Since 1918, most of the unsolved murders in the UK have been committed on a Monday. And when T P Luffman, a disreputable schoolmaster, is murdered on a Monday, a correspondence begins with the Evening Blazon. Ferdinand Pole, the leader of the Detection Club Murder League, is the creator of the theory of the Monday Murders and it seems that there is something to it. And when a second murder occurs, also on a Monday, it seems there is a serial killer at work. Especially when they start writing letters to the Blazon taking credit for the crimes.
Ludovic Travers becomes convinced that Pole is hiding something – is the man who has an answer for every question actually the murderer? Or is he hiding some other secret? Travers is convinced of his guilt, but when something turns the case upside down, he finds himself with one of the trickiest cases he has ever encountered.
This is an interesting book from Bush, recently re-released by Dean St Press, made much more interesting by Curtis Evans’ introduction drawing parallels with the Detection Club and, in particular, Anthony Berkeley. There’s quite a lot here that to me feels like it was written for his fellow crime writers. Whether it was to impress them or to annoy them is up for debate – this was released in the year before Bush joined the Detection Club – but while Bush is being clever with the real-world parallels, this isn’t his strongest piece of detection.
The plot has trouble focussing at times, with the tale having an episodic feel with each murder, and the suspects being few and far between. Bush’s attempts to misdirect the reader away from the killer didn’t work for me, but there is some interesting stuff with Travers’ decisions as the story progresses.
So, as a pure mystery novel, this isn’t the best work from Bush, but for students of crime fiction history, who ranks have certainly swelled recently thanks to Martin Edwards, there is a lot of fascinating stuff going on here. Well Worth A Look.