Saturday, March 7, 2020

Unravelled Knots (Teahouse Detective)

Unravelled Knots is the third (and final) collection of Teahouse Detective short stories by Baroness Orczy. Originally published in 1926, this edition is due out 2nd June 2020 from Steerforth on their Pushkin Press imprint. It's 320 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats (other editions available in other formats).

The format is much the same as the other collections. They're presented as intellectual exercises, pas de deux between an eccentric old man and reporter Polly Burton, set as conversations in the ABC Teashop, where the old man in the corner sits for the most part alone. His engagement with the crimes is strictly intellectual, he's not out to hand the criminals over to justice. He reminds me a bit of Poirot, with a touch of Mycroft Holmes and a healthy foreshadowing of Nero Wolfe.

These are cleverly constructed mysteries. Some of them are somewhat transparent by modern tastes, but I really think that's because so many of the literary devices she employed have been copied and reused since then that modern readers are familiar with the twists and turns.

This would make a superlative commute read. The 13 stories are short and could be read during free moments here and there. They're all well written and a lot of fun to read.

Four stars. I'm very happy that Pushkin is preserving and presenting these gems to new generations of readers.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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