Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Question of Proof - Nicholas Blake

Nicholas Blake was the crime writing pseudonym of Cecil Day-Lewis (who I mostly know of as the father of Tamasin Day-Lewis, although I do realise he was also a poet and had a son who did okay for himself too) and his books are back in print. I prefer my murder heavy on nostalgia and low on gore so I don't stray for from Golden Age crime and as all my favourites have gone the way of their victims it's cause for general celebration to find a new name. 

Another cause for celebration is that Nigel Strangeways is a different sort of detective (my reading has veered towards women who invented aristocratic sleuths they promptly seem to have fallen in love with - Lord Peter, Inspector Allyen, Albert Campion...) Nigel is a fearsomely intelligent Oxford drop out (had enough, answered his exam questions in limericks, got sacked) has an addiction to tea, a love of heavy blankets, and helpfully for his chosen career is the nephew of the Assistant Commissioner of Scotland Yard, and in this first book at least his creator shows no signs of becoming romantically interested in his creation. Also the tea is a nice touch.

'A Question of Proof' is a fun read, it has a brilliant car chase in it that actually made me feel like I too might be about to crash into the side of a barn, ingenious murder methods, and a sense of humour don't go amiss either. Nicholas Blake/Cecil Day-Lewis was clearly enjoying himself when he wrote this - I wonder if he was deliberately having a dig at writers who take their characters more seriously? It's a question that should be answered by reading more of his books so it's just as well that Vintage have published a pile of them. Four have come out now with a whole lot more available as print on demand (and as e-books, I'm never entirely sure how the print on demand thing works via amazon because I don't dare pre-order books due to a precarious cash flow situation). A very satisfying book.  


  1. I adore Nicholas Blake books, so I'm thrilled that some are back in print. I hope you enjoy the others as much as this one :)

  2. Sarah - I'm really looking forward to more, the first one was just great fun to read and I'm guessing he'll get better and better.

  3. To be added to the wishlist pronto. I think I'll like these.

  4. I think you might Annabel, not very noirish but fun.