Category: J. J. Connington

JJ Connington (1880 – 1947)

40430_1Alfred Walter Stewart (5 September 1880 – 1 July 1947) was a British chemist and part-time novelist who wrote seventeen detective novels and a pioneering science fiction work between 1923 and 1947 under the pseudonym of JJ Connington. He created several fictional detectives, including Superintendent Ross and Chief Constable Sir Clinton Driffield.

Born in Glasgow in 1880, Stewart was the youngest of three sons of the Reverend Dr Stewart, Clerk to the University Senate and Professor of Divinity. After attending Glasgow High School he entered Glasgow University, graduating 1902, taking chemistry as his major. His outstanding performance earned him the Mackay-Smith scholarship. After spending a year in Marburg engaging in research under Theodor Zincke, he was elected to an 1851 Exhibition Scholarship and then in 1903 entered University College, London. Here he began independent research. His work, which formed part of his thesis, gained him a DSc degree from Glasgow University in 1907 and he was soon elected to a Carnegie Research Fellowship (1905–1908). He decided to pursue an academic career and in 1908 wrote Recent Advances in Organic Chemistry which proved to be a popular textbook whose success encouraged him to write a companion volume on Inorganic and Physical Chemistry in 1909. In 1909 Stewart was appointed to a lectureship in organic chemistry at Queen’s University, Belfast and in 1914 was appointed Lecturer in Physical Chemistry and Radioactivity at the University of Glasgow. During World War I he worked for the Admiralty. In 1918 he drew attention to the result of a beta particle change in a radioactive element and suggested the term isobar as complementary to isotope. He retired from his academic work in 1944 following recurrent heart problems.

Stewart is now chiefly remembered for his first novel, Nordenholt’s Million (1923), an early ecocatastrophe disaster novel in which denitrifying bacteria inimical to plant growth run amok and destroy world agriculture. The eponymous plutocrat Nordenholt constructs a refuge for the chosen few in Scotland, fortifying the Clyde valley. The novel is similar in spirit to such disaster stories as Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer’s When Worlds Collide (1933) and anticipates the theme of John Christopher’s The Death of Grass (1956). Dorothy L. Sayers paid tribute to Stewart’s The Two Tickets Puzzle in her The Five Red Herrings. She gave him full credit and built on one of his ideas for part of the solution of her mystery. John Dickson Carr was also an admirer of Stewart’s and Carr’s first novel in 1930 mentioned two of Stewart’s earlier novels with admiration. (Source: Wikipedia)


Bibliography
: The complete list of Sir Clinton Driffield Mystery series is:  Murder in the Maze (1927); Tragedy At Ravensthorpe (1927); The Case With The Nine Solutions (1928); Mystery At Lynden Sands (1928); Grim Vengeance (1929) aka Nemesis At Raynham Parva; The Boat-house Riddle (1931); The Sweepstake Murders (1931); The Castleford Conundrum, (1932); The Brandon Case (1934) aka The Ha-ha Case; In Whose Dim Shadow (1935) aka The Tau Cross Mystery; A Minor Operation (1937);  For Murder Will Speak (1938) aka Murder Will Speak; Truth Comes Limping (1938); The Twenty-one Clues (1941); No Past Is Dead (1942); Jack-in-the-box (1944) and Common Sense Is All You Need (1947). The most recommended ones are shown in bold.

The Detective Fiction of JJ Connington: “Mr. Connington has established his name in the front rank of detective story writers. His particular strength lies in his respect for his readers’ intelligence, and his stories are essentially puzzles with honestly worked out solutions. He does not make it as difficult as he can for the reader to detect the murderer very early on, and does not load his stage with dummies, for he has realised that a story is just as good reading when the reader feels he is no befogged Watson but worthy to join in the hunt, and that establishing the evidence against a criminal may be as exciting as finding out who he is.” – Times Literary Supplement, 8th November 1928. (Source: Gadetection)

See  also: Alfred Walter Stewart, alias J. J. Connington and J. J. Connington is in The Murder Room at The Passing Tramp.

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(Facsimile Dust Jacket, Ernest Benn Limited (UK), 1927)

In Clinton Driffield’s second case he must tangle with a plethora of crimes including robbery, murder and a disappearance – not to mention a Family Curse, and a less than sympathetic victim …

My Book Notes: Murder in the Maze, 1927 (Sir Clinton Driffield Mystery book #1) by J. J. Connington

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The Orion Publishing Group Ltd., 2012. Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 704KB. Print Length: 240 pages. ASIN: B00AES04VS. ISBN: 978-1-4719-0592-6. With an introduction by Curtis Evans, 2013.

51izxtjZRWLBook Description: When twin brothers Roger and Neville Shandon are murdered by poisoned darts in Whistlefield’s famous hedge maze, Sir Clinton Driffield arrives to restore order. He finds two terrified witnesses – visitors to the estate – and clues aplenty in this brilliantly conceived and meticulously realized country-house mystery.

From the Introduction by Curt Evans: “After both Roger and Neville Shandon are felled in Whistlefield’s famous hedge maze by curare-tipped darts, Sir Clinton [Driffield] arrives to restore order at this fractious country estate. Sir Clinton’s performance as a criminal investigator is dazzlingly acute and the novel boasts several bravura scenes, all centering on the sinister hedge maze of death. Surely Murder in the Maze is one of the very finest country house mysteries produced by a British detective novelist in the 1920s. . . . No less a literary figure than T. S. Eliot praised Murder in the Maze in The Criterion for its plot construction . . . and its narrative liveliness . . . deeming it ‘a really first-rate detective story.’ . . . [I]n his 1946 critical essay, ‘The Grandest Game in the World,’ the great locked room detective author John Dickson Carr echoed Eliot’s assessment of the novel’s virtuoso setting, writing: ‘These 1920s . . . thronged with sheer brains. What would be one of the best possible settings for violent death? J. J. Connington found the answer, with Murder in the Maze.'”

My Take: Murder in the Maze is J. J. Connington’s third novel, the first one featuring Sir Clinton Driffield, Chief Constable of a fictitious county, who will appear again in some other sixteen novels published between 1927 and 1947. The story has all the main ingredients of a typical Golden Age mystery: the setting, a country house; a seemingly inexplicable crime; a moderately limited number of suspects; and a main detective with a loyal sidekick, that serves him as counterpoint during the investigation.

The story takes place in Whistlefield, a country estate famous for its complex double-maze – a hedge maze with two centres, the property of Roger Shandon, an adventurer who amassed a vast fortune during his youth in South Africa and South America. When the story begins Neville Shandon, a famous barrister and Roger’s twin brother, is spending a weekend at Whistlefield, while preparing himself for an important case that awaits him next week. Other family members present during the story are Ernest, the Shandons’ younger brother who lives thanks to the material support of his older siblings; Sylvia and Arthur Hawkhurst, the Shandons’ nephews; Vera Forrest and Howard Torrence, Sylvia’s friends; Mr Stennes, Roger Shandon’s efficient secretary; Dr Ardsley, a medical neighbour expert in toxicology; and someone called Costock, who was prowling in the vicinity. The discovery of the corpses of the two brothers by the two guests Vera Forrest and Howard Torrence, will trigger the investigation.

The discovery of the two corpses is superbly well written, recreating the atmosphere of panic and claustrophobia that can be experienced if one gets trapped in a maze. The dialogues are witty and there are, in abundance, touches of humour, false leads and different motives for having committed the two crimes. Perhaps nowadays the answer to who done it (whodunnit) may seem to us all too apparent, but in any case, I found the resolution to the case quite interesting, original and even brilliant in view of the epoch in which it was written. I do believe we should not judge this story under today’s perspective to fully appreciate its significance when it was first published, and it can help us to realise how times have change.  

That said, Murder in the Maze is the second book by J. J. Connington I’ve read. You can find my notes on The Castleford Conundrum, 1932 (Sir Clinton Driffield Mystery #8) here. If my information is correct he wrote seventeen Sir Clinton Driffield Mysteries in total. I look forward to reading the following books in the series: Mystery at Lynden Sands, 1928 (Sir Clinton Driffield Mystery #3); The Case with Nine Solutions , 1928 (Sir Clinton Driffield Mystery #4); The Sweepstake Murders, 1931 (Sir Clinton Driffield Mystery #7); In Whose Dim Shadow, 1935 (Sir Clinton Driffield Mystery #10, published in the US as The Tau Cross Mystery); No Past is Dead, 1942 (Sir Clinton Driffield Mystery #15); and Jack-in-the-Box, 1944 (Sir Clinton Driffield Mystery #16). Stay tuned.

My Rating: A (I loved it).

About the Author: Alfred Walter Stewart (1880 – 1947), who wrote under the pen name J. J. Connington, was born in Glasgow, the youngest of three sons of Reverend Dr Stewart. He graduated from Glasgow University and pursued an academic career as a chemistry professor, working for the Admiralty during the First World War. Known for his ingenious and carefully worked-out puzzles and in-depth character development, he was admired by a host of his better-known contemporaries, including Dorothy L. Sayers and John Dickson Carr, who both paid tribute to his influence on their work. He married Jessie Lily Courts in 1916 and they had one daughter.

Murder in the Maze has been reviewed, among others, at My Reader’s Block, Mysteries Ahoy! Classic Mysteries, In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’, Countdown John’s Christie Journal, gadetection, At the Scene of the Crime, Beneath the Stains of Time, Vintage Pop Fiction.

Alfred Walter Stewart, alias J. J. Connington at The Passing Tramp.

The Orion Group publicity page

J. J. Connington, at The Orion Books

Thriftbooks publicity page

Gadetection

The Passing Tramp

Asesinato en el laberinto de J. J. Connington

Sinopsis: La finca de Whistlefield es famosa no solo por su belleza, sino también por el laberinto vegetal que diseñaron sus primeros propietarios. El recorrido, delimitado por altos setos que se entrecruzan en caminos sin salida o que regresan al punto de partida, conduce a dos centros distintos en los que un cómodo banco recompensa a quienes logran alcanzar la meta. Y es allí donde, en una calurosa tarde de verano, aparecen los cuerpos sin vida de Roger Shandon —el dueño de la heredad— y de Neville —su hermano gemelo y conocido abogado—, ambos asesinados con la misma arma: un dardo impregnado de curare. Dado que todos los miembros de la familia, los únicos capaces de orientarse en el laberinto, parecen tener una sólida coartada, serán necesarias una mirada aguda y una inquebrantable profesionalidad para averiguar quién ha cometido el extraño doble crimen. Cualidades que, inteligentemente disimuladas bajo una apariencia anodina, el jefe de policía Sir Clinton Driffield posee en extraordinaria medida. (Siruela)

Curt Evans escribe en su introducción: “Después de que tanto Roger como Neville Shandon son derribados en el famoso laberinto vegetal de Whistlefield por dardos impregnados de curare en su punta, Sir Clinton [Driffield] llega para restablecer el orden en esta insólita finca. La actuación de Sir Clinton como investigador criminal es increiblemente aguda y la novela tiene varias escenas brillantes, todas alrededor del siniestro laberinto mortal. Seguramente, Asesinato en el laberinto es uno de los mejores misterios de casa de campo escritos por un novelista policiaco británico en la década de 1920. . . . Nada menos que una figura literaria como T. S. Eliot elogió Asesinato en el laberinto en The Criterion por la construcción de su trama. . . y por la vitalidad de su relato. . . considerándolo “un relato policiaco realmente excelente”. . . . [E]n en su ensayo crítico de 1946, The Grandest Game in the World, el gran autor policiaco de misterios en cuartos cerrados, John Dickson Carr refleja la valoración de Eliot sobre el marco magistral de la novela, escribiendo: “Estos años veinte. . . rebosantes de auténticos cerebros. ¿Cuál podría ser el mejor de los escenarios posibles para una muerte violenta? J. J. Connington encontró la respuesta, en Asesinato en el laberinto“.

Mi opinión: Asesinato en el laberinto es la tercera novela de J. J. Connington, la primera protagonizada por Sir Clinton Driffield, jefe de policía de un condado ficticio, que aparecerá nuevamente en otras dieciséis novelas publicadas entre 1927 y 1947. La historia tiene todos los ingredientes fundamentales de un misterio típico de la Edad de Oro: el escenario, una casa de campo; un crimen aparentemente inexplicable; un número moderadamente limitado de sospechosos; y un detective principal con un compañero leal, que le sirve como contrapunto durante la investigación.

La historia tiene lugar en Whistlefield, una finca rural famosa por su complejo doble laberinto: un laberinto vegetal con dos centros, propiedad de Roger Shandon, un aventurero que acumuló una gran fortuna durante su juventud en Sudáfrica y Sudamérica. Cuando comienza la historia, Neville Shandon, un famoso abogado y hermano gemelo de Roger, está pasando un fin de semana en Whistlefield, mientras se prepara para un caso importante que le espera la próxima semana. Otros miembros de la familia presentes durante la historia son Ernest, el hermano menor de los Shandon que vive gracias al apoyo material de sus hermanos mayores; Sylvia y Arthur Hawkhurst, los sobrinos de los Shandon; Vera Forrest y Howard Torrence, amigos de Sylvia; el señor Stennes, el eficiente secretario de Roger Shandon; el doctor Ardsley, un médico vecino experto en toxicología; y alguien llamado Costock, que rondaba por los alrededores. El descubrimiento de los cadáveres de los dos hermanos por parte de los dos invitados Vera Forrest y Howard Torrence, desencadenará la investigación.

El descubrimiento de los dos cadáveres está excelentemente escrito, recreando la atmósfera de pánico y claustrofobia que se puede experimentar si uno queda atrapado en un laberinto. Los diálogos son ingeniosos y hay, en abundancia, toques de humor, pistas falsas y diferentes motivos para haber cometido los dos crímenes. Quizás hoy en día la respuesta a quién lo hizo (whodunnit) nos parezca demasiado evidente, pero en cualquier caso, la resolución del caso me pareció bastante interesante, original e incluso brillante en vista de la época en que fue escrita. Creo que no debemos juzgar esta historia bajo la perspectiva de hoy para apreciar plenamente su importancia cuando se publicó por primera vez, y puede ayudarnos a darnos cuenta de cómo han cambiado los tiempos.

Dicho esto, Asesinato en el laberinto es el segundo libro de J. J. Connington que he leído. Puede encontrar mis notas sobre The Castleford Conundrum, 1932 (Sir Clinton Driffield Mystery # 8) aquí. Si mi información es correcta, escribió diecisiete misterios protagonizados por Sir Clinton Driffield en total. Espero con interés leer los siguientes libros de esta serie: Mystery at Lynden Sands, 1928 (Sir Clinton Driffield Mystery # 3); The Case with Nine Solutions , 1928 (Sir Clinton Driffield Mystery # 4); The Sweepstake Murders, 1931 (Sir Clinton Driffield Mystery # 7); In Whose Dim Shadow, 1935 (Sir Clinton Driffield Mystery # 10, publicado en los Estados Unidos como The Tau Cross Mystery); No Past is Dead, 1942 (Sir Clinton Driffield Mystery # 15); y Jack-in-the-Box, 1944 (Sir Clinton Driffield Mystery # 16). Manténganse al tanto.

Mi valoración: A (Me encantó)

Sobre el autor: J. J. Connington es el seudónimo de Alfred Walter Stewart, nacido en 1880 en Glasgow, Reino Unido y fallecido en 1947. Después de asistir a Glasgow High School , ingresó en la Universidad de Glasgow , donde se graduó en 1902, y se especializó en química. Su destacada actuación le valió la beca Mackay-Smith. ó su vida, como investigador y docente, al estudio de la Química en distintas universidades. En 1909, Stewart fue nombrado profesor de Química Orgánica en la Queen’s University de Belfast y en 1914 fue nombrado profesor de Química Física y Radiactividad en la Universidad de Glasgow. Durante la Primera Guerra Mundial , trabajó para el Almirantazgo. En 1918 llamó la atención sobre el resultado de un cambio de partículas beta en un elemento radiactivo y sugirió el término isobar como complementario al isótopo. Se retiró de su trabajo académico en 1944 después de problemas cardíacos recurrentes. Actualmente, Stewart es recordado principalmente por su primera novela, Nordenholt’s Million (1923), una novela de catástrofes ecológica temprana en la que las bacterias desnitrificantes, contrarias al crecimiento de las plantas, se vuelven locas y destruyen la agricultura mundial. El epónimo Norócrata construye un refugio para los pocos elegidos en Escocia, fortificando el valle de Clyde . La novela es similar en espíritu a historias de desastres como Philip Wylie y When Worlds Collide de Edwin Balmer (1933) y anticipa el tema de The Death of Grass (1956) de John Christopher . Como autor de novelas policíacas creó varios detectives de ficción, entre ellos el superintendente Ross y el jefe de policía Sir Clinton Driffield. Sus novelas fueron admiradas por algunos de sus más ilustres contemporáneos, como Dorothy L. Sayers y John Dickson Carr.

Review: The Castleford Conundrum, 1932 (Sir Clinton Driffield Mystery book #8) by J.J. Connington

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The Murder Room, 2014. Format: Kindle edition. File size: 633 KB. Print length: 282 pages. ASIN: B00KLM7W44. ISBN: 9781471906060

isbn9781471906077Book description: Philip Castleford was more than worried. Were all those years he had spent attending to Winifred’s whims, enduring her habits, to count for nothing? He hadn’t minded it too much for he thought that his daughter Hillary would have security – but now he found her shabbily treated and his own position undermined by his wife’s grasping brothers. Such were the affairs at Carron Hill one fine morning when Winifred was discovered murdered in the deserted summer house …

My take: The Castleford Conundrum unfolds at Carron Hill, Winifred Castleford’s country house. The different characters in the story are soon introduced to the readers during a family dinner. On the one side there are Philip Castleford, Winifred’s second husband, and his daughter Hillary from his first wife. On the other, Laurence and Kenneth Glencaple, Winifred’s brothers-in-law from her first marriage, her young nephew Francis, Kenneth’s son, and Constance Lindfield, Winifred’s half sister. We soon discover that Philip married Winifred for her money, mainly to offer security to the future of his daughter; but things don’t always work as one expects. Now they are both being treated as poor relatives to the family. Such is the state of things when Mrs Castleford appears dead by gunshot at the porch of her summer chalet. The hypothesis of a fatal accident is discarded soon; everything suggests she had been murdered; and Mr Castleford becomes the main suspect for she has died intestate. She had recently revoked her first testament in which her husband was her main heir, but had not yet signed a second will in which, as she had made public, she was going to leave everything to her two brothers-in-law. This was something to which they believe they are entitled. After all, Winifred’s fortune was originally coming from from the inheritance of her first husband. In a desperate attempt to prove her father’s innocence, Miss Castleford turns to Squire Wendover, who convinces Chief Constable Sir Clinton Driffield to take a look at the case.

In my view the premise on which the story is built is quite feeble. I find it difficult to believe that someone revokes a will without signing another one first, that would overturn any previous ones. And I don’t find credible that someone will announce his (o her) intentions to the new beneficiaries, without having signed a new testament before. But in spite of its flaws I really enjoyed reading The Castleford Conundrum. For me this is the first book by J.J. Connington that I’ve read, and it was thanks to Curtis Evans and his book Masters of the “Humdrum” Mystery who offered me the opportunity of knowing him. It is precisely in its Introduction, written by Curtis Evans, that we can read: ‘during the Golden Age of the detective novel ….  J.J. Connington stood with fellow crime writers R. Austin Freeman, Cecil John Charles Street and Freeman Wills Crofts as the foremost practitioner in British mystery fiction of the science of pure detection.’ In fact Alfred Walter Stewart, the man behind the pen name of J.J. Connington, was an esteemed Scottish-born scientist. In this sense I believe that The Castleford Conundrum is an excellent example of the connection between a classic detective story and a mathematical puzzle. The story is narrated with pinpoint accuracy and has a stylish solution. What appears at first sight to be a straightforward case, soon turns into an interesting challenge and Stewart does an excellent job providing the readers the necessary clues while keeping their attention elsewhere. The plot is well-crafted and the portrait of characters is superb even though none is particularly attractive, with the only exception of Miss Castleford. The end result is that this is a book which is well worth reading and an author I’ll continue reading. It can be added, as an additional note, that despite being the eighth book in a series, these books can be read in no particular order.

My rating: A (I loved it).

About the author: Alfred Walter Stewart (1880 – 1947), who wrote under the pen name J. J. Connington, was born in Glasgow, the youngest of three sons of Reverend Dr Stewart. He graduated from Glasgow University and pursued an academic career as a chemistry professor, working for the Admiralty during the First World War. Known for his ingenious and carefully worked-out puzzles and in-depth character development, he was admired by a host of his better-known contemporaries, including Dorothy L. Sayers and John Dickson Carr, who both paid tribute to his influence on their work. He married Jessie Lily Courts in 1916 and they had one daughter.

The complete list of Sir Clinton Driffield Mystery series is:  Murder In The Maze (1927); Tragedy At Ravensthorpe (1927); The Case With The Nine Solutions (1928); Mystery At Lynden Sands (1928); Grim Vengeance (1929) aka Nemesis At Raynham Parva; The Boat-house Riddle (1931); The Sweepstake Murders (1931); The Castleford Conundrum (1932); The Brandon Case (1934) aka The Ha-ha Case; In Whose Dim Shadow (1935) aka The Tau Cross Mystery; A Minor Operation (1937);  For Murder Will Speak (1938) aka Murder Will Speak; Truth Comes Limping (1938); The Twenty-one Clues (1941); No Past Is Dead (1942); Jack-in-the-box (1944) and Common Sense Is All You Need (1947). The most recommended ones are shown in bold.  You can read more about J.J. Connington here.

The Castleford Conundrum has been reviewed at At the Scene of the Crime, ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’, Classic Mysteries, Vintage Pop Fictions,

The Orion Publishing Group publicity page

Coachwhip Publication publicity page 

Alfred Walter Stewart page at Wikipedia 

Alfred Walter Stewart, alias J. J. Connington at The Passing Tramp

El enigma Castleford de J.J. Connington

Descripción del libro: Philip Castleford se encontraba muy preocupado. ¿Acaso no habían servido de nada todos los años que había pasado atendiendo los caprichos de Winifred y padeciendo sus rarezas? Algo que no le importaba demasiado porque pensaba que su hija Hillary obtendría seguridad, pero ahora descubre que está siendo miserablemente tratada y su propia posición se ve socabada por los codiciosos hermanos de su mujer. Así estaban las cosas en Carron Hill una mañana cuando Winifred aparece asesinada en la deshabitada casa de veraneo …

Mi opinión: El enigma Castleford se desarrolla en Carron Hill, la casa de campo de Winifred Castleford. Los diferentes personajes de la historia son presentados pronto a los lectores durante una cena familiar. Por un lado están Philip Castleford, el segundo marido de Winifred, y su hija Hillary de su primera esposa. Por otro, Laurence y Kenneth Glencaple, cuñados de Winifred de su primer matrimonio, su joven sobrino Francis, el hijo de Kenneth, y Constance Lindfield, la media hermana de Winifred. Pronto descubrimos que Philip se casó con Winifred por su dinero, principalmente para ofrecer seguridad al futuro de su hija; pero las cosas no siempre funcionan como uno espera. Ahora ambos son tratados como parientes pobres de la familia. Tal es el estado de las cosas cuando la señora Castleford aparece muerta de un disparo en el porche de su chalet de verano. La hipótesis de un accidente fatal se descarta pronto; todo sugiere que ella había sido asesinada; y el Sr. Castleford se convierte en el principal sospechoso porque ella murió intestada. Recientemente había revocado su primer testamento en el que su marido era su principal heredero, pero aún no había firmado un segundo testamento en el que, como había hecho público, iba a dejar todo a sus dos cuñados. Esto es algo a lo que creen que tienen derecho. Después de todo, la fortuna de Winifred provenía originalmente de la herencia de su primer marido. En un intento desesperado por demostrar la inocencia de su padre, la señorita Castleford recurre al Squire Wendover, quien convence al jefe de policía, Sir Clinton Driffield, para que examine el caso.

En mi opinión, la premisa sobre la que se basa la historia es bastante débil. Me resulta difícil creer que alguien revoca un testamento sin antes firmar otro, que invalidaría los anteriores. Y no encuentro creíble que alguien anuncie sus intenciones a los nuevos beneficiarios, sin haber firmado un nuevo testamento antes. Pero a pesar de sus defectos, realmente disfruté leyendo El enigma Castleford . Para mí, este es el primer libro de J.J. Connington que he leído, y fue gracias a Curtis Evans y su libro Masters of the “Humdrum” Mystery quien me ofreció la oportunidad de conocerlo. Es precisamente en su Introducción, escrita por Curtis Evans, que podemos leer: “durante la Edad de Oro de la novela policíaca …”. J.J. Connington destaca junto a sus colegas autores de novelas de crímenes R. Austin Freeman, Cecil John Charles Street y Freeman Wills Crofts como el practicante más destacado en la novela de misterio británica de la ciencia  de investigación pura”. De hecho, Alfred Walter Stewart, el hombre detrás del seudónimo de J.J. Connington, fue un destacado científico escocés. En este sentido, creo que El enigma Castleford es un excelente ejemplo de la conexión entre una historia de detectives clásica y un acertijo matemático. La historia está narrada con precisión milimétrica y tiene una solución elegante. Lo que a primera vista parece ser un caso sencillo, pronto se convierte en un desafío interesante y Stewart hace un excelente trabajo proporcionando a los lectores las pistas necesarias mientras mantiene su atención en otra parte. La trama está bien elaborada y el retrato de los personajes es excelente, aunque ninguno sea particularmente atractivo, con la única excepción de Miss Castleford. El resultado final es que este es un libro que vale la pena leer y un autor que continuaré leyendo. Se puede agregar, como nota adicional, que a pesar de ser el octavo libro de una serie, estos libros se pueden leer sin ningún orden en particular

Mi valoración: A (Me encantó)

Sobre el autor: Alfred Walter Stewart (1880 – 1947), quien escribió bajo el seudónimo de J. J. Connington, nació en Glasgow, el menor de tres hijos del Reverendo Dr. Stewart. Se graduó por la Universidad de Glasgow y desarrolló una carrera académica como profesor de química, trabajando para el Almirantazgo durante la Primera Guerra Mundial. Conocido por sus ingeniosos y minuciosos rompecabezas y un completro desarrollo de sus personajes, fue admirado por muchos de sus contemporáneos más conocidos, entre ellos Dorothy L. Sayers y John Dickson Carr, quienes le rindieron homenaje a su influencia en su obra. Se casó con Jessie Lily Courts en 1916 y tuvieron una hija.

La lista completa de la serie de misterio protagonizada por Sir Clinton Driffield es: Murder In The Maze (1927); Tragedy At Ravensthorpe (1927); The Case With The Nine Solutions (1928); Mystery At Lynden Sands (1928); Grim Vengeance (1929) aka Nemesis At Raynham Parva; The Boat-house Riddle (1931); The Sweepstake Murders (1931); The Castleford Conundrum (1932); The Brandon Case (1934) aka The Ha-ha Case; In Whose Dim Shadow (1935) aka The Tau Cross Mystery; A Minor Operation (1937);  For Murder Will Speak (1938) aka Murder Will Speak; Truth Comes Limping (1938); The Twenty-one Clues (1941); No Past Is Dead (1942); Jack-in-the-box (1944) and Common Sense Is All You Need (1947). Los más recomendados se muestran en negrita. Puede continuar leyendo más sobre J.J. Connington aquí.