Monday, 30 January 2017

The Secret of the Snows

Now this is more like it - a Sexton Blake book in which Sexton Blake actually appears throughout the whole story! And he's got Tinker in tow, no less.

Unlike the previous Blake book I read (see previous post 'Danger at Westways'), this story is more peripatetic and in keeping with the serial nature of the original Blake story-papers. Every chapter involves the plot progressing dramatically, each taking place in a different setting or with the focus on different characters, and it's choc-full of daring escapes, red herrings, mysterious clues and good old fashioned fisticuffs.

Opening with an arctic explorer's murder, we move to England where a n'er do well tries to hide his stolen Post Office money swag with his sister, who quickly comes to the attention of Sexton Blake. When she appears to be targeted by (of all things) a murderous tribe of visiting Eskimos, Blake connects the woman with the murder of the arctic explorer.... a pot of hidden gold being a prize at the end of the rainbow (well, ecliptic).

It even has a typically cheerful 'wrapping-all-the-loose-ends-up' style final chapter, just in case anybody was wondering what happened to one of the walk-on Eskimos.

Interestingly, it appears that in-universe Sexton Blake isn't actually that well known as a detective. At one point the main female character is asked to come to his house in (yes) Baker Street and when she finds him in residence there reacts with surprise. THis would never have happened with the other Baker Street-dwelling 'tec...!

Rating: 7/10

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