Bathurst 23 – Black Edged by Brian Flynn

It was drawing the so-called Curse Of Scotland – the nine of diamonds – that caused Madeleine Traquair’s death at the hands of her husband. Dr Stuart Traquair is soon on the run, with Anthony Bathurst hot on his heels. Traquair is a wily opponent, however, and Bathurst finds his prey seems to always be one step ahead of him.

When another body appears, it seems that Bathurst is in a race against time to catch Traquair, but becomes apparent that things may not be exactly as they seem to be…

I had such a good time “at” the Bodies From The Library event last Saturday, it was so much fun talking about all things Brian Flynn, and there was so much that I didn’t get the chance to say. To make up for it, do take a look at my Top Ten of the twenty books re-released so far to give you a starting point, although to be honest, if you steer clear of The Five Red Fingers or The Case Of The Purple Calf, you should be OK. Anyway, the reason the blog has been quiet recently is that I’ve been reading loads of new-to-me Flynn titles, reviews of which I’m going to drip feed between now and the 6th of September 2021. Why is that? Well, guess what’s coming then?

So, this is the twenty-third Anthony Bathurst book, and is something of a departure for Brian as, on the face of it, it isn’t a mystery. It opens with Dr Traquair shooting his wife dead in a typically odd Flynn scene – he has decided he has to kill her, but cannot bring himself to murder her in cold blood, so instead, they agree to draw cards and the highest card gets to shoot the other one. As you do. But there is no question given that Traquair is the murderer, so instead of a whodunit, we get an inverted mystery with longish sections alternating between Traquair on the run and Bathurst on his trail.

I should say, there is more to this than meets the eye, but the pursuit is entertaining nonetheless. Bathurst uses his wiles and some logic to close the gap on his prey but Traquair is no idiot, prolonging the chase, until the story veers off in a slightly different direction. I’ll be honest, I guessed where it was going, but the one other person that I know who has read it didn’t so I guess it wasn’t that obvious.

At twenty-three books in, Brian was still trying new stuff – there is at least one more inverted mystery to come in Such Bright Disguises – and this is an tight effective thriller with a decent sting in the tale, a tale very much of its time.

Black Edged will be released by Dean Street Press with an introduction by me (if I get round to writing it!) on 6th September 2021 along with the other books from Cold Evil to The Grim Maiden – ten in total. Not long to wait…

4 comments

  1. Is this the first inverted mystery mystery Flynn wrote? Sounds intriguing. Not identical but something similar-ish to the card/shooting element you mention, appears in a Conyth Little book, (I’d need to check my blog to remember which one), but it involves two elderly aunts and at the start of the book they decide to on Russian roulette as a way of deciding who their joint money goes to. Whoever lives gets to pick the inheritor… Thankfully their nephew turns up in time to stop it lol
    I like the Rath cover you found too.

    Like

    • Thanks. It’s definitely the first inverted, but I think there are only two. There are a couple of thrillers later on where it’s pretty clear who the villain is, but they don’t follow the inverted pattern. And that Rath cover is nice – almost makes me forget the awful font in the new version.

      Like

  2. Thanks for your 20 top books list. Just a question, why only 24 h in a day and 7 day in a week etc…will i have ever the time…? i started to late. You must now create a list of the 100 books a gad lover do not need to read.

    Liked by 1 person

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