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John Thorndyke's Cases

R. Austin Freeman

Book Overview: 

At the turn of the 20th century, Richard Austin Freeman emerged as an author to be reckoned with in the world of detective fiction, introducing the highly memorable scientific detective Dr. Thorndyke, an early forensic sleuth. Armed with his little green case full of scientific detection aids, Thorndyke unravelled murders and mysteries using logic and material evidence.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ll be seen that the appearances are not such as would be expected. The deceased was five feet nine inches high, but was very thin and light, weighing only nine stone six pounds, as I ascertained by weighing the body, whereas I am five feet eleven and weigh nearly thirteen stone. But yet the footprint of the deceased is nearly twice as deep as mine—that is to say, the lighter man has sunk into the sand nearly twice as deeply as the heavier man."

The magistrates were now deeply attentive. They were no longer simply listening to the despised utterances of a mere scientific expert. The cast lay before them with the two footprints side by side; the evidence appealed to their own senses and was proportionately convincing.

"This is very singular," said the chairman; "but perhaps you can explain the discrepancy?"

"I think I can," replied Thorndyke; "but I should prefer to place all the facts before you first. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Three and a half stars

Having just started re-reading all the Thorndyke stories in chronological order I find that while the short stories are good, they are not as enjoyable as the full length novels. They are rather formulaic which is much more noticeable when reading them one after the other. Stil

1 - The Man with the Nailed Shoes
Dr Jervis is staying at the seaside village of Little Sundersley, when Dr. Thorndyke comes for a visit. A walk along the beach reveal various footprints and later a dead man. Thorndyke acts in the defence of the accused.
2 - The Stranger's Latchkey
Dr Jervis is staying

Look, I wanted to like this book. It does have good mysteries and a lot of heartwarming interactions between Thorndyke, Jervis, and Polton. But also, it has some extremely questionable depictions of Asian people, and an uncomfortable amount of antisemitism.

He is a Jew, and he has that passion for th

The Blue Sequin. 6/10
The Man With the Nailed Shoes. 7/10
The Stranger's Latchkey. 6/10
The Anthropologist at Large. 7/10
The Moabite Cipher. 8/10
The Mandarin's Pearl. 8/10
The Aluminium Dagger. 6/10
A Message From The Deep Sea. 7/10

Overall 7/10

My second Thorndyke book in succession: this one, a collection of stories. I will be staying away from this author for sometime now, as his tales are a set of one-trick ponies which can stale fast.

Doctor Thorndyke is a doctor-cum-lawyer who lectures on medical jurisprudence. He is also a Grade A det

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