My Book Notes: One By One They Disappeared, 1929 (Inspector Hugh Collier #1) by Moray Dalton

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Dean Street Press, 2019. Book Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 1986 KB. Print Length: 196 pages. ASIN: B07MVPG5R2 ISBN: 978-1-912574-88-9. One by One They Disappeared was originally published in 1929. This new edition features an introduction by crime fiction historian Curtis Evans.

413TxZmI2kL._SY346_US Blurb: ‘Nine men drifted in an open boat for three days after the Coptic went down, eight quite ordinary men and a quixotic, wealthy old American who would have died but for the kindness of others. In his gratitude he arranged an annual dinner to celebrate the anniversary of their rescue, and further announced that his entire fortune was to be divided among these eight men. But when a year had passed only two of the dinner guests turn up. One by one the survivors of the Coptic were meeting death by what appeared to be unconnected and perfectly natural accidents. But it was murder, cold and sure as science, baffling and terrifying. The originality of the situation, the mysterious yet perfectly plausible accidents, and the suspense as to who will be the next victim, make this a story of unparalleled thrills.”

Curtis Evans has written regarding Moray Dalton: “Only now coming back into print, Moray Dalton (really Katherine Mary Dalton Renoir) resembles the Crime Queens in many ways, having a decided knack for narrative and characterization. Yet for me she is a bit less “posh” (there’s that word again) of a writer than Sayers, Allingham and Marsh and explores sexual and class dynamics in Thirties and Forties Britain in more original ways.  See, for example, Death in the Cup and The Strange Case of Harriet Hall, which have some truly striking and refreshing situations. I think that Dalton, who seems to have lived life as something of a privileged outsider, may have been more of a forerunner of the modern crime novel than these other, more famous women, estimable as they are.  Her primary sleuth, Hugh Collier, is an appealing young police detective, but modern filmmakers I’m sure could find some grim and terrible qualities to impose on him.  So get cracking, you people!  Five titles by her are coming out in just a few days. (The Passing Tramp)

My Take: This is the first book by Moray Dalton featuring Inspector Hugh Collier of Scotland Yard. The story revolves around an American millionaire who was on a ship that was torpedoed in the mid-Atlantic during what was later known as World War I. He spent three days on an open boat with eight other fellow passengers before they were picked up. He was much older and was in poor health conditions, however they did what they could and saved his life. After the armistice, in gratitude, he invites them to an annual dinner at the Malaya Hotel in the Strand. Last year he told them that, since his only heir had died, he was leaving them most of his fortune equally distributed between them, upon his death. This year only two showed up, and one of them dies accidentally shortly thereafter. Inspector Collier becomes interested in the case and attends the inquest. From inquiries he has made since, he finds that two others have died in circumstances that demands an investigation.

I must admit that One by One They Disappeared has disappointed me quite a bit, and I agree with Nick Fuller, who considers it quite weak as a whodunit. In any case, I won’t throw in the towel with Moray Dalton and I hope that some of her books will be more to my liking, such as: The Body in the Road, The Night of Fear, Death in the Cup, The Strange Case of Harriet Hall, The Art School Murders and The Condamine Case.

One by One They Disappeared has been reviewed, among others, at Mysteries Ahoy! The Grandest Game in the World.

987 (Source: Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC. Harper & Brothers (USA) 1929)

About the Author: Katherine Dalton Renoir (‘Moray Dalton’) was born in Hammersmith, London in 1881, the only child of a Canadian father and English mother. The author wrote two well-received early novels, Olive in Italy (1909), and The Sword of Love (1920). However, her career in crime fiction did not begin until 1924, after which she  published twenty-nine mysteries, the last in 1951. She took a major step forward in her literary career in 1929 and 1930, with the publication of One by One They Disappeared and The Body on the Road. These novels were the respective debuts of Dalton’s two main protagonists, Scotland Yard inspector Hugh Collier –a series of 15 books released between 1929 and 1951– and private inquiry agent Hermann Glide. Moray Dalton married Louis Jean Renoir in 1921, and the couple had a son a year later. The author lived on the south coast of England for the majority of her life following the marriage. She died in Worthing, West Sussex, in 1963.

To date Dean Street Press has published the following titles by Moray Dalton: One By One They Disappeared (Hugh Collier #1, 1929); The Body in the Road (1930); The Night of Fear (Hugh Collier #2, 1931); Death in the Cup (1932); The Belfry Murder (Hugh Collier #3, 1933); The Belgrave Manor Crime (Hugh Collier #5, 1935); The Strange Case of Harriet Hall (Hugh Collier #7, 1936); The Case of Alan Copeland (1937); The Art School Murders (Hugh Collier #10, 1943); and The Condamine Case (Hugh Collier #12, 1947).

Dean Street Press publicity page

Moray Dalton Bibliography at Golden Age of Detection Wiki

The Mysteries of Moray Dalton (Katherine Mary Deville Dalton Renoir, 1881-1963)

One By One They Disappeared, de Moray Dalton

Propaganda editorial de la edición norteamericana: “Tras el naufragio del Coptic, nueve hombres se encuentran durante tres días a la deriva en un bote abierto, ocho hombres relativamente corrientes y un viejo estadounidense quijotesco y rico que habría muerto de no ser por la bondad de los demás. En agradecimiento, organiza una cena anual para celebrar el aniversario de su rescate, y anuncia además que toda su fortuna se dividirá entre estos ocho hombres. Pero cuando ha pasado un año, solo dos de los invitados se presentan a la cena. Uno a uno, los supervivientes del Coptic se irán encontrando con la muerte en lo que parecerán accidentes sin relación alguna y perfectamente naturales. Pero son asesinatos, frios y seguros como la ciencia, desconcertantes y aterradores. La originalidad de la situación, los misteriosos aunque perfectamente plausibles accidentes y el suspense sobre quién será la próxima víctima, hacen de esta una historia de emociones sin precedentes.”

Curtis Evans ha escrito sobre Moray Dalton: “Recientemente, regresa a la imprenta, Moray Dalton (en realidad Katherine Mary Dalton Renoir) se parece a las reinas del crimen en muchos aspectos, con una claro talento para el relato y la caracterización. Sin embargo, para mí, es algo menos “sofisticada” (de nuevo esa palabra) como escritora que Sayers, Allingham y Marsh y explora la dinámica sexual y de clase en la Gran Bretaña de los años treinta y cuarenta de manera más original. Vease, por ejemplo, Death in the Cup y The Strange Case of Harriet Hall, que tienen algunas situaciones realmente sorprendentes y estimulantes. Creo que Dalton, que parece haber vivido la vida como una especie de privilegiada “outsider”, puede haber sido más una precursora de la novela policíaca moderna que como son estas otras, mujeres más famosas y estimables. Su detective principal, Hugh Collier, es un joven detective de policía atractivo, pero estoy seguro de que los cineastas modernos encontrarán algunas cualidades sombrías y terribles que imponerle. ¡Así que pongan manos a la obra, gente! Cinco de sus títulos saldrán a la venta dentro de unos días.” (The Passing Tramp)

Mi opinión: Este es el primer libro de Moray Dalton con el inspector Hugh Collier de Scotland Yard. La historia gira en torno a un millonario estadounidense que estaba en un barco que fue torpedeado en el Atlántico medio durante lo que más tarde se conoció como la Primera Guerra Mundial. Pasó tres días en un bote abierto con otros ocho pasajeros antes de que los recogieran. Era mucho mayor y se encontraba en malas condiciones de salud, sin embargo hicieron lo que pudieron y le salvaron la vida. Después del armisticio, en agradecimiento, los invita a una cena anual en el hotel Malaya en el Strand. El año pasado les dijo que, dado que su único heredero había muerto, les dejaría la mayor parte de su fortuna distribuida equitativamente entre ellos, a su muerte. Este año solo aparecieron dos, y uno de ellos muere accidentalmente poco después. El inspector Collier se interesa por el caso y asiste a la investigación judicial. A partir de las averiguaciones que ha realizado desde entonces, descubre que otros dos han muerto en circunstancias que exigen una investigación.

Debo admitir que One by One They Disappeared me ha decepcionado bastante, y estoy de acuerdo con Nick Fuller, quien lo considera bastante débil como “whodunnit”. En cualquier caso, no tiraré la toalla con Moray Dalton y espero que algunos de sus libros sean más de mi agrado, como: The Body in the Road, The Night of Fear, Death in the Cup, The Strange Case of Harriet Hall, The Art School Murders y The Condamine Case.

Acerca del autor: Katherine Dalton Renoir (‘Moray Dalton’) nació en Hammersmith, Londres en 1881, hija única de padre canadiense y madre inglesa. Escribió dos primeras novelas con gran aceptación, Olive in Italy (1909) y The Sword of Love (1920). Sin embargo, su carrera en la literatura policíaca no comenzó hasta 1924, tras la que publicó veintinueve misterios, el último en 1951. Su carrera literaria dio un paso muy importante en 1929 y 1930, con la publicación de One by One They Disappeared y The Body on the Road. Estas novelas fueron los respectivos debuts de los dos principales protagonistas de Dalton, el inspector de Scotland Yard Hugh Collier –una serie de 15 libros publicados entre 1929 y 1951– y el agente de investigación privado Hermann Glide. Moray Dalton se casó con Louis Jean Renoir en 1921 y la pareja tuvo un hijo un año después. La autora vivió en la costa sur de Inglaterra durante la mayor parte de su vida después del matrimonio. Murió en Worthing, West Sussex, en 1963.

Hasta la fecha, Dean Street Press ha publicado los siguientes títulos de Moray Dalton: One By One They Disappeared (Hugh Collier #1, 1929); The Body in the Road (1930); The Night of Fear (Hugh Collier #2, 1931); Death in the Cup (1932); The Belfry Murder (Hugh Collier #3, 1933); The Belgrave Manor Crime (Hugh Collier #5, 1935); The Strange Case of Harriet Hall (Hugh Collier #7, 1936); The Case of Alan Copeland (1937); The Art School Murders (Hugh Collier #10, 1943); and The Condamine Case (Hugh Collier #12, 1947).

Hasta donde yo se solo Los crímenes de Longbridge [The Longbridge Murders (Hugh Collier #11, 1945)] está traducido al español.