So I’ve been rereading Capital Crimes with a view to selecting which stories to single out for discussion. This discussion – with my Usual Suspect cohorts – will not take place until July, but Pauline’s reading in this excellent anthology (and her shared enthusiasm for it) prompted me to do the same, sooner than I’d planned.
Stories by the following have made the cut: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, John Oxenham, Richard Marsh, Ernest Bramah, Thomas Burke, H.C. Bailey, Hugh Walpole, Anthony Berkeley,and Ethel Lina White. I so enjoyed White’s story, entitled “Cheese,” that I sought out a full length novel by her. Originally entitled The Wheel Spins, it’s now sometimes known as The Lady Vanishes, after the Hitchcock film which was based on it.
I loved this book. Iris Carr, the heroine, is plucky in the extreme. As the story unfolds, we share in her bafflement. We experience all that happens through her young eyes, share in her terror and bewilderment, and ultimately applaud her strength and her bravery.
Oh, and the writing was excellent:
As she lay with her eyes almost closed, listening to the ping of the breeze, her serenity returned. A clump of harebells, standing out against the skyline, seemed hardened and magnified to a metallic belfry, while she, herself, was dwarfed and welded into the earth— part of it, like the pebbles and the roots. In imagination she could almost hear the pumping of a giant heart underneath her head.
Click here for a review of The Wheel Spins on the blog Vintage Novels.