Published by Oreon,
The Orleander Press, 2022.
ISBN: 978-191547501-5 (PB)
Originally published 1933.
Who Killed Alfred Snowe? is a further issue in the Oreon Golden Age series. Joseph Smith Fletcher (1863-1935) wrote more than 100 detective stories as well as a considerable number of books on a wide variety of subjects. He was also a journalist.
The Alfred Snowe in question is an apparently well-liked and eccentric antiquarian who is murdered in his home by an intruder. Initially robbery does not appear to be the motive, but gradually more possibilities for the incursion are introduced. It is fortunate for Aubrey Snowe, the nephew of Alfred, that Ronald Camberwell (a favoured sleuth in Fletcher’s later novels) of the Chaney and Camberwell Detective Agency is staying in the town of Wrenchester whilst playing cricket and is persuaded to investigate the death.
Camberwell and the local police work together following false trails and confusing inheritances. The marshes close by Wrenchester and the routes across them feature prominently, as do village inns, remote dwellings and a stolen boat. The action spreads out from the town to Brighton, London and France. Hotels, meals, coffee and cigars occur regularly, and it seems that there are no expenses (sic) spared as the detectives travel about. They encounter financial shenanigans, lawyers, locals and rustics as well as some harmless stereotypes (a barmaid, a Spanish woman and tinkers, for example) who would probably struggle to get past the PC police these days – although I have to say that the tinkers come out of it very well! It all leads to a quite bloody conclusion.
Alfred Snowe? may be sober in style but is full of incident. It is a
fairly typical example of the Golden Age genre and will be enjoyed by those
(like me) whose taste includes this period.
Reviewer: David Whittle
Joseph Smith Fletcher (1863-1935) was a British journalist and writer. He wrote about 200 books on a wide variety of subjects, both fiction and non-fiction. He was one of the leading writers of detective fiction in the "Golden Age".
David Whittle is firstly a musician (he is an organist and was Director of Music at Leicester Grammar School for over 30 years) but has always enjoyed crime fiction. This led him to write a biography of the composer Bruce Montgomery who is better known to lovers of crime fiction as Edmund Crispin, about whom he gives talks now and then. He is currently convenor of the Midlands Chapter of the Crime Writers’ Association.