Dean Street Press

This is just a brief note to recommend the excellent Dean Street Press, and their reissues of classic crime novels of the inter-war period.

Quite regularly, they whet readers’ appetites by offering free Kindle downloads of some of their books. This week I took advantage of the offer of The Black Cabinet, by Patricia Wentworth (best known for her Miss Silver detective novels).

The Black Cabinet is not a Miss Silver whodunit, but a thriller based on the premise of a young woman who inherits a very large amount of money and property under strange circumstances. She then finds herself in a situation threatening moral horror and physical danger. the villains may be too vile for complete credibility, and one or two of the coincidences strain belief, but the book is something of a tour de force, as the heroine stumbles from one unpleasant situation to another.

The suspense is pretty relentless. and I found myself thinking that Alfred Hitchcock missed a chance on not optioning it for a film. Claude Chabrol and Eric Rohmer, the first critics to take the recurrent themes of Hichcock’s movies seriously, made much of the ‘transfert de culpabilité’ in his films, the moment when a hero or heroine decides to share his or her secrets with someone else. This whole novel is about keeping secrets, and uncertainty about whom the heroine should trust. This reader found himself silently shouting ‘Don’t do it!’ as she wondered whether to put her faith in various possible helpers. It’s a compelling read.

Dean Street Press offer a large range of other Wentworth novels.

Here’s the cover of the first American edition of The Black Cabinet, showing the exact moment when the heroine passes on her secret to someone else.

2 Comments

  1. Connie Ruzich
    Posted August 12, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful recommendation—I’ve just ordered a copy.

  2. Posted August 13, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    recommend the excellent Dean Street Press,

    Hear, hear. There’s another bunch of crime novels coming out in October. I’ve been sent two e-books but haven’t read them yet so can’t vouch for the quality.


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