Friday, February 24, 2006

Reading John H. Dirckx

Dirckx's name is not one easily forgotten. Or spelled. I recently got hold of some back issues of AHMM . Don't ask how. I had not read a Dirckx mystery before, but man are they good. For those who don't know his work, they are top notch police procedurals with Cyrus Auburn as the protagonist. Auburn is a detective in what I think is supposed to be Boston or at least that area.

The two stories I've read so far are Body English and What the Cat-Man Did. Both stories present fair play puzzles but the puzzles, rather than being solved through brilliant intuitive leaps or a chance admission, Auburn solves these problems through dogged determination and by what looks to me like some of the most realistic police work in short story form.

Body English concerns an Englishman stuffed into a motel closet upside down. A wallet with Irish money is found nearby and, well, mystery ensues.

What the Cat-Man Did involves a man murdered in the woods and the defilement of some lawn mowers. The only thing that's clear at the start is that the two events are related.

The prose is smooth, the puzzles real. The solutions are well worked out. This is good reading and I now have another author whose name I will seek out. Luckily I have several more of his stories on hand.

All this and it's not like Dirckx is sitting home all day playing solitaire between bouts of writing. He's an M.D. with a practice and medical articles to his name as well.


Blogger Olivia S. Snead said...

I love the short stories in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery magazine, which is where I discovered the short story writer, John H. Dirckx. It feels me with joy each time a mystery of his is printed. His character, Detective Cyrus Auburn, is my favorite character in crime genre. He's smart, experienced, and unique.

June 25, 2010 9:51 PM  

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