As a doctor, "Reggie" is a delightful fellow. As an efficient assistant to Scotland Yard he is deadly. The thrills along one's spine when "Reggie" flicks into the beyond a quite superfluous criminal are the evidence that these are among the best of detective stories.
"Is she really?" Sir Lawson laughed. "Is she, though? How surprising!''
"She is surprising, sir."
"What? What? Be careful, my boy. Handsome creature, isn't she?"
"Yes, sir." Reggie declined to be amused. "The Archduke Leopold is staying with them."
"Leopold. He's the dandy entomologist. He's tame enough. Well, he's the head of the house after this fellow. Better tell him." He blinked at Reggie. "You have nurses you can trust? Well, we'll stay in the room till one comes, my boy. Our friend of the hatpin won't miss a chance. These Royal families they're a criss-cross of criminal tendencies. Hohenzollerns, Hapsburgs, Pragas, Wittelsbachs - look at the heredity."
"There was another running-down case here tonight. The man was killed - fractured skull. He was left on the road too. And another queer thing - he was much the same build as the Archduke Maurice."
"Good Gad!" Sir Lawson was startled out of his omniscient manner, an event unknown in Reggie's exper
As insouciant as Lord Peter Wimsey, to whom he appears to be a precursor, Reggie Fortune is a London doctor and crime solver. These stories start with his first case as a G.P. Later, he becomes a surgeon (hence "Mr." in English usage) and a regular consultant to Scotland Yard.
Fortune's medical knowledge plays a role in his deductions, but don't look for extensive forensic pathology a la Patricia Cornwall. If you enjoy Sayers-style English drawing room mysteries, Fortune will be up your alley.
It's a pity H.C. Bailey's works are out of print and so few available online.
These short stories featuring Reggie Fortune are diverting and amusing enough that one wishes more were available here. Fortune is more than a bit of a wag, but the puzzles are good and the solutions reasonable.
Interesting as an attempt at a new type of detectiving person but mostly pulpily written. Nevertheless not a bad read.
This is a wonderful period piece and does a good job of introducing one of the most under-rated 'golden age' characters still read by aficionados of detective fiction. The sparse dialogue, poetic description, and blunt, yet understated, depiction of tense situations became hallmarks of Bailey's Fortune & Clunk stories. The effort put into reading these and subsequent stories can be greatly rewarding to the open-minded reader. It is unfortunate that HC Bailey's mystery fiction is not more widely available; few volumes are posted on-line and most of the titles are out of print.
This is poorly written, badly plotted, and filled with stereotypes.