The Singing Bone

The Singing Bone

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Liber_vermis
Feb 13, 2020

The Preface to this collection of five short crime stories notes that the forensic investigator, Dr. John Evelyn Thorndyke, created by R. Austin Freeman, was more than a successor to Sherlock Holmes: "Whereas Holmes spoke of science more often than he used it, Thorndyke relies on laboratory analysis. ... The microscope and the camera are his standbys." Four of the stories in this book present the plot innovation by Freeman - the "inverted" detective story. "The daring idea of telling a detective story ... twice over, first as the facts of the crime occur, and again as the detective goes to work on the clues ...". Beyond the main character and plot invention, Freeman is a master at developing psychological suspense and the chilling anticipation of evil.

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l
Liber_vermis
Feb 13, 2020

"Silas stood for a few moments as if petrified, with the chilly sweat of mortal fear standing in beads upon his forehead. Another instant and he would have turned the lamp down and gone on his way; and then -- He strode over to the chair, snatched up the hat and looked inside it. Yes, there was the name, "Oscar Brodski," written plainly on the lining. If he had gone away, leaving it to be discovered, he would have been lost; indeed, even now, if a search-party should come to the house, it was enough to send him to the gallows. His limbs shook with horror at the thought, but in spite of his panic he did not lose his self-possession. Darting through the kitchen ...". (p. 18-19)

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