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The Mystery of 31 New Inn (Dr. Thorndyke Mysteries #4)

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  295 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
The Mystery of 31 New Inn, a classic mystery novel by R. Austin Freeman, relates a puzzling tale from an earlier century. In the grand tradition of the great sleuths brought to life by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle comes John Thorndyke, cerebral, meticulous, British, . . . and undestimated. A contested will and an unusual sickness have no apparent connection until John Thorndyke ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published May 14th 2001 by House of Stratus (first published 1912)
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Nancy Oakes
2nd in Freeman's Dr. Thorndyke series, this one's a real puzzler! For those of you who enjoy the classics (and I do mean classics) this one is quite good and really sucks you in from the start. This book has not received favorable reviews by armchair detective purists, but I thought it was great.

The story starts as Dr. Jervis (Thorndyke's sidekick), who is filling in for a vacationing physician, gets word that there is a man who needs his attention. A carriage is waiting to take Jervis; it is cl
Oct 17, 2016 Sharon rated it liked it
This is an interesting mystery that involves a Sherlock Holmes-like MD with a law degree and his Watson -like assistant. Although the plot is entertaining, it moves a bit slowly and at one point I took a rest from it even though it is not a long book. The resolution of the mystery made it worth the read, however, and I do recommend it.
Apr 20, 2013 Scilla rated it liked it
Jervis is called to visit a sick man while he is subbing for another doctor. The coach has blackened windows and takes him for a long drive. He is shown Graves, a very sick man in a dark room by Mr. Weiss and and the housekeeper, Mrs. Shallibaum. Jervis cares for Graves, but discovers he has had too much opium. On return, Jervis calls on Thorndyke, who suggests he take a compass and record the directions and times and rate of the horse so they might trace the path the next time he goes to see ...more
Nancy Brady
May 16, 2016 Nancy Brady rated it liked it
A classic English mystery with the detective, Dr. Thorndyke, solving what appears to be two disparate mysteries. One is an apparent suicide with a disputed will; the other is one of his sidekick's (Dr. Jervis) odd case of an apparent poisoning. Despite the twists and turns, the mysteries are solved.

Language is precise and complex, which made this reader check the dictionary repeatedly; the story line not unlike that of Sherlock Holmes and Watson; and the setting is typical for the time.

International Cat Lady
May 28, 2011 International Cat Lady rated it really liked it
Doctor and lawyer John Thorndyke is a contemporary to Sherlock Holmes (the Thorndyke books were written around the same time), and he uses much the same methods as his more well known counterpart. This tale is narrated by his junior associate Dr. Jervis (a counterpart to Dr. Watson). Unfortunately, Freeman tends to have the characters prattle on at length about scientific minutiae instead of getting straight to the point. Had he been a little more concise, this otherwise very engaging mystery ...more
Apr 06, 2011 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read another mystery by this author and liked it; this one, a free download to my Kindle, was good. I had a hunch about the "mystery" but couldn't prove it. However, I was right about the main points but not some of the details. I like how the author outlines and describes the logical thinking that allows the solution.
Aug 19, 2013 Meg rated it really liked it
Filled with some great subtleties and intrigue. Lets you develop your own theories through the treatment of Jervis, encourages you to put your mind to the same tests, along with him. Thorndyke is unerringly witty and amusing.
Jan 07, 2011 Dianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another British mystery, which I sometimes find to be escapist literature of the most engrossing kind. This book is no exception. You do need to read attentively, because of all the mysterious clues, and it is very dated, but quite a fun read....
Mar 10, 2011 Becki rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, 2011
Good mystery! Thorndyke reminds me a lot of Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes. He's very smart but wants his assistants (and readers) to come to their own conclusions. The twist at the end may surprise you, but John Thorndyke is never surprised.
Apr 21, 2011 Nancy rated it liked it
A good old fashioned murder mystery! I think I solved the crime long before the characters did! Loved the colorful descriptions throughout the novel! It was fun to read "real" English!
Feb 08, 2015 Rage rated it liked it
I think because I'm aware that this is a book, and our poor narrator, Jervis, isn't, he does come across as a bit unaware of his situation. Two seemingly unrelated cases, a mysterious and reclusive man's opium overdoses and some curious circumstances surrounding a revised will, become increasingly entangled. Jervis spends most of his time puttering around in oblivion, which for me is not the most interesting way to present a mystery - and of course Thorndyke keeps saying things like "Just think ...more
Guillemette Allard-Bares
May 22, 2015 Guillemette Allard-Bares rated it really liked it
Very cleverly woven! The writing is very enjoyable, intelligent and humorous, and the characters pleasantly remind of Holmes and Watson or Poirot and Hastings. The mystery, built on a very nice twist, rests on a multitude of tiny clues scattered throughout the story, that all smoothly come together by the end into a limpid picture. I felt a strong suspicion about halfway through, but was very satisfied with the resolution and its thorough attention to detail—very intricate, it just doesn't let ...more
Apr 05, 2016 Julie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The doctor is summoned to tend to a patient but his summoners insist on secrecy and he is conveyed there in a completely closed carriage. The sick man seems to be having problems with morphine. The doctor helps then once he goes back home, Contacts Dr. Thorndyke to see what he thinks. He is only summoned once more then his time gets taken up with a flu epidemic. Dr. Thorndyke invites him to work for him instead of a practice. He gets a case right away related to a dead man and his will. Can they ...more
Aug 05, 2015 Julia rated it really liked it
One of the reasons I love reading these vintage detective novels is that their old school methods of solving the mysteries without the internet or cell phones are absolutely fascinating.

In this one, John Thorndyke, our wise and meticulous British detective/lawyer/physician (he’d be considered a forensic scientist today)keeps us involved in two separate cases, as we see the facts slowly begin to intertwine.

I will definitely be reading another novel by R. Austin Freeman, in fact, I’ll start it as
Manuel Alfonseca
Sep 04, 2015 Manuel Alfonseca rated it it was ok
I don't usually like very much those mystery novels where I am able to solve the problem before the protagonist detective. In the case of this novel, I found the plot crystal clear: I saw what was happening almost from the beginning, even before John Thorndike, and of course long before Jervis, who seemed to me specially dense in this novel. Not that Austin Freeman's narrators use to be very sharp!

To make things worse, in this novel the author was sometimes insufferably slow, as in chapter 5, wh
An entertaining early mystery featuring a late contemporary of Sherlock Holmes and one of the first fictional forensic scientists. Some things in the book seem so obvious that I have to wonder if they really are or if it's just that we 21st century people just have the benefit of the long tradition of which this book (and the Holmes mysteries, of course) are a part. Still, even though I had a good idea of what was going on I didn't guess most of the specifics. I'll definitely be trying some more ...more
Colin Mitchell
A Thorndyke novel narrated by Dr. Jervis who starts out helping at a G>P's. Practice and is involved in a suspicious case of apparent poisoning. He joins up with his friend Thorndyke as his new junior in chambers and they investigate a suspicious will. Early forensic analysis and linked more to the courts than the police as is the practice today. A good read written in the early 1900's style that I enjoy. Some interesting deduction and description of a very different London.
Marts  (Thinker)
Mar 21, 2011 Marts (Thinker) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, crime, 2011-reads
I thoroughly enjoyed this old fashioned mystery, it was wonderfully written and at many times had me thinking well just how the hell was the darn crime really committed... well it all ended up that some persons are just good at deception...

I can assure anyone who loves old fashioned crime mysteries that they'll truely enjoy this, so join Dr. Thorndyke and Dr. Jervis as they solve the mystery...
Dec 31, 2014 Hope rated it it was ok
This vintage novel was written in 1912. It was interesting to discover that Freeman dominated the field of detective fiction for the first 25 years of his career. His key character, Dr. Thorndyke, was overshadowed, however, by more memorable men such as Sherlock Holmes, Peter Wimsey and Hercule Poirot. This is a quick, pleasant read (especially if you love quaint old-fashioned language.)
S Dizzy
Jul 28, 2016 S Dizzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From The Mystery of 31 New Inn: "Reflections of this kind occupied me pretty actively if not very agreeably during this strange journey. And the monotony was relieved, too, by other distractions. I was, for example, greatly interested to notice how, when one sense is in abeyance, the other senses rouse into a compensating intensity of perception."
I Read
Apr 19, 2011 I Read rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective
What can I say? I found this book a bit boring. Quite simply I think it was just a matter of the storyline not appealing to me. If there had been a character I connected too or the setting had enchanted, intrigued, disgusted...caused any emotion, would have improved the rating I've given it!

A bog standard mystery that lacks what Christie managed to inject into hers.
Oct 17, 2013 George rated it liked it
Second in the Dr. Thorndyke mystery series set in London around 1900. Thorndyke is a lawyer and medical doctor who reasons out mysteries. This involves a young doctor friend who Thorndyke hires as his assistant whose strange case involving a mysteries man and couple who are caring for him and an inheritance case brought to Thorndyke.
Apr 17, 2016 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very Similar to Sherlock Holmes Mysteries

Similar to Sherlock Holmes with a twist where Thorndyke, who is like Sherlock, provides assisting insight as a friend to Dr. Jervis, who is akin to Dr. Watson.
Apr 09, 2016 C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historical mystery

This is an interesting story for those who like historical mysteries. It includes a lot details about medicine, optics, and other items of the era. The answer was a bit obvious.
Jun 15, 2011 Erin rated it liked it
I found the ending to this book more predictable than the first two that I read. Either I am getting better at Thorndyke's methods (unlikely) or the quality of of the mystery slipped a bit. Still, a very enjoyable read.
Tanya Faberson
Nov 10, 2014 Tanya Faberson rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves turn of the 20th c mysteries
This is probably one of my favorite John Thorndyke mysteries by R. Austin Freeman. While some aspects of the solution to the mystery became apparent early on, it still was an enjoyable read. I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in these old, classic mystery stories.
Aug 05, 2010 Kathy rated it liked it
It was pretty obvious "who done it," but the fun was in seeing how Dr. Thorndyke figured it out. These mysteries remind me of Holmes and Watson, although Thorndyke is even less likely to share his observations and deductions, until the very end, than is Holmes.
Julia Sola
May 18, 2014 Julia Sola rated it really liked it
Like others have said, very similar to Sherlock Holmes. In an attempt to draw out the suspense it was longer than necessary but overall I liked it and would read more texts by this author.
Jun 28, 2012 NVTony rated it it was amazing
Most enjoyable mystery. Keeps you moving right up to last minute change of pace. Found mysefl reading long after lights out. Setting in old London was perfect atmosphere.
Feb 06, 2011 Patricia rated it really liked it
The Mystery of the 31 New Inn was exciting, interesting, and satisfying. I did guess and suspect some points of the mystery way before the main character did though.
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Richard Freeman was born in Soho, London on 11 April 1862 and was the son of Ann Maria (nee Dunn) and Richard Freeman, a tailor. He was originally named Richard and later added the Austin to his name.

He became a medical trainee at Middlesex Hospital Medical College and was accepted as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons.

He married Annie Elizabeth Edwards in 1887 and they had two sons and aft
More about R. Austin Freeman...

Other Books in the Series

Dr. Thorndyke Mysteries (1 - 10 of 28 books)
  • The Red Thumb Mark
  • John Thorndyke's Cases
  • The Eye of Osiris
  • The Singing Bone (Dr. Thorndyke Mysteries, #5)
  • A Silent Witness
  • The Great Portrait Mystery
  • Helen Vardon's Confession
  • The Cat's Eye
  • Dr Thorndyke's Casebook
  • The Mystery of Angelina Frood

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