Oswell Blakeston

Hop Thief

Blond 1959
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This is an odd one. The hero is an angry old man whose dog 'Jock' is about as unadorable as he is. It is only right that misfortune should stab him in the back with the force of a double gin and typical that a crime—his son's crime— should rocket him into the national headlines—or so he hopes. Cyril Connolly found room for an early novel by Oswell Blakeston, a story of the film studios, in his "Novel Addict's Cupboard" (see The Condemned Playground}. Later V. S. Pritchett commended the "quiet and deadly effect" of a tale about an old lady in a convent. Then John Atkins, writing about a book of short stories, said : "Mr Blakeston is undoubtedly an expert in making his point or saying something significant without belly-aching: nearly every piece is packed so tight that it bulges—bulges with the inventiveness that can alone dispense with superfluity". And John Betjeman, reviewing a novel about a nurse who was a killer, wrote: "Extraordinarily well told by a genius for the macabre". HOP THIEF in fact is out of the rut.

Classic Crime Fiction

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