Friday, June 1, 2012

Death in the Quadrangle

DEATH IN THE QUADRANGLE – Eilis Dillon (1956)

The professors at the King’s University of Dublin are an eccentric lot: one is obsessed with rats in the buildings, another is a kleptomaniac, one is writing anonymous letters to the president of the college, and one is a murderer.  Retired Professor Daly is asked to present a series of lectures, but the president’s ulterior motive in inviting Daly is to ask him to find the person responsible for threatening the president’s life.  The president, Bradley, is not a likeable fellow.  The professors loathe him and it is not long before Bradley is poisoned.  Daly enlists Mike Kenny, a detective in the Guards (the Irish police force) to help him find the killer.

There are moments of wry humor in this book, and excellent depictions of the cloistered and insular lives led by the professors, but there is a dearth of clues and the solution to the crime, which is proffered by Kenny and not by Daly, is infuriating.  I’m fine with the detective piecing together a series of clues in a novel way and solving a crime by dint of his creativity and out of the box thinking.  I’m not fine with the detective arriving at a conclusion without a single clue being offered to the reader.  I might read more of these, but they’ll be very far down the list.

Eilis Dillon is an entry in my “Persons of Interest” category in Bev's Vintage Mystery Challenge.  Dillon wrote over 50 books in several different genres.  Death in the Quadrangle is one of only three mystery novels she produced.  Dillon had a difficult childhood in a family devoted to Irish independence.  Her uncle was executed by firing squad and both of her parents were jailed for their political activities.  There's an excellent remembrance of Dillon by her son at

No comments:

Post a Comment