Reggie Fortune, doctor and private investigator, and star of a bucket load of short stories by H C Bailey. This is the first collection of the stories, published in 1919, consisting of The Archduke’s Tea, The Sleeping Companion, The Nice Girl, The Efficient Assassin, The Hottentot Venus and The Business Minister. The cover refers to them as six long detective tales, but in fact, they run to about forty pages of fairly large print.
You may recall that last month, I had a bit of a disaster with Slippery Ann, a novel by the author. But after the somewhat uninspiring talk about Reggie Fortune at the Bodies From The Library conference this year, I was determined to see what the attraction of this series of tales was. After all, Bailey wrote enough of them.
More importantly, you may be wondering about the style of this post. Usually old PD writes a little synopsis and then goes into the whys and wherefores of the book. But there’s a good reason for that…
I can’t remember anything about it – and I read most of the stories yesterday. No, I haven’t received any serious head wounds or have succumbed to my relative old age, it’s just that these stories are indescribably boring.
The plots are prosaic with little mystery to them and even less wit. In fact, I’m going to let you into a secret…
… I didn’t read the last story in the collection. I simply couldn’t bear forcing myself through another turgid mess of a story.
So, unless someone want’s to convince me that Bailey improved with age – this is the first collection and he was still writing short stories twenty years later – that’s it for me with Bailey. Time to move on to something that is at least barely readable without losing the will to live and slipping into a coma.
Oh, it’s Not Recommended. Could you tell?