The Triple Bite (1931) by Brian Flynn

“To you and the other, I’m going to give an equal chance of a fortune. A fortune that not another living soul has any inkling of. The one with the best brain will pull it off. Here we go!”

Cecilia Mary Cameron has found it necessary to relate the events that took place around the bungalow in Dallow Corner. Events that began in Moroni’s restaurant, with a man overheard discussing the locale, events which lead to a baffling cryptogram that triggers a treasure hunt, but, more importantly events that lead to a mysterious murder.

When her uncle is struck down under baffling circumstances, Cecilia does what any self-respecting person would do – call for Anthony Bathurst. But it’s not just Bathurst’s wits and ingenuity that will sort things out. It’s the fact that he’s a fan of Sherlock Holmes…

Forgive me for the brevity of this review. Two reasons for it, namely that it’s been a good while since I read this book and I don’t want to replicate the introduction that I wrote. You can read that introduction for yourself when it’s re-released by my friends at Dean Street Press on Monday October 7th.

The Triple Bite was the title that for a while was proving to be a problem to locate, until Brian’s grandson found the family copy of it. Having read and introduced the other nine, there was a feeling of dread when I received a copy of it – what if it was awful? I knew absolutely nothing about the plot and I was genuinely nervous when reading. It was a book that I was responsible for getting republished but it was an unknown quantity. Luckily, it didn’t take long for those worries to abate – it’s another strong title from the author.

The Sherlock Holmes reference is mentioned in a very brief foreword from the author citing Conan Doyle’s tales – well, a line from one of them – as the inspiration for the tale. And no, it’s not the Giant Rat Of Sumatra.

It’s a fun tale with a macabre atmosphere. There’s an entertaining possible-murderer in the gangster “Flame” Lampard, and the choice of a female narrator worked well, to my ear at least. In fact, the cast of suspects is a nicely varied collection, with plenty of suspicion to go around. The murderer is reasonably well hidden – I know two people (including myself) who have read the book and only one of them spotted whodunit (yes, it was me). Oh, and don’t think to hard about what the villain would have had to have done in advance to commit his crimes, because there’s some Bond-villain level planning involved here – fans of ultra-realism in their mystery novels may want to look elsewhere.

Definitely a book that you should take a look at, although, let’s face it, I’m biased. TomCat over at Beneath The Stains Of Time recently described Flynn as “a man who simply wanted to write good and entertaining detective stories”. I think that sums him up rather well…

Oh, one bit of trivia – the cover that DSP have used is in fact from the dustjacket of the later title, The Ring Of Innocent. So, if we get that far, I guess we’ll need a new picture for that one…


  1. Thank you for the review and the mention, Doc! I’m particularly looking forward to The Triple Bite and can’t wait to sink my teeth in it.

    Something a little off-topic, but I’m ahead on my reading/blogging schedule and have already read The Case of the Black Twenty Two. And I wondered if you spotted the Sherlockian reference casually hidden in the private museum of the victim. If you missed it, there’s an item in the museum that figured in one of my favorite Sherlock Holmes stories, “The Musgrave Ritual.”

    Liked by 1 person

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