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CHB Kitchin

The Cornish Fox

Secker & Warburg 1949
Jacket design Stein

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The narrator of this story is Malcolm Warren, the stockbroker who made a highly successful debut twenty years ago in Mr. Kitchin's first detective story Death of My Aunt (recently reprinted in the Holiday Library series), and reappeared in Crime at Christmas and Death of His Uncle. The scene is Cornwall, with which the author is well acquainted, and the characters are for the most part English settlers in a county which is still apt to look upon the Englishman as a foreigner. Their differing reactions to the post-war world and an alien environment, and the clashes between their personalities are admirably portrayed and form more than a mere background to the plot. In the dialogue between the narrator and the reader, which forms the last chapter of Crime at Christmas, Mr. Kitchin wrote :" A detective story is always something of an etude de mceurs . . . it provides a narrow but intensive view of ordinary life." It is perhaps this aspect of THE CORNISH FOX which will appeal most strongly to the discerning reader, though the plot, with its increasing momentum towards catastrophe, should satisfy those who like psychology seasoned with action and an attitude to life which may have its head in the clouds but has both feet firmly planted on the ground of everyday experience. And while the author has never intended his detective stories to be ingenious exercises in " spotting the criminal," he shows both subtlety and fairness in the presentation of his clues.

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