Saturday, November 24, 2012
The Grell Mystery by Frank Froest
'A man is found mysteriously murdered in the study of his own house, and the investigation has not proceeded very far before the detectives discover that the body is not what of this man at all, but of some one who looks like him, while he himself has disappeared as completely as if he also had been killed...The author has condensed into his 390 pages an amazing lot of surprises, startling incidents, mysteries, baffling clues, and bewildering situations.'
I read this book for the Vintage Mysteries Challenge over at Bev's My Reader's Block. It is a very well written novel with a challenging mystery and a very smart detective! Mr. Froest was a police constable with the Metropolitan Police and worked his way up to Chief Inspector at Scotland Yard and retired in 1912 as Superintendent of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) with the Metropolitan Police. So his stories main thrust are the detecting aspect of the mystery. If you like more character or issue driven stories this might not be for you. Here's a quote from the book that gives you an insight into our detective Inspector Foyle: 'Foyle knew she was right. What he was doing was flagrantly unlawful unless he charged her with some offense. Yet there are times when it is necessary for a police officer to put a blind eye to the telescope and to do technically illegal things in order that justice may not be defeated. This he felt was one of the occasions.'
Froest himself seems to have been quite an interesting character, strong enough to tear a pack of playing cards in half with his bare hands, a smart dresser when out of uniform, part of the largest mass arrest in British history and credited with using wireless for the first time to aid in an investigation. Read about him here.
I could not find a definitive list of all his work so I'm not sure how many books he authored other than The Grell Mystery, The Maelstrom, The Rogue Syndicate and The Crime Club. I only found one copy of The Rogue Syndicate available online and it is a used hardback for $50 so it must be hard to come by! The Grell Mystery and The Maelstrom are available for free in digital form. Links below.
The Book Depository