Friday, 9 September 2011

Forgotten Book - Blueprint for Murder

My choice for today's Forgotten Book is another entry in the impressive new series of classic crime novels published by Arcturus. This one is called Blueprint for Murder, and the author is Roger Bax. If the name of Roger Bax is unfamiliar to you, you might be familiar with the work of Andrew Garve. Both were among the pseudonyms used by the journalist and prolific author Paul Winterton, but it is as Garve that he carved out a considerable reputation.

I had never previously read any of the books he wrote as Roger Bax, but even if I had not known the identity of the author before reading the book, I might have guessed it because of the focus on small boat sailing – clearly this was one of Winterton's great passions.

The book changes character in its last quarter. It starts out as an "inverted" crime novel, tracing how a man made ruthless by his wartime experiences sets out to kill a wealthy benefactor, contriving an ingenious alibi so as to escape justice. But his plan has some rather obvious flaws, and after it falls apart, but the book is in the form of an adventure thriller as he tries to flee across the Channel.

The book is set in the immediate post-war period, and the horrors of the concentration camp that so corrupted the villain are conveyed tersely but well. This is a readable and entertaining story, and although the outcome is only foreseeable, I enjoyed it from start to finish. Had it not been reissued, I'm sure I would never come across it, and Arcturus are to be congratulated for publishing a novel that, although hardly well-known, deserves a new lease of life as a lively period piece.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Wonder why he chose to use a pseudonym? Interesting.

I love the way these forgotten books are being reissued! Nice to give them a second life.

Martin Edwards said...

Elizabeth, I think he wanted to keep his serious journalism separate from his thrillers. A good and perhaps under-rated writer.
I so agree about second lives. Ebooks are starting to do the same.