Ashton-Kirk, InvestigatorMarch 5, 2007
I’m starting a ‘stupid leaps of logic’ category for books like this one: Ashton-Kirk, Investigator, by John T. McIntyre. It gets points for the fun illustrations, though.
Until you read the Conan Doyle imitators who were roughly his contemporaries, you can’t understand how reasonable, comparatively, Sherlock Holmes is. Ashton-Kirk is clearly based on Holmes, and yet…
He’s one of those young, aristocratic cultured gentlemen. And yes, his eyes are piercing, and his fabulous house is in a bad neighborhood, and he’s irritatingly cryptic, but it’s all part of the formula.
Ashton-Kirk’s good friend Jimmie Pendleton introduces his cousin, Miss Edyth Vale, to the detective. She’s clearly troubled. Her fiance, Allan Morris, is devoted to her, but he keeps putting off their wedding, and something is weighing on his mind. Edyth investigates a name Morris has let drop — Hume — and finds that it belongs to an art dealer with an evil face. When Hume turns up dead the night after Ashton-Kirk meets Edyth, he naturally investigates.
The police are apparently very happy to have A-K’s help, so he looks at Hume’s house and announces to Pendleton that one of the murderers is a short, well-dressed mute who knows shorthand. Yeah, this isn’t one of those mysteries where the solution is obvious, but it’s not one of the ones you can figure out on your own with the help of clues, either. Ashton-Kirk’s big breakthrough comes when he figures out that Allan Morris’ father knew Hume. A-K had a hunch that they did, because they were both heavy drinkers. Because naturally two heavy drinkers in New York City would know each other.