-reading during some really crucial portions of this one or some clues were definitely missing because there was no way (that I can see) that I could possibly have figured out the reason (as it appears to me) for the murders is that there was some sort of spy network going on. I mean, one minute we're trying to figure out who killed these old guys in the country who were supposedly murderers and the next thing I know one of the suspects isn't really who we thought s/he was and from the references to Germany I'm guessing s/he was a spy. It's all very confused.

But at least our hero can breathe easy and get on with falling in love with the gal who was the main suspect all along. Because she didn't do it! One thing that could have been made a little more clear is whether the real villain knew all along about her past and deliberately tried to frame her (which, again, is how it appears to me) or if circumstances just made her look suspicious. But don't expect Giles to explain that....

Some Beasts No More (1965) is the first of Kenneth Giles's novels to feature Harry James. I've read two others and I have to say that I'm glad this wasn't the first novel I read. Had it been, I'm not sure that I would have read any more. It's definitely disconcerting to have the entire case shift so drastically right at the very end. ★★

[Finished 6/22/18]
 

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