Sunday, 8 December 2013

John Thorndyke's Cases by R Austin Freeman

John Thorndyke's cases is a collection of eight short stories featuring Dr.Thorndyke published in 1909. John Thorndyke is a scientific and logical man with a keen sense of observation very much like Sherlock Holmes. Like Holmes, he looks at the facts and deduces which may look like huge leaps but they are very logically explained. 

In "THE MAN WITH THE NAILED SHOES", the first story in the collection, Dr. Thorndyke looks at sets of footprints on the shore and observes that nobody had come to that part of the shore for several days, very logically he explains why it is so too. He gives us a glimpse into his observation and deductive skills.  They also chance upon a team of Surgeon, two constables, a sergeant and a corpse. Very soon the police find the killer with the evidence of the footprints, Dr. Thorndyke believes otherwise. Will he save the innocent and find the killer? 

In "THE STRANGER'S LATCHKEY", a small boy goes missing and his cousin is blamed as she is next in line to inheritance. Dr. Thorndyke uses his observation skill and footprints again to find out what happened.

"THE ANTHROPOLOGIST AT LARGE" deals with art robbery, where the robbers take only some recent purchases made by the collector, not his other expensive collection. Dr. Thorndyke finds a hat of the robber, not only finds where the robber works but also his ethnicity from the shape of the hat and hair of the wearer. That is without DNA and all. 

"THE BLUE SEQUIN" a woman is found murdered in the first-class carriage of a train, soon the police trace the murderer. Dr. Thorndyke is again sure that the suspect is not the murderer and traces the murderer, a very very strange murderer. 

In "THE MOABITE CIPHER", Dr. Thorndyke gets to solve a complicated cipher. 

In "THE MANDARIN'S PEARL", a young man visits Dr. Thorndyke about strange mysterious things happening to him, after he bought a real Pearl for pittance. While the man dies before Dr. Thorndyke gets to look into the case. Dr. Thorndyke uses his ingenuity to solve the case. 

"THE ALUMINIUM DAGGER" is a locked-room mystery. A man is found stabbed with an aluminium dagger, all the doors are locked. How was he killed? 

"A MESSAGE FROM THE DEEP SEA” a woman is found murdered, Dr. Thorndyke is one of the first to reach the scene, he gets to look at the evidence and the body and comes to a different conclusion than the police. This story also talks of preserving the scene of crime and importance of the investigator to visit the scene, observe everything and then deduces. Not being at the scene of crime could may make the investigator miss out on important clues. 

Overall, an interesting collection of short stories. I look forward to reading more Dr. Thorndyke's cases. 

The book is can be downloaded as a free book from 

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