Thursday, October 6, 2011

Death on Allhallowe'en, by Leo Bruce

Death on Allhallowe'en
By Leo Bruce

At some point before I started this site I tackled a book by Leo Bruce. Since I can't recall if I finished it I'm assuming it didn't leave much of an impact. Fortunately Death on Allhallowe'en was rather more memorable. It looks to be about number 20 of some 23 books in Bruce's Carolus Deene series.

There are certain books that I'd describe as workmanlike - and I don't mean that in a bad way. E.X. Giroux's A Death For Adonis fits the bill and so does Death on Allhallowe'en. I've read several books by Catherine Aird and I'd also put them in this category. Workmanlike, in this case, referring to detectives who are not particularly flashy or distinguished and who make their way to the solution of a crime in a methodical manner.

Which is exactly how Deene proceeds when he's summoned by a friend in the clergy to the small town of Clibburn, a place that's clannish and not very welcoming to outsiders. Strange things may be going on in and around Clibburn. A boy has died, possibly as a result of his involvement in unsavory Satanic rites. After Deene arrives there's a high-profile killing, and though he's not exactly welcome around these parts he still manages to get it all sorted out.

While reading this I couldn't help being reminded of The Wicker Man, particularly in matters of tone and atmosphere. Interesting, since the book said to be the inspiration for that movie - David Pinner's Ritual - was published three years before Bruce's book, with the movie following in 1973.

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