The name of Nicholas Brady is pretty obscure even by the standards of minor Golden Age authors. I'd never heard of him until Nigel Moss tipped me off about his work. Brady's real name was John V. Turner, and he published under that name and also as David Hume, which was his better-known pseudonym. Born in 1900, he died in 1945, so his work is now out of copyright.
There were just five books - the Brady bunch? - and his series detective in the first four books was an engaging amateur sleuth, the sharp-witted and self-confident parson Ebenezer Buckle. Ebenezer is very much in the tradition of the Great Detective, making enigmatic remarks right, left, and centre as he solves the mystery.
I recently read The Fair Murder, known in the US as The Carnival Murder, and it's an extraordinary story. There's a very good review of it by John Norris https://prettysinister.blogspot.com/2012/08/ffb-fair-murder-nicholas-brady.html on his Pretty Sinister blog, and I agree that this book has something i common with the "weird menace pulps" in the 1930s. I've certainly not read a Golden Age book with such a distinctive flavour. But be warned - it's not for the faint-hearted, and there will be plenty of readers who find it quite unpalatable, perhaps all the more so given the traditional murder puzzle storyline.
A woman is stabbed to death at a travelling fair and the circumstances are baffling. How was the crime committed? How is it that the victim, once very attractive, became grotesque? And what was the significance of the recent attempts on her life and her changed financial circumstances? It's a pretty good puzzle, and Ebenezer and the ultra-sceptical local police inspector are engaging characters. I was drawn to the book because one element of the plot is based on an idea that had occurred to me for a story I contemplated writing. But I'd never write anything quite like Brady's novel.
"he published ... as David Hume"
Now what were those books like, I wonder?
Years ago I read an early book by Julian Symons which included a character who wrote lurid crime stories using the pseudonym Henry James. Did Nicholas Brady/David Hume inspire that?
Interesting question, Roger, and many thanks for your comment. I have a distant memory of reading Hume, but without checking I can't recall what it was. But whatever it was, I'm sure it wasn't like this particular book. As for Symons, I'm not sure he would have read Brady and I suspect the idea of using that kind of name is just one of those ideas that comes to people's minds every so often.
The "David Hume" books by Turner mostly feature private eye Mick Cardby and aspire to mimic the style of American hardboiled crime fiction without really succeeding. Some of the Hume books have Tony Carter, a crime reporter, without Cardby in the cast. They are nothing like Hume the philosopher. When I was interested in finding those Hume mysteries I had a devil of a time trying to get the mystery writer David Hume to turn up. I had never even heard of David Hume the philosopher until those searches. And then I could not escape his face or work.
To embed a link, the oval with the line in the middle of it is the "link" button ideogram they have cleverly replaced the old label with. If you "hover" over all those ideograms, a label will pop up that might actually describe the "button"'s function...
For labels, you have to "feel" below the Labels label for a poorly (so poorly it's not) marked field that will allow you to type in your established or new label...it will bring up an established menu but it displays more clumsily than it used to.
The Fair Murder has a conclusion that I will never be able to forget with one of the most deserving murder victims in all of detective fiction. What's at the heart of the story is evil in its purest, undiluted form that makes you root for the killer. For anyone who's curious, Black Heath reissued the entire Ebenezer Buckle series as cheap ebooks and can also recommend Ebenezer Investigates. That one is more like a proper GAD mystery without any gruesome, stomach turning crimes.
Available for only 99p on Amazon Kindle.
So definitely worth examining.
A bit belated...
Given the current taste for making historical characters detectives in novels I'm surprised no-one has used David Hume as the hero of a book. His attitude of extreme scepticism is behind Sherlaock Holmes and all modern detective fiction.
Compare When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth and Hume's attitude to miracles: no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavours to establish.
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