April 2nd, 2017


The Z Murders

Book Review: The Z Murders, by J Jefferson Farjeon
I picked this up from the station book-swap shelf several months ago. In the wake of the terrorist attack in Westminster, some comfort reading seemed to be in order, so what better than golden-age crime fiction? Hmm.

Richard Temperley, who arrives in the early morning at Euston station having travelled with the person who turns out to be the first victim and who undertakes his own, determinedly independent investigation, is reminiscent of his namesake Hannay. The book doesn't tell you very much about any of the characters: his occupation is unspecified, and his motivation is provided by his belief in the innocence of the young woman whom he passes in a corridor moments before discovering the body. From beginning to end, the story extends over about 36 hours, and consequently, for all but the most avid readers, it takes longer to read it than the action it depicts. It's definitely a period piece, with the motor car and the aeroplane as the heights of technology. The policemen aren't stupid, and Temperley dodges them as much for sport as anything else. The underlying plot turns out to be a little bland, but is in keeping with my imagining this more in the medium of a black-and-white film from the time.