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Monday, 5 August 2019

The Problemist - Clinton H Stagg

This is the complete canon of Clinton H Stagg's  adventures of Thornley Colton, Blind Detective.
The short stories were first published in 1915 the book Silver Sandals in 1916. Sadly  Clinton H Stagg was only 26 years old when he died in a car accident in Los Angeles in 1916.
These stories are very interesting, it seems clear that Clinton knew of a man blind from birth as many of his descriptions, of his blindness ring true. His amazing sensitivity in his fingers I find I am a little  sceptical of. I am not sure if even experiences Braillers could read ordinary print in letters on the reverse, or the headlines in newspapers. Perhaps the old fashioned newspaper printers did indent the paper enough? His counting of his steps is very accurate and his acute sense of hearing. I loved his use of the pulse his 'keyboard of silence' that helped him determine the truth behind potential suspects stories. The way he solves the crimes is of course mainly by using his intelligence and deduction and most of the crimes are more of the problem solving kind. That is why he calls himself a problemist not a detective. I enjoyed them all but they are not the sort of stories that allow you the reader to solve them. Our job is to marvel and savour the cleverness of our hero. I appreciated the skill of the author just as much. He was a loss dying as he did so early with so much potential.
Incidentally the Braille on the cover spells out MURDER!

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