British Library Crime Classics marathon - Part 2

Many thanks go to Poisoned Pen Press for the advanced readers copies of the following books in exchange for an honest review.

Sergeant Cluff Stands Firm by Gil North

I decided to continue my marathon of crime classics with the first of the Sergeant Cluff books by Gil North. The series starts in a reasonably good way. I can't fault the characters or the plot at all. In fact! Cluff has become, quickly, one of those amazingly readable detectives He is irascible and very single-minded when on a case. However, there is just something in the style that I can't quite put my finger on which pushed this book below it's enormous potential.

The plot is quite straightforward. A woman is found dead, apparently by gassing herself in her bedroom, and Caleb Cluff is called in to investigate it. He immediately suspects her husband of killing her, despite no evidence. What follows shows how stubborn Cluff can be when chasing his suspects. Unfortunately, his ways bring danger to his own doorstep.

All in all, a good book.

Star rating: 3.5 from 5
This book will be published on 6th September 2016

The Methods of Sergeant Cluff by Gil North

Following straight on from Sergeant Cluff Stands Firm, we follow our hero in a much more intense crime. The obvious murder of a teenage girl. The main suspect is a young man often seen waiting for her, and everyone in the village believes he is the murderer...except for Cluff. His eyes are on much bigger fish!

I think this story was better than the first as there is so much more tension and drama than the first book in the series. I particularly enjoyed Barker as a counterclaim for Cluff, oozing with enthusiasm. Again, the style misses something, but seems to be better than the first, especially the dramatic scenes.

My main criticism is that these books are too short, but short is sweet, and I would recommend this series to fans of Morse, Sherlock and the like. They are not so much whodunnits as why are where's the evidence.

Star rating: 4 from 5
This book will be published on 6th September 2016