My Book Notes: Time to Kill, 1974 (David Mallin #1 ) by Roger Ormerod


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Lume Books, 2014. Book Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 7062 KB. Print Length: 173 pages. ASIN: B00O4FFAG6. ISBN: 9781471352676. First published by Robert Hale Ltd in March 1974.

51jVyl Yk9L.SX316.SY480._SL500_Synopsis: Detective Sergeant Dave Mallin accepted the invitation for a few frames of snooker, although the challenge came from Eldon Kyle, the man who had threatened murder. However, his opponent was more deadly than even Mallin could have guessed, and when murder did occur, Kyle had the perfect alibi—he was playing snooker with Mallin!

My Take: Inspector David Millen couldn’t imagine that he was going to provide Eldon Kyle with the perfect alibi when he agreed to play with him a few frames of snooker. Mallin arrived at the billiard hall on the basement floor of the old Queens Hotel at five to nine. Kyle arrived almost exactly at nine. After half an hour play, Kyle made a mistake, but from that point on, he played fast and accurate billiards and never made a mistake again. Close to eleven, Mallin had to attend a phone call. It was the the night porter to inform him that Mr. Forbes was waiting for him in his suite, room two-oh-three, at eleven. Back at the table, Eldon Kyle had left him an impossible shot, he conceded him the game, and took the lift up to room two-oh-three. The door had a bell with a small card printed that said G. Forbes. He rang but found no reply. He only had to push the door to enter. Inside he found Geoff Forbes over a pool of blood. He had managed to crawl a few feet until rolling onto his back and died of a stomach wound, but there was no weapon. The only thing Mallin touched was the phone to get Central Office.

Geoff Forbes was an ex-copper, so they sent their best. Vantage was the best and he took over the investigation. Mallin didn’t even know Forbes had a suite at Queens Mansions. Jenkins, the night porter,  confirmed he last saw Mr Forbes at around nine-thirty, when he asked him to ring to the billiard room at about ten to eleven and tell Mr Mallin to come up and see him at around eleven. Queen Mansions was only built six months ago, and Mr Forbes had occupied a suite for about two months or a bit over, perhaps. He wasn’t always alone, sometimes a woman accompanied him. By her description, Mallin was sure she was not his wife, Elsa. But she wasn’t with him the night he was killed. The most extraordinary fact of the case was that Geoff Forbes was murdered in the same building where Eldon Kyle, the man who had threatened to kill him, was at that very moment. And Dave Mallin had just given him an alibi.

This has been my first encounter with Roger Ormond and I am sure it won’t be the last. I’m actually reading The Silence of the Night (1974). I came across Roger Ormerod through TomCat and J F Norris reviews at Beneath the Stains of Time and Pretty Sinister Books respectively. In addition, I found that most of Ormerod’s books are easy to find in electronic format and attractively priced. But what definitively encouraged me to read Roger Ormerod, was TomCat’s following comment: “During the 1970s, Roger Ormerod crime-and detective fiction featured two different series-characters, David Mallin and George Coe, who had their respective first appearances in Time to Kill (1974) and A Spoonful of Luger (1975), but Ormerod decided to bring them together in Too Late for the Funeral (1977) – which has them “approaching the same case from entirely different directions.” A crossover that marked the beginning of their partnership. Over the next five years, Mallin and Coe appeared side-to-side in novels like The Weight of Evidence (1978) and More Dead Than Alive (1980).”  (TomCat at Beneath the Stains of Time). Consequently my aim is to start reading the following titles in its chronological order: Time to Kill (1974); The Silence of the Night (1974); A Spoonful of Luger (1975); Too Late for the Funeral (1977); The Weight of Evidence (1978);  More Dead Than Alive (1980); One Deathless Hour (1981). In a nut shell, Roger Ormerod is an author unjustly forgotten who deserves to be better known. Stay tuned.

About the Author: Roger Ormerod (1920 –2005) was a rather prolific British writer of ingenious and densely plotted crime novels which were published in the UK and the US. He lived in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, and amongst other things worked as a civil servant and as a Social Security inspector – backgrounds which he made full use of in his fiction, as he did with his hobbies of painting and photography. He wrote, if my information is correct, at least twelve standalone books; six novels in a series featuring Philipa Lowe and Oliver Simpson; 16 books in a series featuring private detective David Mallin; and 13 in his Richard and Amelia Patton series, for a total of 47 books published between 1974 and 1999, that I have identified.

Lume Books publicity page

On A Defense of the Impossible Alibi Problem and “Doylist” Impossibilities by Isaac Stump

Time to Kill, de Roger Ormerod

Sinopsis: El subinspector de la policía Dave Mallin aceptó la invitación para jugar unas cuantas partidas de snooker, a pesar de que el desafío procedía de Eldon Kyle, el hombre que había amenazado con asesinarlo. Sin embargo, su oponente era más letal de lo que Mallin se podía imaginar, y cuando ocurrió el asesinato, Kyle tenía la coartada perfecta: ¡estaba jugando al billar con Mallin!

Mi opinión: El inspector David Millen no podía imaginarse que le iba a proporcionar a Eldon Kyle la coartada perfecta cuando accedió a jugar con él unas cuantas partidas de snooker. Mallin llegó a la sala de billar del sótano del antiguo hotel Queens a las nueve menos cinco. Kyle llegó casi exactamente a las nueve. Después de media hora de juego, Kyle cometió un error, pero a partir de ese momento, jugó un billar rápido y preciso y nunca volvió a cometer un error. Cerca de las once, Mallin tuvo que atender una llamada telefónica. Era el portero de noche para informarle de que el señor Forbes lo estaba esperando en su suite, habitación dos-cero-tres, a las once. De vuelta a la mesa, Eldon Kyle le había dejado un tiro imposible, le concedió el juego y tomó el ascensor hasta la habitación dos-cero-tres. La puerta tenía un timbre con una pequeña tarjeta impresa que decía G. Forbes. Llamó pero no encontró respuesta. Solo tuvo que empujar la puerta para entrar. Dentro encontró a Geoff Forbes sobre un charco de sangre. Había logrado gatear unos metros hasta que rodó sobre su espalda y murió de una herida en el estómago, pero no había ningún arma. Lo único que tocó Mallin fue el teléfono para llamar a la Oficina Central.

Geoff Forbes era un antiguo policía, por lo que enviaron al mejor. Vantage era el mejor y se hizo cargo de la investigación. Mallin ni siquiera sabía que Forbes tenía una suite en Queens Mansions. Jenkins, el portero de noche, confirmó que vio por última vez al señor Forbes alrededor de las nueve y media, cuando le pidió que llamara a la sala de billar alrededor de las once menos diez y le dijera al señor Mallin que subiera a verlo alrededor de las once. Queen Mansions se construyó hace solo seis meses, y el Sr. Forbes había ocupado una suite durante unos dos meses o un poco más, tal vez. No siempre iba solo, a veces lo acompañaba una mujer. Según su descripción, Mallin estaba seguro de que ella no era su esposa, Elsa. Pero ella no estaba con él la noche en que lo mataron. El hecho más extraordinario del caso fue que Geoff Forbes fue asesinado en el mismo edificio donde se encontraba en ese mismo momento Eldon Kyle, el hombre que había amenazado con matarlo. Y Dave Mallin acababa de darle una coartada.

Este ha sido mi primer encuentro con Roger Ormond y estoy seguro de que no será el último. De hecho, estoy leyendo The Silence of the Night (1974). Conocí a Roger Ormerod a través de las reseñas de TomCat y J F Norris en Beneath the Stains of Time y Pretty Sinister Books, respectivamente. Además, descubrí que la mayoría de los libros de Ormerod son fáciles de encontrar en formato electrónico y tienen un precio atractivo. Pero lo que definitivamente me animó a leer a Roger Ormerod fue el siguiente comentario de TomCat: “Durante la década de 1970, las novelas policíacas y de detectives de Roger Ormerod, estaban protagonizadas por dos personajes diferentes, David Mallin y George Coe, que tuvieron sus respectivas primeras apariciones en Time to Kill (1974) y A Spoonful of Luger (1975), pero Ormerod decidió reunirlos en Too Late for the Funeral (1977), y les hace “abordar el mismo caso de froma totalmente diferente”. Un cruce que marcó el comienzo de su asociación. Durante los siguientes cinco años, Mallin y Coe aparecieron uno al lado del otro en novelas como The Weight of Evidence (1978) and More Dead Than Alive (1980).”  (TomCat at Beneath the Stains of Time). En consecuencia, mi propósito es comenzar a leer los siguientes títulos por orden cronológico: Time to Kill (1974); The Silence of the Night (1974);  A Spoonful of Luger (1975); Too Late for the Funeral (1977); The Weight of Evidence (1978);  More Dead Than Alive (1980); One Deathless Hour (1981). En pocas palabras, Roger Ormerod es un autor injustamente olvidado que merece ser más conocido. Manténganse al tanto.

Sobre el autor: Roger Ormerod (1920-2005) fue un escritor británico bastante prolífico de novelas policiacas ingeniosas y repletas de intrigas que se publicaron en el Reino Unido y en los Estados Unidos. Vivió en Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, y entre otras cosas trabajó como funcionario y como inspector de la Seguridad Social, antecedentes que aprovechó al máximo en sus novelas, al igual que lo hizo con sus pasatiempos la pintura y la fotografía. Escribió, si mi información es correcta, al menos doce libros independientes; seis novelas en una serie con Philipa Lowe y Oliver Simpson; 16 libros en una serie con el detective privado David Mallin; y 13 en su serie de Richard y Amelia Patton, para un total de 47 libros publicados entre 1974 y 1999, que yo haya identificado.

5 thoughts on “My Book Notes: Time to Kill, 1974 (David Mallin #1 ) by Roger Ormerod”

  1. Just how Roger Ormerod managed to fly under everyone’s radar is a complete and utter mystery, because he was the undisputed master when it came to blending the traditional detective story with the contemporary crime novel. Such as his gritty, but beautifully plotted, The Key to the Case. A Shot at Nothing and And Hope to Die come across as genuine Golden Age mysteries that were transported to the nineties. I’ve no idea how well his earlier novels measure up to his later work, but glad you have joined our excavation crew. Ormerod deserves to be rediscovered.

    1. Roger Ormerod came into my radar, thanks to your reviews, TomCat. And it was your comment on the blend of traditional detective story and contemporary crime fiction what caught my attention.

  2. Forgive me, I know this post is five months old, but I had to say I’m just pleased you enjoyed this debut as much as I did. Like I mentioned on my review of a later Mallin, TIME TO KILL features my absolute personal favorite solution to the “impossible alibi” (fighting words) problem. They tend to rely on obvious timeline manipulation, so the novelty of TIME TO KILL really struck me when I first read it. It might make me seem pedestrian, but I’d probably name TIME TO KILL as one of the top five novels to influence my taste in detective stories. Can’t wait to see more Ormerod from you! Cheers.

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