The Murder Jigsaw by E. & M. A. Radford

Colonel Donoughmore is not popular with his fellow anglers at the Tremarden Arms in Cornwall, so when he is late returning from a day of fly fishing no one is really bothered. And when he is found “Dead as Cornish Laamb. He were found in river the mornin’.”, the local police aren’t too concerned either. Obviously he slipped and fell into the river while fishing. But Doctor Harry Manson, Head Detective-Inspector, head of the Scotland Yard Crime Research Laboratory, and Medical Jurisprudist of the national Police Force just happens to be on the scene, and based on what he sees this is no accident, but murder.

The story is filled with details of fly fishing and forensic science. While the fishing references were a little obscure (I think a priest is a small wooden bat?) the science used here was interesting. I was very impressed by how many techniques were available for that era (1940’s), and how well the Radford’s worked it into the story. Using that science makes the plot, which at the beginning appears to be simple, actually quite complex.

The writing style was not something I’ve ever come across before. The authors “play fair” by not only providing the reader with every clue to solve the mystery, they periodically disperse challenges to the reader regarding those clues, and if you miss it, they even direct you to where it is. I will say that while this was an entertaining technique, there were times when I felt it held up the narrative of the story (ok, if I’m being honest, at one point it brought it to a grinding halt!). And the fairness slipped a tad for me because, while the murderer does appear in the story, it is so tangentially that most readers won’t give it a thought, let alone ever identify them.

My thoughts on this one…I’m rather torn. While I liked some aspects of Murder Jigsaw, I did find myself putting it down a lot, which is not something I do when I truly enjoy what I’m reading. Maybe it was just the wrong Radford for me?

My Ruling – 3.5/5

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.