First published in 1934, this idiosyncratic work of psychological suspense from British author Rolls (a pseudonym of C.E. Vulliamy) spans the years 1913–1928. John Farringdale, the narrator, retains a likable innocence as he matures from university student to barrister. Playing Holmes to his Watson is Frederick Ellingham, a brilliant polymath at Cambridge University. Through Farringdale’s cousin Eric Foster, he and Ellingham meet eccentric archeologist Tolgen Reisby and his attractive young wife, Hilda. All become friendly, though the growing bond between Eric and Hilda perturbs her husband. While visiting the Reisbys at Scarweather, their remote home on the British coast, Eric disappears, presumed drowned. Ellingham suspects foul play, but WWI intervenes before he can test his theories. Only when Farringdale and Ellingham visit Scarweather again to witness the increasingly volatile Reisby’s excavation of a site called the Devil’s Hump are hidden truths revealed. This entry in the British Library Crime Classics series appeals as much for its evocative glimpse of its period and witty depiction of archeologists’ quirks as for its suspense. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/13/2017 Release date: 04/01/2017 Genre: Fiction
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