Sunday, October 30, 2016

Review: From Whose Bourne by Robert Barr

by Mary

With Halloween looming a review of this novel seems appropriate, given the investigation is materially assisted by a dead man. How so?

Well, William Brenton comes back from death's undiscover'd country, the bourne or destination from which no traveller returns -- at least according to Hamlet -- in this relatively short novel.

The story opens on Christmas Eve in Cincinnati. During a festive dinner given for two dozen friends Brenton feels unwell and goes to lie down. He awakes to find himself invisible to others in the house and unable to communicate with them. A stranger named Ferris is at his elbow; his role is to advise Brenton about the new (after)life he has entered.

Ferris introduces him to former newspaper man John Speed, and it is to Speed Brenton turns when he realises he must take a hand to ensure justice is done for his widow Alice, now facing trial for poisoning him. Together they think *really* hard at Chicago reporter George Stratton, urging him to interest himself in the case. As indeed he becomes, going to Ohio to take it up. For good measure a certain Monsieur Lecocq is also called in to investigate, though in an unusual way.

My verdict: A quick read featuring a couple of red herrings, at least three suspects with good motives for Brenton's removal, and a nice twist at the end.

Etext: From Whose Bourne by Robert Barr

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