Tag Archives: whoddunnit

Book Review – The Mazaroff Mystery

I read this directly after The Windsor Knot. They are very different books.

The Windsor Knot is a modern whodunnit with a good helping of originality, a novelty detective and an undercurrent of humour.

The Mazaroff Mystery by [J.S. Fletcher]

The Mazaroff Mystery is a Golden Age detective novel, published in 1928. There is nothing original about it, the detective is not unusual (a young man looking for amusement after serving as an officer in the Great War) and there is no humour. It lacks depth, including themes you would expect in a modern novel – class, race and sex, – and the protagonist has suffered no mental or physical problems as a result of his war service. The world of the Golden Age detective novel was largely white, middle class and not given to introspection. Peter Wimsey suffered from shell shock, but the rest of that generation seem remarkably unscathed.

The authors are both fine writers, the characterisation is good, and the plots both have the odd weak spot. The pacing of the older book is superior, as is the quality of the red herrings and the supporting characters.

I would say that if you want a book for entertainment, get The Windsor Knot. If you want a good detective novel, The Mazaroff Mystery is the one to go for. Unless you are looking for historical detective fiction.

I notice one or two people in the reviews, seem to think it  is historical fiction, some liking its authenticity, and at least one complaining that it is old-fashioned. Well, it would be. it’s 93 years old. The author was born in 1863, just four years after Conan Doyle and two years before Kipling. I always think of those two as Victorians. The surprise isn’t that the book is old-fashioned, the surprise is that it is quite fresh and contemporary rather than being rooted in Victorian days. He was, by the way, the favourite mystery writer of Woodrow Wilson

It’s well worth a read if you like Golden Age whodunnits, and is currently available on Kindle for £0.77.