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Christopher Quarles: College Professor and Master Detective

Percy James Brebner

Book Overview: 

Christopher Quarles is a professor of philosophy and a private consulting detective. Quarles, along with his granddaughter Zena, assists Police Detective Murray Wigan in solving various crimes and mysteries in Victorian England. Whereas the police look for facts and then form a theory of a case, Quarles first forms a theory, often seemingly absurd and based on little more than intuition, then seeks facts in support of it. Of course, to the astonishment of all concerned, Quarles' theories usually prove to be quite right!

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I thought that our journey to Birmingham was for the purpose of interviewing Parrish's nephew, but it was not. Quarles got a list of the leading secondhand booksellers there.

"A bookworm, Wigan, remains a bookworm to the end of his days. Although nothing has been said about it, I warrant Mr. Parrish bought books and had them sent to Thornfield."

"He might have bought them in London," I said.

[Pg 57]"I think it was Birmingham," said Quarles.

So far he was right. It was the third place we visited. Baines and Son was the firm, and we saw old Mr. Baines. He had constantly sold books to Mr. Parrish, of Thornfield, who had been to his shop several times, but their intercourse was chiefly by correspondence. Good books! Certainly. Mr. Parrish knew what he was doing, and never bought rubbish.

"His purchases might be expected to increase in value?" asked Quarles.

"Yes; but, forgive me, why these questions?"

"Ah! I sup. . . Read More

Community Reviews

A detective takes his most unusual or difficult cases to Professor Quarles who approaches the cases from thinking of theory first and trying to make the evidence fit. The detective does the opposite--evidence first then conclusion. Each of these cases are short and many are developed poorly. I ke...more


Christopher Quarles is a budget Sherlock Holmes. The mysteries are clever but end rather abruptly without as much development as the Doyle stories. Quarles' personality is more crabby and churlish. I enjoyed it enough to download the sequel to it.

Actually these stories (as "chapters") were sometimes a three but mostly a four. They are more in the "pulp" tradition than not. Since I do enjoy a good "pulp" offering, I will no doubt read the next book.