Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Piccadilly Puzzle by Fergus Hume

On a foggy night in August, Ellersby is back in London after travelling all over the world. On his way home to his lodgings, Ellersby loses his way, asks police for help and walks up the wrong steps and finds a dead woman on the way. Who is the dead woman? And who killed her?

Detective Dowker investigates the case. With the help of the Hat the dead lady was wearing, he tries to trace her. He gets a name and address from the Hat shop. Address of the home of the mistress of Lord Calliston and victim is his mistress maid. Meanwhile in the London Scene, Lady Balscombe is run away with Lord Calliston. Dowker goes ahead in his mission and faces surprises after surprise. The case takes him from one place to another piling up the surprises.

Like the Baker street Irregulars, we have Flip helping Dowker. Dowker quickly finds his suspect and arrests him, but is not really sure if he is the one. So instead of closing the case, he continues his investigation. There are other complications to follow before the case is finally resolved.

I wouldn't say all Dowker's surprises were surprises for me too. But some were real surprises. I didn't guess who the killer was or how the victim was murdered. I love the way suspicion moves from one person to another like a classic mystery and finally the killer is revealed. Fergus Hume plays a nice little trick. Only complaint is Dowker does not solve the case, it kind of solves itself and this is not a fair play mystery. The Piccadilly Puzzle by Fergus Hume published in 1889 is an interesting and entertaining short read.

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