Professor Quarles is the most lovable, the most learned, the most unpoliceman-like detective we have yet met. As a matter of fact he is not a detective at all, but a scholar, specialising in philosophy and keenly interested in the human motives behind every act. Criminal cases interest him only when it is necessary to find this motive. He confesses that he does not make his theory from facts. He finds his theory of motives first and makes the facts fit it. It is an interesting method, and as after all human nature, even if warped and twisted out of humanity by circumstances, is at the back of every crime, the professor is not so far wrong when he insists that philosophy and imagination are good guides for detective work.
how the facts support my theory, but I cannot always produce the actual proof. In many cases I should be a hindrance rather than a help to you."
"It is courteous of you to say so," I returned, wishing to be pleasant.
"It is quite true, not a compliment," said the girl.
"First, the dead man," Quarles went on. "Quite a healthy man was the medical opinion--but his eyes. Did you particularly notice his eyes? You look into the brain through the eyes, see into it with great penetration if you have accustomed yourself to such scrutiny as I have done. Mr. Ratcliffe had not been dead long enough for his eyes to lose that last impression received from the brain. They were still looking at something, as it were, and they still had terror in them. Now he was a traveler, one who must have faced danger scores of times; it would take something very unusual to frighten him."
I acquiesced with a nod.
"We may take it, I think, that such a man would not be terrified by burglars."
Zzzzzzzzzz. Oh, sorry. Must have dozed off. Author takes perfectly good plots and turns them into flat, lifeless stories. Apparently not able to bring the reader along on the adventure, so he settles for a retelling of it.
Lots of little logical puzzles. Nothing too deep. Usual parade of 1914 baddies - foreigners, assertive women and the occasional solicitor.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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