The Whispering by Dan Billany. Review of a classic Detective Story
The Whispering by Dan Billany A Lost Chapel Publication 2008 A Detective Story featuring Robbie Duncan is available through this website — details at the bottom of this page
September 25th 1923
Mr. William Marsh had always trusted the railways for all his long and more important journeys, so that it was not without an element of confidence that he adopted a recumbent position on the track sometime before lunch one Thursday, and stretched his neck across the rail. He wondered where his son Noel was and sighed. He could feel the vibration of the far off train gently massaging his tired shoulders. Trains are so reliable. If there were any shadow of apprehension in his breast, it was more on his own account than that of the train, for one must always reckon with the human equation, he understood. However there was no miscarriage, and the twelve- five train duly detached his head. It was an uncommon and messy sight, but from William Marsh’s viewpoint it saved a great deal of trouble.
None the less, Mr. Marsh’s action was precipitate, and was not based on accurate information. The newspaper said only that a certain well-known businessman, at present in India, had cut his throat and was not expected to live. True, the gentleman in question was Mr. Marsh’s business partner in a big concern, but the fact that he cut his throat did not necessarily imply that the business was about to crash, or that certain private matters were suddenly become unduly public. A man may cut his throat on other than business grounds. He may have personal reasons. It is entirely a matter between a man and his throat. And when we are told that A or B is not expected to live, we need not conclude that A or B will assuredly die. Mr. Marsh’s partner, in point of fact, lived, and was considerably astonished on his recovery to be informed of the dramatic but rather sad action taken by Mr. Marsh.
Detective Robbie Duncan is back: with his sardonic sense of humour, his cool approach to danger, and his ingenuity in outwitting the criminals and the police. As in all his books, Dan Billany's strong personality shines through: his opinions of life, politics, education and literature give the reader more than the fast moving plot to think about.
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