The Methods of Sergeant Cluff
by Gil North
Paperback: 158 pages
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Released: Sept. 6, 2016
Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
It is a wet and windy night in the town of Gunnarshaw, on the edge of the Yorkshire moors. The body of young Jane Trundle, assistant in the chemist s shop, is discovered lying face down on the cobblestones. Her purse is full of money.
Sergeant Caleb Cluff is not a man of many words, nor does he play by the rules. He may exasperate his superiors, but he's the only CID man in the division. The case is his. As Cluff investigates, he refuses to except the obvious suspect and sets his sights on a respected member of the town.
The Methods of Sergeant Cluff is a detective novel that was originally published in the early 1960s and is set in England. The writing tended to be vague and dreamy. Characters would have whole conversations using "he" or "she" without defining who they meant. They also found themselves in the middle of action without being conscious of starting it. A lot of time was spent describing the moody setting.
There were enough clues that you can guess whodunit, but the story wasn't about finding evidence. Cluff doesn't like to talk and did as little interviewing as possible. When he had to visit suspects, he'd moodily survey and pass judgment on the occupants. (And if there was something wrong in a relationship, he blamed the woman. One woman's main faults seemed to be that she kept a neat house and didn't worship her husband as god.)
Cluff decided on a suspect despite a lack of evidence. He didn't bother to get evidence. Instead, he stalked the suspect until he went crazy and another death occurred. I didn't like that Cluff "solved" the case by both provoking and allowing another murder. There were no sex scenes. There was one use of swearing.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
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