No. 17

No. 17 (Ben the Tramp Mystery) - J. Jefferson Farjeon

Once more the inmates of the room missed something through lacking eyes in the backs of their heads. The passage door slowly and softly opened, and a figure crouched in the aperture. A big, broad-shouldered figure, with one shoulder higher than the other.

‘Now, then, don’t pretend you don’t know anything about these diamonds,’ rasped Brant. ‘The telegram mentioned them—’

‘Oh, what’s the use?’ muttered Henry.

Oh, what's the use indeed. This one was pretty bad, but it was made even worse by knowing that Farjeon was actually a terrific writer as evidenced by his other books Mystery in White and Thirteen Guests.  


This book, however, ... If the convoluted plot about a jewel robbery hadn't been enough to make my eyes roll, then the really insipid conversations between the characters which seemed to consist mostly of catch-phrases and idioms but no clearly articulated trains of thought, would have been enough to make me reach for the wine. 


And of course, we also have the main character, Ben the Tramp, the former merchant seaman, to whom I just couldn't warm up to. There is nothing I could see that makes him out as rounded character - he seems to remain a caricature throughout the book.


This is one 1930s mystery series that I am going to give a miss.