Reading the Detectives discussion

Information Received (The Bobby Owen Mysteries, #1)
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Buddy reads > Information Received - E.R. Punshon - SPOILER Thread

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Susan | 10527 comments Mod
Published in 1933, this is the first novel featuring Oxford graduate, Constable Bobby Owen.

In his London townhouse, city magnate Sir Christopher Clarke is found lying murdered. At the other end of the house his safe hangs open and rifled, and earlier in the day he had visited his solicitors in order to make a drastic change in his will. Later it is discovered that there has been fraud connected with the dead man, and this is but one of the many complications with which Superintendent Mitchell is faced. Fortunately he has the assistance of young Constable Owen, a talented young Oxford graduate who, finding all other careers closed to him by the ‘economic blizzard’ of the early thirties, has joined the London Police force.

Information Received is the first of E.R. Punshon’s acclaimed Bobby Owen mysteries, first published in 1933 and the start of a series which eventually spanned thirty-five novels.

Feel free to post spoilers in this thread. Thank you.

Susan | 10527 comments Mod

Here is the link to the previous discussion of this book, in April 16.

Pamela (bibliohound) | 395 comments I really enjoyed this, especially the relationship between Mitchell and Owen. The plot was intriguing with quite a few blind alleys.

I wasn't sure about the ending though. It was obvious Mitchell had worked it out, and Bobby was getting there, but then rather than have them reveal the solution it was revealed through the letter which I thought was a bit weak.

Susan | 10527 comments Mod
I didn't read this last time and I can't recall why. I also enjoyed it, but agree that the ending was a little bit of a let down.

Pamela (bibliohound) | 395 comments I wasn't completely convinced by Mark's reactions either, but I kind of accepted that because of the Hamlet connection.

Susan | 10527 comments Mod
Yes. Theatre plays quite a role in our GA novels recently.

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9422 comments Mod
I've finished rereading this and really enjoyed it second time around, even though I remembered who the killer was. I agree the killer revealing all in a letter is a bit weak.

I've just recently read another story which also has this type of ending, and it's definitely a lot less satisfying than seeing the detective work it all out properly!

There are quite a few detective stories which involve productions of Hamlet, and I think the plots often relate to the play, as in this one, but not always.

Susan | 10527 comments Mod
Shakespeare features highly in a lot of GA books, as do various quotations from poetry and literature. Obviously, author's expected readers to know these things and readers would be generally better read. Personally, I often use my translate option on my kindle with books from this era, as people seem to lapse into French at the drop of a hat...

message 9: by Gardener0126 (new)

Gardener0126 | 6 comments I just re-read this and I also thought the ending was weak.
I thought there were some overly dramatic scenes, but in a way this increased the suspense. I think high drama, and in some cases melodrama seem to be fairly common in Golden Age mysteries.

I do think it’s true that the original readers of a Golden Age books were better read in some ways than we are. Maybe we would be more “cultured” for lack of a better word if we didn’t have so many choices. The sheer variety of books and how easily they are available to us is overwhelming in some ways.

Sandy | 3016 comments Mod
To say nothing of the time we spend on other activities: TV and internet come to mind. We (both men and women) work longer hours than the GA leisured class. Making time for reading the classics is seldom even considered.

message 11: by Gardener0126 (new)

Gardener0126 | 6 comments Sandy wrote: "To say nothing of the time we spend on other activities: TV and internet come to mind. We (both men and women) work longer hours than the GA leisured class. Making time for reading the classics is ..."

Yes, we are busy, busy, busy, not just in working longer hours, but just generally. I find that kind of ironic, given that we have so many “helpers” for pretty much every facet of our lives. It seems that the more “help” we have, the faster we feel we need to move.

I do not know anyone, besides my husband, in real life who reads as much as I do, and when they read, it certainly isn’t the old standbys, , or even Golden Age mysteries. In a way, I understand why they don’t read these mysteries. In many cases, including “Information Received”, the author assumes the reader will have some knowledge of the classics.

Susan | 10527 comments Mod
My children do Classics and Latin at school, but they are pretty much dying out in most schools too. I think it's a shame - my 14 year old was introduced to Homer through Classics and is a great fan of myths, from around the world, for the same reason.

Elizabeth (Alaska) It's been too many years since I was in school. I sort of think those who like the classics might not be too interested in mysteries, which are generally lighter fare. I thought knowing the play should give me clues, and I thought I should get up off my hind end and google to get a quick overview.

I had the burglary figured out in chapter 2. It seemed pretty obvious. I had concocted a reason why Marsden should also have been the murderer, and then a few chapters later decided I was wrong about the murder.

Not sure what you all mean by "weak" with the written confession. On the other hand, I had that figured out too. I'm terrible at these things, so I should put it on the calendar that I guessed correctly on both counts in this one.

I like the writing style and I think there is more characterization in these than one has a right to expect for the genre, which is usually only about plot.

message 14: by Bicky (new)

Bicky | 332 comments Pamela wrote: "I wasn't completely convinced by Mark's reactions either, but I kind of accepted that because of the Hamlet connection."

I agree. Mark's suicide was gratuitous. Hamlet or not.

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